Mandela Day celebrated across the globe

AP Photo/Sang Tan A woman signs a birthday card left by the statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela, to mark his 95th birthday, at Parliament Square in London, Thursday, July 18, 2013. People across the globe celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday on Thursday, a milestone capped by news that the former president’s health was improving after fears that he was close to death during ongoing hospital treatment.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The world is celebrating Nelson Mandela Day with acts of community service and messages of goodwill to the former South African president who remains hospitalized on his 95th birthday. Here are some of the international events:

UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. hosted an informal General Assembly in honor of Mandela with former United States President Bill Clinton and co-prisoner and Mandela friend Andrew Mlangeni scheduled to speak. U.N. staff also helped to rebuild homes in Long Island destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

WASHINGTON: The Congressional Black Caucus celebrated the life and legacy of Mandela at the Emancipation Hall in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. House Speaker John Boehner and South Africa’s ambassador to the United States Ebrahim Rasool were among guests slated to speak at the ceremony.

NEW YORK: The Tribeca Film Institute partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to commemorate Mandela Day with a video display in Times Square and a meeting in Duffy Square. A picture of a Mandela portrait by South African artist Paul Blomkamp with the words “Happy 95th Birthday Madiba!” was featured on a Times Square monitor throughout the day.

TORONTO: A community celebration featuring live music and family activities was at the Nelson Mandela Park Public School.

PARIS: The South African embassy in Paris hosts its annual Nelson Mandela Day drive to collect clothes, toys and non-perishable food items for charity. The embassy accepts donations until Aug. 31. The Hotel de Ville hosts a free exhibition, “Nelson Mandela: from Prisoner to President,” where visitors can learn about Mandela’s journey through films, photographs and sculptures. The exhibition will run through July 6.

ROME: An exhibit about Mandela’s life at an anti-racism center was visited by South Africa’s ambassador to Italy, Nomatemba Tambo.

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION: Three astronauts from the International Space Station honored Mandela in a video message that included words from Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, among others.

“Nelson Mandela is the symbol of what humankind must strive for: Peace, brotherhood and a common goal to better every life on this planet. Our work here on the International Space Station mirrors exactly what Mr. Mandela spent his life trying to accomplish,” astronaut Karen Nyberg said for the group.