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April 26, 2016

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Narrates Nelson Mandela Audio Documentary

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.10.29 AMMandela: An Audio History is an audio documentary on the struggle against apartheid through the intimate accounts of Nelson Mandela, as well as those who fought with him, and against him. The series weaves together first person interviews from the people on the front lines of history and dozens of rare archival recordings.

These audio artifacts bring us into the courtroom on the day Mandela was sentenced to life in prison in 1964 and take us inside Robben Island during a Mandela family visit, a secret recording saved for more than two decades by a prison guard. Government propaganda films and pirate radio broadcasts from the ANC help to recreate the time and place that saw this extraordinary history unfold.

This 3-part series is recognized as one of the most comprehensive oral histories of apartheid ever broadcast and is narrated by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Follow the links to listen to or download the full podcast.

Introduction to Nelson Mandela
Radio Diaries 1: The Birth of Apartheid
Radio Diaries 2: The Underground Movement


April 19, 2016

Archbishop Tutu, Dalai Lama and 250 Other Faith Leaders Urge Action on Climate Change


A group of 250 faith leaders from around the world, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, signed an Interfaith Climate Statement, urging nations to sign on to the Paris climate agreement and called for scaling up ambition to combat climate change.

Leaders belonging to the Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim faith have signed on, “We as faith communities recognize that we must begin a transition away from polluting fossil fuels and towards clean renewable energy sources,” the leaders said in the statement.

Source: EcoWatch

April 16, 2016

Finding Inner Peace to Love Our Human Family — Addressing the World Refugee Crisis

A Syrian Kurdish refugee child from the Kobani holds a bucket at a refugee camp in Suruc, near the Turkey-Syria border . Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo

A Syrian Kurdish refugee child from the Kobani holds a bucket at a refugee camp in Suruc, near the Turkey-Syria border . Vadim Ghirda/AP Photo

Last fall, the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation launched Peace3, a campaign to inspire young people how to create a world of peace within themselves, peace between people, and peace among nations, based on the legacy of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Since launching that program, I have been struck by how may people have reached out to us from all over the world, specifically asking us if we can address the issue of refugees .

This situation becomes worse with every passing week. As Pope Francis prepares to visit the Syrian refugees, the nations of Europe turn to fear mongering among their populace, endorsing an attitude of xenophobia. In the United States, a candidate has risen to the top of a major party by promising to build a wall to keep out migrants and refugees trying to enter from Mexico. All the while, people, many of them children, are drowning in the Mediterranean, being forced into slavery, or detained for months on end in camps or detainment centers. From Malaysia to Texas, mass graves filled with the corpses of migrants are being discovered as their families are left to worry and wonder.

Xenophobia toward refugees is a world-wide dilemma, what can we do?

At its very core, our Peace3 program is based in the South African concept of ubuntu —Archbishop Tutu has explained this concept by saying, “my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu listens to Yusuf Batil refugees at a camp in South Sudan. Photo/Adriane Ohanesian

Archbishop Desmond Tutu listens to Yusuf Batil refugees at a camp in South Sudan. Photo/Adriane Ohanesian

When we see refugees suffering, and we choose not to do something, isn’t that deliberately hurting them? No one chooses to be a refugee. Refugees face poverty, discrimination, starvation, physical abuse, and separation from loved ones — but it is still better than the war or genocide they often face if they remain in their home countries.

Many of our leaders, abetted by our media, want us to be afraid of these refugees. They encourage a xenophobic attitude so that we as a society have an irrational fear of these innocents.

But we can overcome this. The first principal of Peace3 is peace within. We can be realistic about our fears and encourage others to overcome theirs. We can educate ourselves, learn about the refugee situation, learn about the economic facts related to immigration. We can make an effort to get to know each other without the blinders of fear that have been thrust upon us.

All of us remember the image of Alan Kurdi, the Syrian boy who was found dead on a beach off the coast of Turkey last year. That one image shifted the way that so many people throughout the world viewed the Syrian refugee crisis and humanized the issue for so many of us. But that goodwill toward the Syrian refugees ended when Paris was attacked last November and once again, an irrational fear was promoted.

But we can choose to have inner peace which will in turn allow us to change our mindset. What political messages do we listen to? Where are we getting our information? Are we choosing to feed our minds with content that subjects ourselves to fear and violence — or can we choose sources that are focused on love and peace?

It is easy to be influenced by negativity. We listen to the messages that we want to hear. When you look at a refugee, are you looking for a terrorist or a brother? Are you looking for hatred or love? By choosing to focus our minds on positivity, we not only will find happiness — we will find inner peace.

Nelson Mandela said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Those of us living in free societies need to find freedom from our mental chains, and then make an effort to welcome refugees.

But we also need to do more. Not every person can live in the U.S. or Canada or Europe. But we have the resources to help everyone in the world. The financial costs of terrorism and wars is far more than the cost of dealing with the issues that lead to refugees at their source. Most refugees don’t want to be refugees and would stay in their home countries if they could.

As long as people in the world are suffering from a lack of food, a lack of clean drinking water, a lack of education — we will have people wanting to escape those conditions. When people live with corrupt governments or a lack of care for the environment, or are denied their civil rights — those people will not have happiness.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu greets a refugee in a Yusuf Batil camp in Southern Sudan. Photo/Adriane Ohanesian

Archbishop Desmond Tutu greets a refugee in a Yusuf Batil camp in Southern Sudan. Photo/Adriane Ohanesian

Archbishop Tutu says, “We all belong to this one family, this human family, God’s family.” Are we going to fear our brothers and sisters, or are we going to learn about them, embrace them? Happiness comes from our relationships with other people. We can choose not to fear and instead to show love and compassion.

