Obama offers wishes to Mandela on birthday

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, July 18, 2011 13:37 EDT
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US President Barack Obama hailed Nelson Mandela on his 93rd birthday Monday, saying the former South African leader remains “a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation.”

A statement issued by the White House on behalf of the president and his wife Michelle Obama said: “On behalf of the people of the United States, we congratulate Nelson Mandela, and honor his vision for a better world.”

It added, “A man who devoted 67 years of his life to public service, Madiba sets the standard for service worldwide, whether we are students, shopkeepers or farmers, cabinet ministers or presidents. He calls on us to serve our fellow human beings, and better our communities.”

The statement noted that Michelle Obama and the couple’s daughters Sasha and Malia recently met Mandela during an official visit to South Africa and that the encounter “was the most moving part of their trip.”

“Mandela’s legacy exemplifies wisdom, strength and grace, and on the anniversary of his birth we salute the example of his life.”

For the third year, at the request of his charitable foundation, July 18 is observed as Mandela Day, recognized by the United Nations as a global call to volunteer for good causes for 67 minutes — representing each year of Mandela’s life in active politics.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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