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March 28, 2017

Desmond Tutu: Climate Change Is The Human Rights Challenge of Our Time

The destruction of the earth’s environment is the human rights challenge of our time.

Over the 25 years that climate change has been on the world’s agenda Global emissions have risen unchecked while real world impacts have taken hold in earnest.

Time is running out.

We are already experiencing loss of life and livelihood due to intensified storms, shortage of fresh water, spread of disease, rising food prices, and the creation of climate refugees.

The most devastating effects are visited on the poor, those with no involvement in creating the problem. A deep injustice.

Just as we argued in the 1980s that those who conducted business with apartheid South Africa were aiding and abetting an immoral system, today we say nobody should profit from the rising temperatures, seas and human suffering caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow. For there will be no tomorrow.

We are on the cusp of a global transition to a new safe energy economy. We must support our leaders to make the correct, moral choices.

Freeze further exploration for new fossil sources. We cannot maintain a livable temperature and climate for humanity if we burn more than a fraction of the fossil fuels already discovered.
Hold those responsible for climate damages accountable. Change the profit incentive by demanding legal liability for unsustainable environmental practices.

Encourage governments to stop accepting funding from the fossil fuel industry that blocks action on climate change.

Divest from fossil fuels and invest in a clean energy future. Move your money out of the problem and into solutions.

There is a word we use in South Africa that describes human relationships: Ubuntu. It says: I am because you are. My success and my failures are bound up in yours. We are made for each other, part of one family, the human family, with one shared earth.

God bless you.

December 30, 2016

What’s in a year? 2016 highlights from the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation

As we prepare for what is sure to be an exciting new year, we love to take the opportunity to appreciate all of the accomplishments we have achieved at the Foundation – accomplishments that are due the exceptional efforts and generosity of our supporters, staff and friends. From revolutionary digital experiences to inspiring a major world city, the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation is thrilled to share some of the highlights from our year…

We debuted Tutu: Then and Now, a photo exhibition.


After more than a year of planning, we debuted the Tutu: Then and Now photography exhibition at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City. The photo exhibit features the works of two South African photojournalists, Sumaya Hisham and Eric Miller and spans a period of thirty years of the Archbishop’s life – from his work during the Apartheid era to his acclaimed work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission with Nelson Mandela, to his peace and justice work since his “retirement” in 2010.


Tutu: Then and Now exhibit set up in the newly renovated St. Paul’s Chapel in Manhattan.

The exhibition was held in Manhattan’s historic St. Paul’s Chapel and hosted 1000-1500 people daily.

We went live with Facebook to celebrate #TutuAt85.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu delivers the Eucharist at St. Paul’s Chapel on the morning of his 85th birthday.


Archbishop Tutu pauses to weep during the Eucharist on his 85th birthday.

Thanks to the generosity of Facebook, we were able to do something remarkable on the Archbishop’s 85th birthday. We were able to use Facebook Live to share ALL of the days festivities with an audience across the globe AND we were able to involve them in the festivities as they were able to join the conversations and wish the Archbishop a “Happy Birthday”.
From Cape Town to Los Angeles, the events were broadcast live. The Archbishop trended across social media platforms in countries all over the world and the day also marked a first for tech giant Facebook as the Archbishop’s birthday morning eucharist marked the first time a major church service had ever been streamed live to the site.

Our Peace3 program expanded…


Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth speaks to a sold out crowd at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation welcomed one of the Archbishop’s daughters, the Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth to Southern California for our Peace3 programming. Unfortunately, her visit was cut short due to a surgery the Archbishop was having but she was able to give a lecture that we arranged on the Peace and our connection to the environment at Deepak Chopra’s Sages & Scientists.

and Peace3 went international…


Peace leaders from across Haiti came together in the coastal town of Jacmel to learn how to host their own Peace Conferences.

Continuing our partnership with the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College, we returned to Jacmel, Haiti for the Jacmel Peace Conference – this year creating a training for peace leaders to be able to host their own conference and, using the Peace3 concept as an outline, our partners at the Valencia Peace and Justice Institute developed a workbook for leading Peace Seminars.

