International Anti-Apartheid Year


Emblem of the International Anti-Apartheid YearThe word apartheid, from Afrikaans, literally means "separateness". As early as 1976, UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed its practice as a hindrance to the development of education, science, culture and communication. At a world conference on actions against apartheid, held the following year in Lagos, Nigeria, UNESCO recommended the observance of International Anti-Apartheid Year.


The UN General Assembly in resolution 32/105 B, adopted on 14 December 1977, proclaimed the year beginning on 21 March 1978 as the International Anti-Apartheid Year.


During this year the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination was held at Geneva, Switzerland, from 14 to 25 August 1978. In the final declaration it said "Apartheid, the extreme form of institutionalised racism, is a crime against humanity and an affront to the dignity of mankind and is a threat to peace and security in the world".


UN gold medal against apartheidAt a special meeting of the General Assembly on 11 October 1978, the United Nations gave awards to eight persons in recognition of their contribution, in cooperation with the United Nations, to the international campaign against apartheid:


The Reverend Canon L. John Collins (United Kingdom)

Michael Manley (Jamaica)

The late General Murtala Mohamed (Nigeria)

The late Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt)

The late Jawaharlal Nehru (India)

The late Kwame Nkrumah (Kenya)

Olof Palme (Sweden)

The late Paul Robeson (United States of America)





A chronology of the UN and the struggle against apartheid by E.S. Reddy.

All the International Years proclaimed by the General Assembly.



Poster for the International Anti-Apartheid Year by UNESCORelated persons


Nehru, Jahawarlal

Nkrumah, Kwame

Palme, Olof

Robeson, Paul



Stamp catalogue


German Democratic Republic         3 October 1978

Tunisia                                         30 August 1978









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last revised: 1 July 2009