KPU to host Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will speak in Bender Arena on March 18 as part of the 35th anniversary of the Kennedy Political Union, AU's student-run speaker series, said Eric Morley, KPU director.

"I am excited we have another international figure, another world leader coming to speak," Morley said. KPU brought former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev to campus last October.

Tutu is coming to campus after being signed through the American Program Bureau, which was officially announced Friday. The event will be co-sponsored by the Office of the University President.

"[The President's Office] really helped us out with this," Morley said. "By and large, the president will be our main co-sponsor."

Tutu, a human rights activist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, currently serves as Archbishop Emeritus in the Anglican Church, the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and chancellor of the University of Western Cape, according to the American Program Bureau. Originally a teacher, Tutu entered into the priesthood in 1961 and received a Bachelor of Divinity Honors and Master of Theology degree while studying in London.

After serving in various positions, including dean of St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg and bishop of Lesotho, Tutu was given the position of general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in 1978. Tutu gained international attention in this position, according to a biography by the bureau.

In 1984, Tutu received the peace prize for his work for racial justice in South Africa. He then rose to be the archbishop of Cape Town after serving as bishop of Johannesburg. He retired from that position in June 1996 and was named Archbishop Emeritus the following month.

Morley expects a large crowd to fill Bender for the event, but nothing compared to the size of the Gorbachev crowd.

"We are not predicting Gorbachev-esque turnout," Morley said. "Two to three thousand is what we are shooting for."

KPU will celebrate its 35th anniversary with Tutu's speech; and the event will launch a new alumni outreach effort, Morley said. An alumni advisory board will be organized of former KPU directors, Morley said, "to get them to reconnect with the University [and] reconnect with KPU."

Following Tutu, KPU will present a prominent female speaker on March 23, according to Deputy Director Nick Thorpe. Thorpe could not release the woman's name since the contract is not yet complete for the event. The event will be co-sponsored by "four or five" campus organizations, Thorpe said. These groups currently include the College Democrats, Student Advocacy Center and Women and Politics Institute. The Residence Hall Association and Student Confederation Information Technology department may also help with the event.

"We made a real effort to involve other groups on campus in this KPU event," Thorpe said.

This is the first event that Thorpe has been the lead contact for in KPU, he said of the woman speaker.

"I've been in office since the summer before my freshman year," Thorpe said. "This has been the first time that [Morley], or any other director, has put [the responsibility] in my hands"

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