Fordham Law


Gay McDougall Speaks at United Nations Commemoration of Nelson Mandela

July 21, 2014

On July 18, Fordham Law Visiting Professor Gay McDougall delivered remarks [pdf] at the United Nations General Assembly as part of a ceremony to commemorate Nelson Mandela’s birthday. The event featured speeches by McDougall, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN General Assembly John Ashe. 

In her remarks, McDougall discussed the international impact of Mandela’s life, explaining that his courage and his commitment to ending apartheid inspired her own activism during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

McDougall emphasized that the leaders of the UN and the people of the world must continue in Mandela’s footsteps. “Nelson Mandela has left a challenge not only for South Africans but also for each of us here as we live in the wake of his life...will we make choices that reflect the ideals of justice and the example of courage that are his legacy to humanity?” she said.

McDougall is currently with Fordham Law's Leitner Center for International Law and Justice as a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence. During the 2013-2014 academic year she was the Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Law at Fordham. She was active in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, serving as a member of the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa during the nation’s 1994 elections—the first elections in which black South Africans achieved the right to vote. She worked with Mandela himself on several occasions during his long crusade for equality.

Read Professor McDougall’s remarks. [pdf]