In honor of Nelson Mandela's 93rd birthday on Monday, President Barack Obama is calling the South African leader "a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation."
In a statement issued Sunday, Obama congratulated Mandela for devoting his life to public service and a legacy that exemplifies what Obama calls "wisdom, strength and grace."
Obama's wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia met Mandela last month during a trip to Africa that focused on service, youth leadership, education and healthy living. The president said their time with Mandela was "the most moving" part of their trip."
In 2009, the U.S. and 192 other U.N. member states created Nelson Mandela International Day to honor the African leader through acts of community service.