UNIC Tehran together with their partners from the Iranian International Studies Association (IISA) and with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a roundtable discussion to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day in Tehran on 27 July 2015.
Ambassador and Director-General for Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hussein M. Abdullahi said, “Mandela chose the path of mercy, not revenge for the sake of unity of his people and the bright future of South Africa.” He further stated that two major characteristics made Nelson Mandela different from other political celebrities of his time: firstly, he voluntarily left his political position when he was at the peak of power and secondly, he never sought retaliation when he had the means to do so.
The theme behind the Day, "Take Action, Inspire Change" the heroic life of Nelson Mandela and his dedication to social justice and promotion of peace, were highlighted by Public Information Officer Ms. Maria Dotsenko. Ms. Dotsenko read the UN Secretary-General’s message on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day for nearly 120 intellectuals, government officials, artists, university professors and students who came together at the UN Office in Iran.
Among the notable speakers, former Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to South Africa, Mr. Javid Qorban-Oghli, told the audience that Mandela’s outstanding ability to compromise made him a remarkable politician in the international arena.
“The ability to relate morals with politics was another significant characteristic of Mandela,” the former Ambassador added.
During the event, president of IISA, Dr. Arsalan Qorbani and Secretary of IISA, Dr. Ziaoddin Saboori, spoke about the late Mandela’s personality and achievements regarding the culture of peace and reconciliation.
Renowned actress and UNICEF Goodwill ambassador, Ms. Mahtab Karamati, was among the distinguished guests at the ceremony.
At the end of the discussion, a book entitled “Nelson Mandela Forever” by Mr. Meysam Shahbabaee was unveiled. The book consists of photographs taken during Mandela’s funeral service and other ceremonies held in 2013. Former President Mohammad Khatami and current Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif penned prefaces for the book.