Bishop Tutu chaired South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is a tireless defender of human rights and has campaigned for the oppressed and marginalized worldwide. In 1984, he became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has asked the Dalai Lama to hold a public dialogue with him via video link-up on Saturday.
Dumisa Ntsebeza, the CEO of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, said Tutu had written to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader and was waiting for a response.
“A lot depends on his preparedness to accept what would be a second-best method of communicating,” he said.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed, but the Dalai Lama has not yet denied any request from the archbishop.”
Tutu was proposing that the dialogue be moderated by Mabel van Oranje, the CEO of The Elders, an international organisation of noted elder statesmen, peace activists and human rights advocates.
Tutu chairs the group.
The dialogue would replace the inaugural peace lecture the Dalai Lama had been scheduled to deliver at the University of the Western Cape, as part of Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations.
The Dalai Lama announced from India on Tuesday that he had cancelled his trip to South Africa after the government dithered for five weeks about granting him a visa.
This prompted a scathing attack by Tutu on the government.
“We will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government. We will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us,” Tutu shouted at a news briefing in Cape Town.
Van Oranje recently moderated a conversation between Tutu, and Burmese pro-democracy leader and fellow Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. – Sapa