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Three things you need to do to get a Nobel Peace Prize

Today, Archbishop Desmond Tutu turns 82. Since his rise to worldwide prominence in the 1980s as an opponent to South African apartheid – and eventual Chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Tutu has brought humor, grace and a moral centering to the global community. From July 2007 to May 2013 he served as the chair of the Elders.

In 1984, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role as “a unifying leader figure in the campaign to resolve the problems of apartheid in South Africa.” During his Nobel lecture, Tutu shared his philosophy for peace and fellowship.

There is no peace because there is no justice. There can be no real peace and security until there be first justice enjoyed by all the inhabitants of that beautiful land. The Bible knows nothing about peace without justice, for that would be crying “peace, peace, where there is no peace”. God’s Shalom, peace, involves inevitably righteousness, justice, wholeness, fullness of life, participation in decision-making, goodness, laughter, joy, compassion, sharing and reconciliation.

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When will we learn, when will the people of the world get up and say, Enough is enough. God created us for fellowship. God created us so that we should form the human family, existing together because we were made for one another. We are not made for an exclusive self-sufficiency but for interdependence, and we break the law of our being at our peril.

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When will we learn that human beings are of infinite value because they have been created in the image of God, and that it is a blasphemy to treat them as if they were less than this and to do so ultimately recoils on those who do this? In dehumanizing others, they are themselves dehumanized. Perhaps oppression dehumanizes the oppressor as much as, if not more than, the oppressed. They need each other to become truly free, to become human. We can be human only in fellowship, in community, in koinonia, in peace.

More from a 2010 conversation at Google Zeitgeist:

  • Advice for Nelson Mandela (Africa: Be true to yourself. Recover the best that is in you.)
  • Why a culture which has produced the only country to use a weapon of mass destruction, the country that produced the Holocaust, communal fighting within the same religion, military dictatorships brings him great hope for Africa
  • On Africa’s lost history
  • Why Tanzanians are the proudest Africans
  • The traditional African political system + kingship
  • God’s message to man from the beginning
  • A question: Do you want that life to be hell, or do you want that life to be exhilarating?
  • What President Obama needs to do to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize