Today the world celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day, which by no coincidence falls on the birthday of the former South African President for which it has been named. In 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution that declared July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of “Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity.” On this day every year, the UN joins the Nelson Mandela Foundation in asking every citizen of the world to dedicate 67 minutes to helping others. Sixty-seven minutes representing the number of years Nelson Mandela has devoted his time to the service of humanity.
It is a day of service to others and, for me, an important and appropriate time to reflect on the way in which we serve others. I have been “in service” to others, in a professional capacity since 2007, when I co-founded an international development organization called Roots of Development that helps impoverished communities achieve greater independence and autonomy over their own development efforts. That service has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself, more about poverty, and more about humanity than anything else I could have done in my life. It also gave me a very intense look into the interpersonal and intercultural complexities associated with such service.
Full text available on the Huffington Post, here.