Peace3 inspired youth through song…

We sponsored the work of NegusWorld, an organization working to inspire young people to make change through hip-hop. Through their work with NegusWorld and DTPF, the brother-sister duo of TatuVision came together with Stoney Creation to create Peace3, a song inspired by DTPF’s main program of Peace3 – Peace Within; Peace Between; Peace Among.

And we loved it so much, we gave a little something back…


The kids from NegusWorld spend some time with Quincy Jones backstage at Desmond Tutu’s birthday celebration in Los Angeles.

Inspired by the kids’ dedication to promoting Peace3, we invited them to be part of the birthday celebrations for the Archbishop where they performed the song live, and had the opportunity to meet and learn from the legendary Quincy Jones.

And Peace3 combined with the Tutu: Then and Now photo exhibition inspired a new program…


Photographer Sumaya Hisham leads the #TutuInspiresNYC photography workshop for the students of Leadership and Public Service High School of New York.

With the help of our amazing photographers, the team at Trinity Church Wall Street, and the staff and students of Leadership and Public Service High School in New York, we launched our newest program, “Tutu Inspires…”. Created as a workshop to accompany the Tutu: Then and Now exhibit, our debut was with #TutuInspiresNYC and teaches youth to use photography as a tool to tell their own story, rather than have others tell it for them.

The work of the students amazed! Click on the gallery links above for a sample or see al lof the students’ photos on the Instawall created in partnership with Instagram to support this project at https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/tutuinspiresnyc/

We had so many, many more accomplishments – great and small – this year, but more than anything else, in this year marking Archbishop Tutu’s 85th birthday…

We celebrated!

We celebrated his birthday in Cape Town where friends and family from across the world came together to wish him a Happy Birthday…

Arch presented with a birthday cake by his grandchildren.

Arch presented with a birthday cake by his grandchildren.

…and we celebrated his birthday in Los Angeles where the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation through a Tribute Concert to honor the Arch and bring together friends of his who couldn’t make the trip to South Africa.


Legendary Quincy Jones pays tribute to his friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Unity celebration concert in Los Angeles.


Members of Fishbone and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones perform live for at the Archbishop’s birthday tribute concert.

Some of the celebrations took a serious tone…

Human rights champion, Advocate Hina Jilani delivers the 6th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture at the Artscape Theatre. Photo: Sumaya Hisham

Human rights champion, Advocate Hina Jilani delivers the 6th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture at the Artscape Theatre.
Photo: Sumaya Hisham

But of course, we always celebrated with JOY!


Desmond Tutu teaching the Dalai Lama to dance.

DTPF joined the Archbishop, the Dalai Lama, Doug Abrams and the Book of Joy team to promote The Book of Joy. The response to this book has been overwhelming and has now been on the New York Times Bestseller list for TEN WEEKS!

As we wrap up 2016, we are faced with excitement for new opportunities to come in 2017. As we plan for new exciting Peace3 events across North America, as we explore new venues cities for Tutu Inspires, and as we hold on to the lessons that the Archbishop has given us for how to move forward in this world, we do so with the knowledge that in 2017, it is imperative that all of us make an impact that is bigger than ever by being compassionate, collaborative, innovative, strong and by having our voice heard.

The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation is funded completely by donations. It is with the help of generous, inspired, and passionate individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations that we are able to do the work we do. By clicking the link below, you are not just giving a gift, you are standing up to help us help young people find their voices and share them with the world.

Please donate today to help us spread peace education and the legacy of Desmond Tutu to people throughout the United States and around the world with a U.S. tax-deductible donation. Thanks in advance for your generosity.



August 19, 2016

Artists Come Together for MINI-BIG Show Benefit Concert Series to Celebrate Desmond Tutu’s 85th Birthday

For decades, Archbishop Tutu has preached a message of unity through ubuntu – what affects one of us, affects us all. On October 7, at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles, an all-star group of artists will unite to put this philosophy into practice with a concert in tribute to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 13.46.22-1The Los Angeles show kicks off UNITY: The Desmond Tutu Legacy Project, a global effort spearheaded by the Archbishop, his daughter Mpho Tutu and the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation to ensure his work for peace, justice, and equality continues for generations to come. Each concert will unify musicians, actors, artists, and activists who will lend their voices to raise awareness of Tutu’s life work and global impact. All artists are donating their time for this international cause.

