Happy Birthday Desmond Tutu!

Few people have inspired me more than Desmond Tutu. He has dedicated his life to bringing peace and justice to South Africa and the world. He is a living example of what we can all accomplish if we focus on making the world a better place in which to live each and every day.

According to his website:

Archbishop Tutu became heavily embroiled in controversy as he spoke out against the injustices of the apartheid system. He became a prominent leader in the crusade for justice and racial conciliation in South Africa. In 1984 he received a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to that cause. In 1986 Bishop Tutu was elevated to Archbishop of Cape Town, and in this capacity he did much to bridge the chasm between black and white Anglicans in South Africa. And as Archbishop, Tutu became a principal mediator and conciliator in the transition to democracy in South Africa.

Find out more about Desmond Tutu after the jump…

In 1995 President Nelson Mandela appointed the Archbishop Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body set up to probe gross human rights violations that occurred under apartheid. In recent years Tutu has turned his attention to a different cause: the campaign against HIV/AIDS. The Archbishop has made appearances around the globe to help raise awareness of the disease and its tragic consequences in human lives and suffering.

Tutu continues to speak out on moral and political issues affecting South Africa and other countries. He has criticised the government and the ruling party when he felt that it had fallen short of the democratic ideals which many people fought for. He has repeatedly appealed for peace in Zimbabwe and compared the actions of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s government to those of the South African apartheid regime. He is also a supporter of the Palestinian cause, and the people of East Timor.

He is an outspoken critic of the mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and has spoken out against human rights abuses in Burma, calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the house-arrested leader of Burma’s opposition and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner. Though his vigorous advocacy of social justice once rendered him a controversial figure, today Archbishop Tutu is regarded as an elder world statesman with a major role to play in reconciliation, and as a leading moral voice.

He has become an icon of hope far beyond the Church and Southern Africa. Tutu is chairman of the Elders, an independent group of influential people chosen for their outstanding integrity, courage and proven ability to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems. The Elders because of their varied backgrounds use their collective skills to catalyse peaceful resolutions to conflict areas and address global issues that cause immense human suffering.

Tutu officially retired from public life on the 7th of October 2010. However, he continues with his involvement with the Elders and his support of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre.

Happy Birthday Desmond Tutu. We love you!

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