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December 31, 2015

What’s in a year? 2015 highlights from the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

Over the last few years, the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation has been working to launch the Peace3 Program and thanks to the support of so many of you, plus the generous support of our corporate donors, we were able to launch this program in 2015 plus accomplish so much more!

We launched the Peace3 program with a two day event in partnership with the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College with thousands of young people joining us in person and online…

Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute conversation on Peace November 03, 2015. WILLIE J. ALLEN JR.

Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute conversation on Peace November 03, 2015.
Photo by Willie J. Allen Jr.

And followed up our launch with events at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida…

Desmond Tutu's granddaughter, Nyaniso Tutu-Burris helped us to launch Peace3 events.

Desmond Tutu’s granddaughter, Nyaniso Tutu helped us to launch Peace3 events.

And at Stanford University near Palo Alto, California… Read More

December 22, 2015

CONVERSATIONS ON RACE: Moving Out of My Cocoon

By Haven McLaughlin, Valencia College Peace & Justice Institute Ambassador
This article originally appeared in the Valencia College PJI Newsletter.

During my time with the Peace and Justice Institute, I have had a plethora of good experiences. This is especially true of the ones that dealt with social justice. One such experience was from the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation’s Conversations on Race workshop. It has stood out to me as the most interesting and one of the most profound experiences during my tenure as a PJI Ambassador.

When the presentation that declared race as a construction of human design and culture was shown, it was a rather shocking revelation that piqued my interest to actually think about how there truly wasn’t much of a real biological alteration that dictated race. We are human after all, but we are also so different and unique at the same time. We were asked to move in to small groups of approximately four to five people and urged to have different races in our group. The majority of the event comprised of prompts appearing on the screen with instructions for each member in the small group to discuss their stories and personal experiences.

Participants enjoying a lively conversation.

You can show people the statistics and provide logic, however, nothing can truly compare to another person’s experience firsthand when they regale some of the difficult situations they faced or the injustice they may have seen. After I heard these personal experiences it was easy for me to empathize with them and I felt like it helped me to better understand this issue that I had removed myself from without being detached or cynical. Read More

December 5, 2015

The Reality of War

By Tenzin Gyatso, the XIVth Dalai Lama

Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering. Read More

December 4, 2015

An Invitation to Forgive

by Desmond Tutu

As a young boy, I spent many nights watching helplessly as my father verbally and physically abused my mother. I can still recall the smell of alcohol, see the fear in my mother’s eyes, and feel the hopeless despair that comes when we see people we love hurting each other in incomprehensible ways. I would not wish that experience on anyone, especially not a child.

If I dwell in those memories, I can feel myself wanting to hurt my father back, in the same ways he hurt my mother. My mother was a gentle human being who did nothing to deserve the pain inflicted upon her. It is perfectly normal to want to hurt back when we have been hurt. But hurting back rarely satisfies. We think it will, but it doesn’t. If I slap you after you slap me, it does not lessen the sting I feel on my own face, nor does it diminish my sadness as to the fact you have struck me. Retaliation gives, at best, only momentary respite from our pain. The only way to experience permanent healing and peace is to forgive. Read More