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Posted on on July 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

From Irith Jawetz, The UN Compound, Vienna, Austria – July 18, 2013.

The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna, in cooperation with the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission to the UN in Vienna,
have organized an exhibition:

“Intimate Moments with Nelson Mandela”

to mark the
Nelson Mandela International Day 2013

Thursday, 18 July 2013, 12:30 hrs
Location: Rotunda, Vienna International Centre (VIC), Wagramerstraße 5, 1220 Vienna


M A N D E L A D A Y – The UN in VIENNA>

Intimate Moments with Nelson Mandela in Vienna.

This is a multimedia exhibition that showcases cherished encounters with South Africa’s much beloved Stateman.

The theme of the exhibition was created according to three key concepts: Love, Educate, Empower. Different photographers had the opportunity to photograph Mr. Mandela in his everyday life and the 17 photos show him as the man behind the legend.

The photographs show Mr. Mandela with his family, children. Grandchildren, friends, and are accompanied by his quotes.

The photographs are very moving and a real tribute to a great humanitarian. Many of the photographs show Mr. Mandela with children and young adults as he puts so much emphasis on education and teaching.

On a TV screen, in a corner of the Rotunda, one could watch a film showing Mr. Mandela’s life from the time of his birth, through his time in Jail, his struggle for freedom and his Political life as President. The film complimented the exhibit which was private moments in his life as compared to his public life.

The two photographs which struck me the most were the one with a closed fist, and the quote below: “I hope that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to the freedom struggle.” (Nelson Mandela, 1964).

The quote on another photograph was “We watched our children growing without guidance… and when we did come out my children said: We thought we had a father and one day he will come back, but to our dismay our father came back and he left us alone because he has now become the father of the Nation” (Nelson Mandela, 1992). This last quote describes best Mr. Mandela’s 67 years of devotion to Public Service.

The event was opened with short Welcome remarks by Irene Hoeglinger-Neiva, Officer-in-Charge UNIS Vienna, who welcomed everybody and introduced the speakers.

The first speaker was Mr. Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) who also welcomed everybody and read the Message of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The message reads as follows:

“This year’s commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day comes at a moment of deep reflection on the life and work of Madiba, as the universally revered leader remains in the hospital. As we extend our best wishes to President Mandela on his 95th birthday, let us also give tangible meaning to our feelings of concern by taking action on behalf of others.

Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice. In marking this Day, the United Nations is joining the Mandela Foundation in asking people around the world to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18 July to community service.

The heart of Nelson Mandela International Day is good works for people and the planet. Its theme – “take action, inspire change” – is meant to mobilize the human family to do more to build a peaceful, sustainable and equitable world. This is the best tribute we can pay to an extraordinary man who embodies the highest values of humanity.

At this difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mandela, his family and with all the people of South Africa. We are united in admiration for a giant of out times”

Mr. Fedotov also encouraged people to devote 67 minutes of their time on this important day for Public Service.

The last speaker was H.E. Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations (Vienna) who highlighted Mr. Mandela’s greatness in fighting for human dignity, equality and freedom for all people. He also said our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mandela for a speedy recovery, and he too encouraged people to devote 67 minutes of their time for public service.

After the short speeches people spent time looking at the exhibition and exchanging thoughts. It was a short, simple yet very dignified event.

In the spirit of Nelson Mandela’s Day let me finish by two quotes which I thought were very appropriate to the occasion.

“Everybody can help change the world. Each individual has the ability to make the world around him or her a better place. One small step, when you add them all together, can become a global movement for good” (Nelson Mandela).

The second quote “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference”. (Nelson Mandela).

We wish Madiba a Happy Birthday and a Speedy recovery!


A similar celebration did not take place in New York though we received communications from the US Mission to the UN, from the US Department of State, and from South Africa Airlines – all suggesting we devote 67 minutes to do good deeds on this day.

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