The first UNITY Mini-Big Show will be held on Archbishop Tutu’s 85th birthday, October 7, 2016. It will coincide with a series of events attended by the Archbishop in Cape Town, South Africa, including a concert and the 6th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture. These events will mark the beginning of a year-long celebration of Archbishop Tutu’s life, culminating in October 2017, with an all-star grand finale event that will take place in Cape Town when numerous international artists come together for a birthday tribute concert and Legacy Award ceremony.

Each Mini-Big show is an intimate performance of notable artists designed to reach the largest audience possible worldwide. Each concert will take place in a theater as opposed to a stadium and will be live streamed in partnership with Facebook, with audio simulcasts on terrestrial radio in each market.

Additional Mini-Big Shows will be held throughout 2016-7. Confirmed cities, dates, and acts include: Toronto, November 2016; New York, December 2016; Miami, March 2017; Atlanta, April 2017; with more cities to be announced.

Each Mini-Big concert will be filmed for inclusion in an exclusive retrospective documentary on Archbishop Tutu’s life story, produced by Sir Bob Geldof, which will trace the evolution of his extraordinary legacy. The documentary will feature rare archival footage and interviews with iconic personalities including Annie Lennox, Bono, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Steve Tyler, Alfre Woodard, Sean Paul, Johnny Clegg, and others who have been inspired by his work. Quincy Jones will serve as Executive Producer of an all-star soundtrack to complement the film.

Special thanks to our sponsors – Facebook, Astrella, Glow Living, Guitar Center and Musician’s Institute.

Tickets for the Los Angeles show go on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 at ticketmaster.com. There will be a fan pre-sale for American Express Card holders that beganon Wednesday, Aug. 17, and will run through 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 19. Ticket prices range from $60 to $105. Twenty VIP tickets are available for $250 each, which include front row seats, a private meet and greet with the artists, access to the backstage reception (after the show), and a commemorative poster created and signed by artist Bob Masse.


June 17, 2016

Dozens of faith leaders and celebrities join Desmond Tutu in ‘call to action’ for refugees.

Dozens of faith leaders and celebrities have today urged governments around the world to take immediate action on the growing refugee crisis.

In a video released by the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Helen Mirren, Ben Stiller and more than 60 others join Archbishop Desmond Tutu in petitioning world leaders.

“Every day, war forces thousands of innocent families to leave their homes,” the video says.

“To escape the violence they leave everything behind… everything except their hopes and dreams. We believe all refugees deserve the right to protection and to live in safety. Together, we need to send a clear message to governments. We must act with solidarity and take shared responsibility. We stand together #WithRefugees. Please stand with us.”

A petition will be delivered to the UN headquarters in New York ahead of the September 19 UN General Assembly meeting, which will address the refugee crisis.

The petition urges international governments to ensure refugee families have somewhere safe to live, that each child has access to education and that every refugee is given the opportunity to make a positive contribution to their community through skills or work.

The number of people forced to flee their homes due to conflict or persecution is now higher than it’s ever been since the Second World War, and “we are in a period of deepening conflict and turmoil,” said Filippo Grandi, UN high commissioner for refugees.

“It affects and involves us all, and what it needs is understanding, compassion and political will to come together and find real answers for the refugee plight. This has become a defining challenge of our times.”

Grandi paid tribute to the thousands who have died making the perilous journey from war zones to Europe, and praised the “extraordinary outpouring of empathy and solidarity, as ordinary people and communities opened their homes and their hearts to refugees”.

“The #WithRefugees campaign and petition aims to amplify those voices of welcome and show that the world stands with refugees,” he said.

Source: Christian Today

June 7, 2016

Desmond Tutu: It is Time to Talk About Rape

Editor’s Note: Last week, convicted rapist Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail and three years of probation for raping an unconscious woman. Widespread outrage has erupted throughout the United States over what most consider to be a sentence that was too lenient. A Change.org petition to recall the judge has received over 130,000 signatures. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a video surfaced showing a 16-year old being assaulted by more than 30 men sparking a protest. We must do something to change this culture of rape and the fist step is having an honest discussion about it.

