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Tutu fought apartheid, preaches peace

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu will participate in PeaceJam’s 10th anniversary celebration Sept. 15–17 at the University of Denver. The PeaceJam gathering of 10 peace prize winners will be the largest congregation of Nobel laureates in the U.S.

Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his leadership in efforts to find a nonviolent solution to the South African policy of apartheid, or segregation. From 1948–94, descendants of white European settlers in South Africa established a rigid policy of segregation, separating the majority of the black Africans from whites. For more than 50 years, opposition to the apartheid system by the black majority was suppressed by imprisonments, relocation camps and executions. 

By 1975, Tutu had risen up through the ecclesiastical ranks of the Anglican Church until he was appointed dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the first black to hold that position, he became internationally visible as an anti-apartheid spokesperson. 

While his country was torn with violent clashes between the white ruling class and the black citizens, Tutu called for black South Africans to resist nonviolently. He also attracted worldwide attention by calling for economic sanctions against the white-only regime. 

Tutu established the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, from which leadership programs for high school students and women have emerged. Participants in these programs learn the skills to become leaders in non-violent efforts to address complex world challenges.

The upcoming PeaceJam event is part of an ongoing educational project built around Nobel Peace laureates in hopes of inspiring a new generation of peacemakers to transform their local communities, themselves and the world challenges.

Some 3,000 high school students from around the world will participate in PeaceJam. Organizers say the students will learn, through team-building games and classroom sessions with the Nobel laureates, how to make a difference in themselves and their communities. They will explore and discuss views on various topics such as violence, racism and reconciliation. Youth will also benefit from the Nobel laureates’ experience in designing community service projects.

Approximately 150 DU students will take part in PeaceJam by facilitating small groups of high school participants.

Tutu and the other laureates taking part in PeaceJam will launch the PeaceJam Foundation’s kick off concert Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Magness Arena. Performers will include the Flobots, the Go, the Hot IQ’s, Freak Street Project and Beth Neilson Chapman. 
The following day, the Nobel laureates will speak to the public at 4 p.m. on Sept. 16, at Magness Arena. Tickets to these events are $25–$100 and are available through TicketMaster outlets or by calling 303-830-TIXS. For more information about PeaceJam, call 303-455-2099.

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