On this day, July 18, 2024, the world unites in celebration of a life that personified the struggle for human rights, dignity and freedom, Nelson Mandela International Day. This day marks the 116th birth anniversary of the beloved Madiba; the champion of anti-apartheid, the father of democracy in South Africa, and a beacon of hope and resilience to marginalized communities worldwide.
It was back in 2009, the United Nations General Assembly dedicated July 18- Mandela's birthday- as the day to emblemize Mandela's spirit and values. Ever since people across the globe have been commemorating this day by dedicating 67 minutes of their time- representing the 67 years Madiba spent serving humanity, to charitable acts and community services as a tribute to his selflessness and service to mankind. 
Under the theme- "Take Action, Inspire Change, and Make Every Day a Mandela Day," the noble goal is to provoke each of us to take action to change the world for the better, to encourage social tranquility and equality. Moreover, in 2024, the emphasis is more pronounced, following a global situation wherein the word has displayed immense resilience amidst the pandemic and various crises, reflecting Madiba's spirit.
Nelson Mandela's life and ideology spanned way more than racial emancipation or political liberation. His universal values of compassion, respect, unity, and service to others, which deserve to be heralded daily, irrespective of national or ethnic affiliations. As Mandela said, "It’s in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it." 
As we look back at Madiba's life, it's impossible to overlook his 27 years of imprisonment that shaped his unyielding belief in justice and human dignity. In the face of oppressive adversity, he manifested resilience, patience, and forgiveness. He showcased how even the toughest of miseries could be transformed into potent power to inspire change, a message that holds more weight in this world than ever before.
Today, as countries and individuals take part in various actions from volunteering at local shelters, cleaning up public spaces, to advocating for social justice, it's crucial to keep the quintessence of this day in mind. The spirit of Nelson Mandela International Day is not confined to acts of service; it's a day to promote peace, reconciliation, and cultural diversity. Mandela’s legacy should serve as a beacon guiding our actions, prompting us to rise above our differences and work towards achieving global peace and equality.
It’s hope-inspiring to witness the world regardless of cultural differences, unite in marking this special day. From New York's Times Square streaming Madiba's poignant quotes to children in remote villages in Asia or Africa contributing their modest bit to their communities, the participation is endearing and vast.
The world could use a little more of Madiba’s spirit today, maybe more than ever. On this Nelson Mandela International Day, let's commit ourselves to follow his footsteps and keep his humanitarian spirit alive, making every day a Mandela Day. We thus pay our deepest respects and gratitude to Nelson Mandela, as we continue trying to fathom the depth of his immense contribution to mankind.