By Desmond Tutu, Jacob Lief and Sohaila Abdulali

What will you discuss with your children this evening? Sports, the weather, celebrity gossip, rape?

We are from three generations, three faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) and three continents (Africa, Asia, North America). One of us is a religious leader, one a writer and rape survivor and one the CEO of a non-profit organisation. We come together in the wake of the recent upheaval around rape in India, South Africa, the US and the UK, because we share a passionate conviction: we must bring the discourse home to the next generation on every continent.

Why did the men in the recent India and South Africa crimes rape, torture, and murder their victims? How could Jimmy Savile of the BBC molest hundreds of people and still die a hero? Why did the gang rapists in Ohio feel safe boasting on camera about what they had done? Why do too many Indians dehumanise women, and too many South Africans believe that men are just intrinsically badly behaved and programmed to rape? Who do we think these sub-human women and out-of-control men are?

They are us and, if we are not careful, they will be our children. We do not have the answers, but we should all be asking the questions, and we should include our sons, daughters and all the young people in our lives in our discussions. We need to stop behaving as if it’s all a terrible problem out there, and start talking about it with each other and with our children.

o much ink has been spilt in the media over the past few weeks. Rape has become a ubiquitous global topic, and that is encouraging since it is a global blot on our collective humanity. But hardly anyone has paid attention to how this affects the most important group of all: the next generation, which is poised to inherit our poisonous baggage.

The fact is, rape is utterly commonplace in all our cultures. It is part of the fabric of everyday life, yet we all act as if it’s something shocking and extraordinary whenever it hits the headlines. We remain silent, and so we condone it. The three of us deal with this issue in different ways every day of our lives, yet we too are guilty of protesting articulately outside but leaving it on the other side of the door when we sit down to dinner with our families. Until rape, and the structures – sexism, inequality, tradition – that make it possible, are part of our dinner-table conversation with the next generation, it will continue. Is it polite and comfortable to talk about it? No. Must we anyway? Yes.

It seems daunting. But which is more painful: talking sensibly with young people about this issue, the same way we might talk with them about drugs, guns or bullying, or waiting for something terrible to happen so close to home that you have to address it in a time of turmoil?

Children can seem fragile, and adults often have the mistaken notion that telling children about harsh realities will destroy their innocence. But you do not lose innocence when you learn about terrible acts; you lose your innocence when you commit them. An open culture of tolerance, honesty and discussion is the best way to safeguard innocence, not destroy it.

Changing rape culture is family work, but it cannot be only family work. It is a public health issue of gravest concern. The statistics are everywhere, but the evidence is weirdly shadowy: like the one in four girls abused in South Africa, by the one in four men who admit to having raped someone. (But who are these girls, and where are these men? Hardly anyone is talking.) The cost in human suffering, lives decimated, families destroyed, mental anguish, physical trauma … the cost of rape is probably bigger than any of us can comprehend. Rape is expensive. Not just families from China to Canada, but also all the important institutions in young people’s lives everywhere – schools from Finland to the Philippines, youth programmes from London to Laos – should spend less energy ignoring the issue and more energy helping children understand the basic concepts of respect and choice.

Yes, governments must step up. But so should we all. Why shouldn’t rape be dinner-table conversation? We talk about war, we talk about death, we discuss values with our children. But on the subject of sexual assault, we remain silent and squeamish. We leave them ill-prepared, with whispers of untold horrors and no guidance for our sons on how they should behave if one day they should find themselves in a group of boys with a girl in their power.

Rape does not exist in a vacuum, and we cannot talk about it as if it is removed from the rest of our lives. Let’s teach our children that they don’t need to live in little boxes defined by their gender or culture. Let’s teach them that they are all of equal worth. Let’s not favour our boys over our girls. Let’s not tolerate bullying or stereotyping. Let’s reject utterly the notion that boys will be boys and girls must work around this assumption or pay the price.

Yes, policies should change, laws should be just. But if we want to make a fundamental difference, all of us must bring the conversation home. It is our opportunity to start to create true change. It might not be polite and comfortable, but it is essential. We owe it to our children.

This article originally appeared in The Guardian on April 26, 2013.


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