We can find peace within ourselves, share that peace with our brothers and sisters, and it will lead to peace among nations.

April 14, 2016

Renewing the Call to #BringBackOurGirls


Members of the “Bring Back Our Girls” movement and mothers of the missing schoolgirls, hold a banner showing photographs of some of the missing girls when they marched to press for their release from Boko Haram captors on January 14, 2016 in Abuja, Nigeria. PHOTO | AFP

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

In April of 2014, I was working for His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the Deputy Director of his U.S. Foundation. We had programs for peace all over the world. One that held a special place in my heart was a school that we sponsored in Jos, Nigeria. This school’s focus was to incorporate secular ethics into the already rigid curriculum that was outlined by the Nigerian government.

Because of my connection with this school, the faculty, and the students, I was particularly shocked and saddened when, on April 14th of 2014, Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 girls from the nearby town of Chibok. This sadness was compounded when a few weeks later, assailants from the same group set off a bomb in the market place in Jos, killing more than 30 including one of our students from the school.

Who of us doesn’t remember the outpouring of support that accompanied the hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls? The campaign was taken up from such a variety of luminaries – from Michelle Obama to Kim Kardashian – and it shone a global light on the brutal yet largely ignored conflict that has been raging in Nigeria for more than seven years. Archbishop Desmond Tutu stood with ONE leaders to call for an action to free these girls.

So what happened to the girls?


The mother of a girl abducted by Boko Haram takes part in a rally in Abuja, Nigeria, in January 2016. (L.A. Times)

According to Mr. Ufuoma Akpojivi, a media researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, 219 of those 276 girls are still missing. Most have not been seen since a video that Boko Haram released in May 2014. Then the Los Angeles Times reported today that the November following the kidnappings in Chibok and bombings in Jos, more than 400 people, mostly children, vanished after a Boko Haram invasion of Damasak. Despite the world’s attention on Nigeria, a Human Rights Watch report has concluded that the Nigerian security forces never really made an effort to locate the missing girls and boys from Damasak.

219 girls missing from Chibok, more than 400 people missing from Damasak – and this is just a small fraction of the thousands of women, girls and boys that have been abducted. Amnesty International reports that more than 2000 women were abducted just in 2015 and 2016. UNICEF reports that in 2015,In 2015, the estimated number of Boko Haram bomb attacks in North-East Nigeria and neighboring countries increased sharply, as did the proportion of attacks involving children. Three quarters of these so-called suicide-bombing attacks involve young girls. These children are victims, not perpetrators. Usually the bombs are strapped to their bodies and detonated remotely, without the children even knowing what they are.

In the two years since the Chibok girls were abducted, Nigeria held free elections as well as demonstrated an impressive vigilance in defending against the Ebola virus. Nigeria can handle this, but they need our help. We need to continue telling the story of these girls, but we cannot stop there. The international community needs to renew their full support to all local, regional and national governments to dedicate their resources and and expertise, to do whatever necessary, to #BringBackOurGirls.

– BR

April 12, 2016

Archbishop Tutu: Small Steps to Make the World a Better Place

Not everything need be a grand gesture.

Archbishop Tutu organizes a group to collect trash on the occasion of his 82nd birthday.

Archbishop Tutu organizes a group to collect trash on the occasion of his 82nd birthday.

Many people know the Archbishop for his work on the global stage, but this week, the Times Live in Cape Town was alerted to the Archbishop’s efforts to make the world better on a somewhat smaller scale.

On Sunday evening, real estate agent Peter Andrianatos spotted the Archbishop picking up trash while on a walk in the the Cape Town suburb of Milnerton, where the Archbishop lives.

“He walks the streets daily for exercise‚ but whatever litter he sees lying in the street‚ he picks up and puts it in the nearest dustbin,” Andrianatos posted to Facebook. “I believe he does this on a regular basis in Milnerton.”

The Archbishop, who was hospitalized twice toward the end of last year but who has been returning to a more regular schedule, took the praise with his usual humility. “I am feeling much better‚ thank you‚ though not necessarily any younger than I did six months ago,” he explained. “I’ve been picking up litter on my walks for years‚ and encourage other to do the same.”

“I think it’s remarkable for a man of that age and that stature bother,” said Andrianatos of the archbishop who is 85 years old. “May our local resident of Milnerton be blessed‚ Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a legend.”


(Source: Times Live)

April 11, 2016

Celebrating our Volunteers During National Volunteer Week

“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

President Obama has proclaimed this week National Volunteer Week in the United States. At the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, we could not do the work we do without the amazing support of our amazing volunteers and we see this week as a time to thank and celebrate you!

So many of you are professionals, retirees, students or amazing individuals with time and talents that you share with us so generously. As President Obama said in his proclamation, “Volunteers help drive our country’s progress, and day in and day out, they make extraordinary sacrifices to expand promise and possibility.  During National Volunteer Week, let us shed the cynicism that says one person cannot make a difference in the lives of others by embracing each of our individual responsibilities to serve and shape a brighter future for all.” Those of you that volunteer with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, embody President Obama’s message every day.

From our legal team, our wonderful publicist, our web design, social media, interns and more – I am inspired by how all of you have found unique and meaningful ways to contribute to the organization. Some of you contribute on a daily basis and some when we have events or special community programs. But with all of you, your work truly captures the spirit of ubuntu, and I really am because of you.

On behalf of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, our Board, and all of us at the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, I would like to thank all of our volunteers who help make our organization a catalyst for change and an inspiration to young people throughout the United States and the world.

Brian Rusch
Executive Director
Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

If you would like to get involved volunteering with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, visit our volunteer page and let us know!