Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure and deep honor to be with you for the 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture.
It is the first of these lectures since the passing of our beloved Archbishop, who served throughout his life as a towering global figure for peace and an unwavering voice for the voiceless.
We continue to mourn his loss, yet celebrate his legacy, which has never been more relevant in our world of great pain.
Our world, our Global Village, is in deep crisis. We are today in desperate need of hope and healing. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu stood above all for courageous hope and healing based on principles rooted in pragmatism.
Hope, the Archbishop famously said, “is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. You see it wonderfully when you fly and the sky is overcast. Sometimes you forget that just beyond the clouds the sun is shining.”
As a proud African man, the Archbishop leveraged his position in international bodies, from the World Council of Churches to the All Africa Conference of Churches and, later, the Elders, to promote positive change and share his wisdom, not only in his own country and continent, but around the world.
Our world is in crisis
Our world is in crisis, with Africa left behind yet again. Nearly three years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, nations across the world, particularly African countries, face a multitude of cascading and compounding crises.
More people are poor. More people are hungry. More people are being denied health care and education. Gender equality is becoming dangerously out of reason. Gender-based violence, conflict and humanitarian crises are spreading like a virus. The climate crisis is gathering pace, crossing all borders. And social cohesion is fraying, with inequalities increasing and xenophobia, nationalism, hate speech and radicalisation on the rise. Yet, it does not have to be this way.
Our incredible world, starting with this beautiful continent, has abundant riches: immense diversity in our people and cultures, our languages, our food, and most of all, our innovations and ideas. Our planet is packed with the resources we need to thrive: plentiful food and water, and boundless renewable energy. These unique, irreplaceable resources must be treasured, protected and handed down from generation to generation. We have never been so connected by technologies, better educated, living longer and [encountering] women leadership. Our world is more inclusive, sustainable, and hopeful.