|Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture|
When Archbishop Tutu received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, WCRP-SA (of which he is a founder member and patron) decided to honour him by instituting an annual lecture bearing his name. He graciously accepted this suggestion and has continued to give hearty support to this venture.
Archbishop Tutu has repeatedly stated that people of religion are under obligation never to remain silent in the face of injustice, oppression, suffering and poverty. We therefore find it appropriate that an interfaith organisation like ours should promote and host the Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture.
The actual purpose of this lecture is two-fold. First, to acknowledge the contribution of all those who have supported the struggle for liberation in South Africa through peaceful means, and secondly to promote understanding and co-operation in a multi-faith democratic South Africa, emphasising that all the religious traditions represented in South Africa subscribe to liberation, justice, peace and harmony.
Since its institution, the lecture has been delivered by prominent religious leaders from different traditions, these include, His Holiness The Dalai Lama; Dr Emilio Castro; Ms Ela Gandhi; Dr Franz Auerbach; and Prof. Ali Mazrui. In 1994 in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the lecture, Desmond Tutu delivered the lecture and President Nelson R Mandela provided the response.
The inaugural Peace Lecture was scheduled to be held in Soweto, Gauteng Province, September 14th, 1985. Archbishop Desmond Tutu was to have spoken on the subject, "The Religious Understanding of Peace". The Lecture however was placed under a Banning Order by the then Apartheid Regime and did not take place. Against the background of State violence, Archbishop Tutu described his vision and dream for the future,
"The wonderful day will dawn when Black and White will walk tall into the future, the glorious future when we will have a new South Africa where all will count, Black and white together, not because of a biological irrelevance, the colour of our skin, but because all Blacks and Whites together are of infinite value because they are created in the image of God. In that day Black and White will work together for a new society, totally non-racial, with democracy and justice. Freedom, justice and peace are indivisible."
Later published, the lecture has an appended response by the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Cyril Harris. It is therefore most apposite that this year we are honoured that the Chief Rabbi Harris has kindly agreed to address us on the subject "The Religious Role in Reconstruction".
An ardent opponent of the policy of apartheid, and the iniquities of racial discrimination, the Chief Rabbi has played an important role in the reconstruction and transformation of a new South Africa. He has also been a prominent proponent for the need of white South Africans to remain and participate in the challenges that all South Africans face.
A Scot by birth, Rabbi Harris was born and initially schooled in Glasgow in 1936, later attending the University of London where he obtained a B.A. (Hons) degree in Hebrew and Aramaic. He was later awarded the M.Phil degree in Talmudic and Hebrew Medieval Languages and Literature. Receiving both the Minister's Diploma and Rabbinical Diploma at Jews' College London Rabbi Harris served three of the largest Synagogues in London, Kenton (1958-71); Edgware (1975-79) and St John's Wood (1979-87). In 1988 he was appointed the Chief Rabbi of the Union of Orthodox Synagogues of South Africa, and presides on a number of important Rabbinical and Jewish Boards. Amongst his many other responsibilities Rabbi Harris is a trustee of the Job Creation Trust and the Cape Town Holocaust Centre. He is married to Ann and has two sons and three granddaughters, their son Michael serving as a Rabbi in London. Rabbi Harris is a fanatical follower of the great game (Cricket, not Rugby!!), and is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club, London. By his own admission, he plays a fairly good game of chess and a rather poor game of golf!
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© WCRP-SA 2009
|Officials & Executive|
|Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture|
|WCRP HIVAN Forum|
|Ukuthula Peace Challenge|
|How to Donate|
|Paddy Meskin: President WCRP-SA|
|Saydoon Sayed: Co-ordinator WCRP-SA|
|Tel: +27-31 3735404|
|ML Sultan Campus, Durban University of Technology, ML Sultan Road, Durban 4001|
|© WCRP South Africa 2009|
|WCRP South Africa is part of the
African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL)
Religions for Peace (WCRP)