News & Updates
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
June 4, 2015
The Circle of Change Game was developed by the H&M Conscious Foundation. Alex Wek, Sudanese supermodel and ambassador for the H&M Conscious Foundation, joins Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the office of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town to play Circle of Change – see who knows more about Education, Clean Water, and Strengthening Women!
Source: H&M Conscious Foundation
June 3, 2015
In the wake of the storm of police violence against black people raging across the United States, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Reverend Mpho Tutu, consider the question of whether a truth and reconciliation process is needed in America, and if it could help heal the still-bleeding wounds of racism.
Source: Yes! Magazine
June 1, 2015
The work of peace-making always includes being grounded in your own inner peace. At The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation we provide tools for young people to create what we call Peace3 or peace to the third power: peace within, between and among people. They’re all inter-connected and essential in creating lives of well-being. Peace and well-being within your own life is the foundation for contributing to peace between the people in your community or country and among the diverse global human family.
In 2015-16, the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation is focused on the first part of the campaign, Peace Within – how cultivating one’s inner peace lays the foundation for peace in all aspects of one’s life. We will be sharing personal stories from luminaries, celebrities and unsung heroes as to how they achieve inner peace, and how it empowers them in their day to day existence.
When examining peace for myself, I often think of the transformative power of the African wisdom tradition of “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu says that a person is only a person in the context of others. In other words we need one another in order to each discover our magnificence and allow it to shine by what we do with our lives. It is a way of life that acknowledges that every person is of infinite value. It replaces fear and distrust of others with an expectancy, curiosity and celebration of them.
Living a life of Ubuntu is a way of active engagement with the world. It means that whenever the magnificence of others is confined, scorned or dismissed you intuitively join with others in actively seeking to expand our consciousness of what it means to be human.
This affirmation of the dignity of each person often involves the pursuit of justice so that the magnificence and well-being of all can be celebrated. It is ultimately a joyful way of life.
Here are three practices by which this Ubuntu way of life finds expression in creating peace within so that we can also create peace between and among peoples.
1. Be attentive to those around you. In the bustle of daily life it is common to take those around you for granted as a known quantity. You may admire, tolerate or be dismayed at people for qualities or behaviors they display. Those who dismay or anger you will drain your energy if you cede them that power. Your bandwidth for engaging with others is a limited and precious resource. The choices of whom to surround yourself with will either detract or enliven your vow.
Mindfully choose those whose lives exhibit well-being for themselves and others. Create time to be in conversation with them. Glean from them their truths and discoveries about living in peace. The magnificence of your mutual quest for living in peace will radiate beyond the borders of your own life creating a rippling effect in the world.
2. Own your cluttered conversations. The things that clutter our lives are not necessarily bad but they distract and detract us from the path to well-being. Old story lines and conversations that rattle around inside of us are a pernicious clutter because of their toxicity. You need to own their existence before you can detach and set yourself free from them.
These are the conversations that undermine you by keeping you ensnared in their hurt, pain, betrayal and fear. They undermine and detract you from knowing that living in peace is possible. Name them and detach from them by offering them to the care of the Universe. It is a toxic cleanse for your well-being. Choose instead to pay attention to the comments and conversations that express a desire for your highest good.
3. Forgive instead of paying back. When you are unable to forgive someone you harm yourself by allowing part of your life to be occupied by an egregious person. The one who harmed you through a previous act gives little thought to you or what they did. Instead it is you who choose to be a victim of the past. To forgive does not mean forgetting but it does mean not seeking payback. It is a choice to be free.
I ran into someone who had led a malicious agenda against me that disrupted my life in unexpected ways. Years ago I had chosen to forgive him and my life opened to new possibilities. But there he was professing to not know me. The unexpected encounter brought back memories of a traumatic experience. Would I allow him to reoccupy my life? I was reminded that the choice to forgive often presents itself repeatedly. Forgiving is a choice to be free.
With these practices for peace within and the desire to live a life of Ubuntu, you turn your back on settling for serial moments of peace and instead choose a way of life in which to ground your work in making the world a more hopeful and just place.
Robert V. Taylor has dedicated his life to helping individuals and organizations live beyond their limitations. He challenges leaders to live beyond the fears and self-assessments that hold them hostage. Robert is the voice of a generation empowered by the potential of living beyond the restrictions of labels. He is passionate about helping people find a deeper connection to themselves and the world at large. Author of “A New Way to Be Human,” Robert shares his own struggles and global journeys as an example of what is possible when we all live beyond labels.
As an internationally known speaker, author and media commentator, Robert is an engaging and compelling communicator of values, leadership and ethics. He is a frequent speaker for professional organizations, conferences and non-profit groups worldwide.
Robert is Chair of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation in New York, and serves on the Board of the Endowment for Equal Justice. He was Founding Chair of the Committee to End Homelessness in King County WA and an organizer of Seeds of Compassion.
He is a native of Cape Town, South Africa. Robert lives in Seattle and on a farm in rural Eastern Washington.
