Naomi Tutu to address women’s role in resolving world conflict and achieving peace Sept. 23 at Vanderbilt University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ Naomi Tutu, daughter of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will deliver a lecture titled "Women and Leadership in the New Millennium: Privilege and Peace" Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Vanderbilt University.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. at the Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life and is the first of several keynote events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt University ñ a center dedicated to advancing equity at Vanderbilt, and in the larger community, through advocacy, education and empowerment.

Tutu’s lecture is a call for women to add their perspective toward a new way to achieve peace in the world and in their daily lives. Her talk will also address the need for a move away from conflict-driven leadership as a means of uniting social groups and nations to a new model of leadership that integrates the values and experiences of all men and women.

"Naomi Tutu has such keen insight and an honest way of looking at difficult issues. She is a model for women aspiring to or in leadership positions, and for all people to look at new ways of resolving conflict," Jennifer Hackett, associate director of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, said.

Over the years, Tutu has been a frequent speaker in this country about conflict and struggle, making connections between events in her native South Africa ñ a young democracy still facing the challenges of centuries of racial oppression ñ and other parts of the world.

She founded and was chairperson of the Tutu Foundation, which from 1985 to 1990, helped South African refugees in African countries. The foundation provided refugees with scholarships with which they could learn skills to support themselves while in exile as well as prepare them for constructive roles in the free South Africa.

Refugees could also get assistance with basic needs such as tents and medicines from the foundation, as well as grant money to start businesses.

"Tutu speaks from her vast experience in working with several prominent organizations, both in this country and abroad. When speaking out, she fills a void in political as well as academic arenas," Hackett said.

Tutu served on the Archbishop Tutu Southern African Scholarship Fund, which has brought South Africans and Namibians to the United States to further their educations. She also did consulting work in South Africa looking into educational and professional opportunities for black women.

Her academic experience includes teaching courses on development issues and education in Africa at the Universities of Hartford and Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina. She also worked as a program coordinator at the University of Cape Town’s African Gender Institute where she was in charge of programs on race and gender and gender-based violence in education.

Currently, she is associate director of the Office of International Relations and Programs at Tennessee State University. Previously, she was program coordinator for the Race Relations Institute at Fisk University.

Tutu’s speech is sponsored by Vanderbilt’s Women’s Studies Program and the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt University.

For more information, call 615-322-4843.

Media Contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-NEWS

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