Mandela: A life of soaring symbolism, now harnessed by UN

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nelson Mandela’s South African journey from anti-apartheid leader to prisoner to president to global statesman is one of the 20th century’s great stories of struggle, sacrifice and reconciliation.

Now the United Nations is seeking to harness its soaring symbolism.

The unveiling of a statue of Mandela, born 100 years ago, with arms outstretched at the U.N. building in New York on Monday opens a peace summit at the General Assembly.

There, world leaders will again address the planet’s pressing problems: war, poverty, disease, migration and climate change.

They’ll do so in a city where Mandela was welcomed by crowds in 1990, months after he left a South African jail and ended 27 years of imprisonment under the country’s white minority government.