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Desmond Tutu

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Africa

When he was born, Desmond Tutu was given the middle name "Mpilo", Sotho for "life", because he was a sickly baby, not expected to survive. "That," he has said, "was my first commitment to faith."

His faith in and commitment to the peaceful destiny of South Africa earned Archbishop Tutu the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. For years he served as his country's voice of conscience during its long struggle against apartheid. When that struggle was finally won, he took the first steps, as Chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to minister to the ugly wounds it left behind. On October 29, 1998, the Commission submitted its initial report to President Nelson Mandela, marking a significant step in the nation's healing process, as well as an international reminder of the commitment to the pursuit of freedom and justice.

Archbishop Tutu soothed the spirits and rallied the hearts of his people with simple words of passion and dignity. These words also served to invoke the indignity of the world against South Africa's apartheid regime. The power of his statesmanship has been preserved in three collections of sermons and addresses: Crying in the Wilderness: The Struggle for Justice in South Africa, Hope and Suffering: Sermons and Speeches, The Words of Desmond Tutu, and The Rainbow People of God.

Throughout the long years dedicated to reclaiming the dignity of his people, Archbishop Tutu always saw himself as 'a simple pastor, passionately concerned for justice, peace, and reconciliation.' He authored God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time reflecting on his work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and pledged himself to continue to speak out, not only in his own country, but throughout the world.

Recently, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom "the highest civilian honor" for his significant contributions to the nation and the world.

Speaker Topics

Crying in the Wilderness: The Struggle for Justice in South Africa

His faith in the peaceful destiny of South Africa and his commitment to that destiny earned Archbishop Tutu the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. For years he served as his country's voice of conscience during its long struggle against apartheid. When that struggle was finally won, he took the first steps, as Chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to minister to the ugly wounds it left behind.

Bridging the Chasm Between Black and White

On October 29, 1998 the commission submitted its initial report to President Nelson Mandela, marking a significant step in the nation's healing process, as well as an international reminder of the commitment to the pursuit of freedom and justice.

Africa's Rebirth

The Hunger for Transcendence: The Search for Spiritual Values in Today's World.

Testimonials

Last night's event with Desmond Tutu was a great success. The event went very smoothly and the audience of about 3,000 has given us nothing but praise and thrilling comments for the event.
- Event Coordinator, ASUOP, University of the Pacific

I will certainly treasure my memories of my heroes who have made social changes through their passionate visions and relentless determination, in particular Desmond Tutu. The Summit speakers, especially Archbishop Desmond Tutu expanded my view of the world and my view of the responsibilities I have as a human being. I was touched by many of the speakers at the Summit, but none more so than Desmond Tutu who described the incredible capacity for good that humanity possesses. His words and positive disposition were truly inspiring. One of my highlights was meeting Desmond Tutu…His speech at the LACMA…inspired me beyond belief.
- Attendees of Academy of Achievement Summit in LA

I am writing to thank you profusely for your great contribution to our recent Annual Congress in Stockholm. Your Presentation fitted perfectly into the overall theme of our event. As I believe you could tell from the reaction, our delegates were moved and inspired by your message of forgiveness, reconciliation and justice. As was clear from our congress evaluation results, your address was by far the highlight of the Congress, marked as it was by passion, conviction and humor.
- CEO, CIES The Food Business Forum

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