Recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu will address the community at a special interfaith service at Cochran Chapel this Sunday. Recognized worldwide for his influential work in bringing an end to the cruel practices of apartheid in South Africa, Archbishop Tutu will speak on “The Pursuit of International Justice” before joining students and faculty for an intimate discussion in Commons. In addition to the Archbishop’s speech, Sunday’s service will include selected readings from the Bible and the Koran, as well as performances by The Fidelio Society, the Gospel Choir and the Phillips Academy Orchestra. Although the gathering in the Chapel is open to the public, the luncheon in Commons is open only to invited members of the Phillips Academy community. Sponsored by the Office of the Head of School, the special event will feature a question-and-answer session with the renowned Nobel laureate, as well as a lunch buffet. Instructor in Chemistry and veteran human rights activist Temba Maqubela was instrumental in securing the Archbishop’s visit to campus. After meeting the Nobel Laureate at Harvard University last spring, Mr. Maqubela contacted Instructor in English Kevin O’Connor, who serves as the chair of the school’s Lectureship Committee, to discuss the possibility of bringing the acclaimed figure to campus. After presenting the idea to his colleagues, Mr. O’Connor and Student Council President Kanyi Maqubela ’03 wrote letters of invitation to the Archbishop, who accepted their offer to visit the Academy during the following school year. “I join with countless others in recognizing [Archbishop Tutu] as an international voice of conscience,” Mr. O’Connor said. Born in 1931 in the North West Province of South Africa, the Archbishop attended school in Johannesburg, and acquired his teaching certificate from the Pretoria Bantu Normal College in 1953. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Africa in 1954, Archbishop Tutu began a career in education that lasted nearly five years. In 1958, he embarked on his religious education at St. Peter’s Theological College, and was ordained in the priesthood of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa three years later. He then obtained his Masters Degree in Theology in Great Britain. The Archbishop then returned to Africa to become the first black Dean at the Cathedral in Johannesburg, the center of the Anglican community in South Africa. Consecrated as Bishop of Lesotho in 1976, Tutu rose to international fame when he was appointed General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches just weeks after the conclusion of the African National Congress-inspired Soweto uprisings of 1976. A staunch opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa, Archbishop Tutu used his new position to call for strict international trade embargoes against the nation’s government. After the Archbishop urged for a foreign boycott of South African coal, the government seized his passport in 1980. Despite the South African leadership’s efforts to detain him, the Archbishop was successful in winning many key allies to his cause. In 1984 he was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent campaign to place pressure on the government though economic sanctions. Even in his Nobel lecture, the Archbishop continued to press for equality and justice in his homeland, exclaiming, “Let us work to be peacemakers, those given a wonderful share in Our Lord’s ministry of reconciliation. If we want peace, so we have been told, let us work for justice. Let us beat our swords into ploughshares.” The Archbishop used the funds from his Nobel Prize to establish the Southern African Refugee Scholarship Fund, which enables underprivileged students to obtain an excellent college education. Desmond Tutu’s name made headlines again in 1986 when he was elected the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and became the leader of the entire Anglican Church of South Africa. After his retirement in 1995, South African President Nelson Mandela appointed Archbishop Tutu to head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a council charged with revealing and investigating the shocking secrets of the apartheid regime’s rule. Mandela later commented that “Sometimes strident, often tender, never afraid, and seldom without humor, Desmond Tutu’s voice will always be the voice of the voiceless.” At the conclusion of the commission’s investigations, the Archbishop assumed the post of Chancellor at the University of the Western Cape and traveled extensively around the world, spreading his message of justice and nonviolence. Recently, he taught as a Visiting Professor at the Chandler School of Theology at Emory University. Archbishop Tutu’s visit to campus is jointly sponsored by the Louise & Bernard G. Paliz Fund and the Kemper Fund, both of which provide generous support to bring celebrated scholars and artists to Andover Hill.
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