May 29, 2015
Transcribed from Archbishop Tutu’s speech to the Oslo Conference on Rohingyas
The credit that is due to the government of Myanmar for reforms undertaken over the past couple of years does not blind us to the ongoing disavowal and repression of its ethnic minorities, the Rohingya population in particular.
A country that is not at peace with itself, that fails to acknowledge and protect the dignity and worth of all its people, is not a free country. Freedom is indivisible. All must be invited. All, a part.
The Rohingya people were not consulted when the British drew the Burmese border on the map. With those strokes of a pen, they became a borderland people; people whose ancestral land traverses political boundaries.
Burma’s post-colonial government, elected in 1948, officially recognized the Rohingya as an indigenous community, as did its first military government that ruled from 1962 to 1974.
Manipulation by the military of ethnic minorities in the west of the country dates back to the late 1950s. At first, the military sought to co-opt the Muslim Rohingya to quell the Buddhist Rakhine after Rakhine separatists had been crushed. The military turned only Rohingya.
In 1978, the Far Eastern Economic Review described the Rohingya as the victims of Burmese apartheid. A few years later, a citizenship law left the Rohingya off the list of indigenous people, describing them as Muslim immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
In the context of rising anti-Muslim sentiment in Myanmar, many Buddhists, particularly in Rakhine state, regard the Rohingya as illegal immigrants. More than 100,000 Rohingya are trapped in internment camps. They may not leave “for their own protection.” They hold only temporary identity cards. In February, they lost all voting rights.
The government of Myanmar has sought to absolve itself of responsibility for the conflict between the Rakhine and the Rohingya, projecting it as sectarian or communal violence.
I would be more inclined to heed the warnings of eminent scholars and researchers including Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate in economics, who say this is a deliberately false narrative to camouflage the slow genocide being committed against the Rohingya people. There’s evidence, they say, that anti-Rohingya sentiment has been carefully cultivated by the government itself.
Human beings may look and behave differently to one another, but ultimately none of us can claim any kind of supremacy. We are all the same. There are no natural differences between Buddhists and Muslims. It is possible to transplant a Christian heart into a Hindu chest and for a citizen of Israel to donate a kidney to a Palestinian.
We’re born to love—without prejudice, without distrust. Members of one family, the human family—made for each other and for goodness. All of us!
We are taught to discriminate, to dislike and to hate.
As lovers of peace and believers in the right of all members of the family to dignity and security, we have particular responsibilities to the Rohingya. 2015 is a big year for Myanmar, with both a referendum on its constitution and a general election on its calendar.
Even as we seek to encourage the country to build on the reforms it has started, we have a responsibility to ensure that the plight of the Rohingya is not lost. We have a responsibility to hold to account those of our governments and corporations that seek to profit from new relationships with Myanmar to ensure their relationships are established on a sound ethical basis.
We have a responsibility to persuade our international and regional aid and grant making institutions, including the European Union, to adopt a common position making funding the development of Myanmar conditional on the restoration of citizenship, nationality and basic human rights to the Rohingya.
May 29, 2015
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is perhaps the closest thing the world has to an expert on forgiveness. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he led the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was charged with healing the wounds inflicted by generations of institutionalized racism.
His work helped South Africa transition from an apartheid state to a multiracial democracy. In the process, Tutu and the Commission considered more than 7,000 applications for amnesty, acting on the idea that everyone deserves the chance to walk the road of redemption.
Tutu remains widely sought after for his wisdom, particularly as countries around the world attempt to use the process of truth and reconciliation to heal from their own legacies of conflict and hurt. He and his daughter the Rev. Mpho Tutu recently released their Book of Forgiving, a guide for both perpetrators and victims of violence to embrace their mutual humanity and learn how to forgive, and how to be forgiven.
For the Summer 2015 issue of YES! Magazine, titled “Make It Right,” Desmond and Mpho Tutu were interviewed by YES! Editor in Chief Sarah van Gelder and contributor Fania Davis, a civil rights attorney and executive director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth.
May 27, 2015
South Africa’s Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu yesterday called for international aid to Myanmar to be linked to the plight of the country’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.
“2015 is a big year for Myanmar with both a referendum on its constitution and a general election,” Tutu told an Oslo conference on the Rohingya.
“We have a responsibility to ensure that the plight of the Rohingya is not lost,” he said in a pre-recorded message aired to participants.
“We have a responsibility to persuade our international and regional aid and grant-making institutions, including the European Union, to adopt a common position making funding the development of Myanmar conditional on the restoration of citizenship, nationality, and basic human rights to the Rohingya,” he said.
The 1984 Nobel laureate is an anti-apartheid hero respected around the world as a moral authority.
Tens of thousands of Myanmar’s 1.3 million Rohingya have fled the country in recent years, to escape sectarian violence as well as suffocating restrictions preventing travel and employment.
Each year thousands of Rohingya try to flee Myanmar by boat headed for other Southeast Asian countries, spurring a human trafficking trade in often dramatic conditions.
Source: AFP, Oslo