EMU to Participate in Desmond Tutu Recognition

The Most Rev. Desmond Tutu, recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, will visit James Madison University to receive the JMU Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence’s top honor, the Mahatma Gandhi Global Nonviolence Award.

Rev Tutu
Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Africa, and a 1984 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work in ending apartheid, Tutu will receive the JMU Mahatma Ghandi Center for Global Nonviolence’s top honor.

The award will be presented during a public program 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, 2007, the “International Day of Peace,” at the JMU Convocation Center. Archbishop Tutu’s award presentation is entitled, “Goodness is Powerful.”

EMU representatives are honored to be among the invited guests for the evening, and the entire EMU community is encouraged to attend the public event.

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber with his wife, Pat, and Lynn Roth of EMU’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and wife Kathleen will represent EMU as guests of JMU President Linwood Rose and Gandhi Center Director Sushil Mittal for the banquet preceding the convocation. Swartzendruber will provide a special blessing for the meal.

The Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir, part of EMU’s music department, was honored to be invited to sing at the ceremony honoring Archbishop Tutu. They will sing the South African medley, “Freedom is Coming/Siyahamba” and “Abide With Me,” arranged by Celah Pence, EMU alumna.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The name Desmond Tutu resonates profoundly with people all around the world.

Dr. Myron S. Augsburger, EMU president emeritus and member of the board of trustees of the Gandhi Center, will offer a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing on Archbishop Tutu at the close of the award ceremony. “Rev. Tutu’s influential endorsement of the Gandhi Center and its activities has been a major contributing factor to its development and success,” said Dr. Augsburger.

Archbishop Tutu will receive the Gandhi Award “for his contributions to peace, encouragement of a nonviolent approach to human relations and world affairs, and efforts to promote reconciliation and forgiveness among people,” said Professor Sushil Mittal, director of the Gandhi Center.

The name Desmond Tutu resonates profoundly with people all around the world. While his vigorous anti-apartheid activism in his native South Africa first propelled him into the glare of international news media, today he is revered as a “moral voice” and someone who speaks with gravitas on a range of issues. While he is an Anglican Archbishop emeritus and steadfast in his religious beliefs, Tutu places great value on religious inclusiveness and interfaith dialog.

Desmond Tutu joined the International Advisory Board of JMU Mahatma Gandhi Center for Global Nonviolence in 2005.

Admission is free and open to all. Seating capacity is 6,000 on a first come, first seated basis. Convocation doors open at 5 p.m. It is recommended that persons arrive early. Once the program has begun, there is no late admittance.