President attends the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with International Development Minister Marie Claude Bibeau as they listen to speakers at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit opening ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters Monday Sept. 24 2018

Over a dozen African leaders joined their peers from across the world for a major event at the ongoing 73rd United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, at the UN Headquarters in NY.

The tributes to Mandela began with a rare United Nations honor - the unveiling of a $1.8 million statue of the South African anti-apartheid campaigner who became the world's most famous political prisoner, played a key role in ending white-minority rule, and became president in the country's first democratic election.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Mandela's birth, and the U.N.is declaring 2019-2028 the "Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace".

Trudeau kicked off his visit Monday to the United Nations by taking part in the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, timed to mark this year's 100th birthday of the former South African president.

With a bang of the gavel by General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, the leaders on Monday adopted a political declaration resolving "to move beyond words" to promote peace and prevent, contain and end conflicts.

He said while global threats like climate change, armed conflict and other "emerging threats" continue to test the world's commitment to Mandela's values, the man known as "Madiba" would only see such challenges as evidence of work still to be done.

The African National Congress had its headquarters in Zambia's capital Lusaka, and the country as one the Frontline States actively contributed towards ending the apartheid minority rule in South Africa leading to the eventual release of Nelson Mandela. "We hope we will prove ourselves worthy as the bearers of the legacy of Nelson Mandela".

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in NY extolled the vast values embodied by the late South African President and Nobel Peace Winner, Nelson Mandela.

"Canada will always stand tall for democracy and rule of law at home and overseas".

A major item on Canada's to-do list at this week's summit - "the Super Bowl of diplomacy", as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it - is to resume its stalled campaign for a coveted two-year temporary seat on the UN Security Council.

Trudeau is leading a large Canadian delegation that also includes several cabinet ministers, including Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland who will address the General Assembly instead of Trudeau.

The governor said he was optimistic that at the next meeting of the Council on Prerogative of Mercy, the president would officially grant the pardon.

"Sustainable development can not be realised without peace and security, and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development".

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