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Tutu wins £1.1m Templeton Prize

05 April 2013

TEMPLETON PRIZE/MICHAEL CULME SEYMOUR

ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu was awarded the Templeton Prize on Thursday for "advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness".

The award, which is now worth £1.1 million, was established 40 years ago by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, to reward a person "who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works".

Dr Tutu will receive the prize at a ceremony at the Guildhall in London on 21 May. A celebration will be held next Thursday at St George's Cathedral, Capetown.

A statement issued by the John Templeton Foundation said that Dr Tutu had been awarded the prize "for his life-long work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which has helped to liberate people around the world".

It cited his "stalwart - and successful - opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime", and his chairing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he employed "a revolutionary and relentless policy of confession, forgiveness, and resolution that helped shepherd his nation from institutionalised racial repression toward an egalitarian democracy".

It continued: "His deep faith and commitment to prayer and worship provides the foundation for his message of love and forgiveness. He has created that message through extensive contemplation of such profound 'Big Questions' as 'Do we live in a moral universe?' and 'What is humanity's duty to reflect and live God's purposes?'

"Such inquiries reflect the deep interests of the late Sir John Templeton, founder of the Templeton Prize, in fostering and recognizing spiritual progress, the purpose of the award since it was first given in 1973 to Mother Teresa."

The Archbishop of Capetown, Dr Thabo Makgoba, described Dr Tutu as "one of the spiritual giants of our times. . . The greatest lesson we should learn from him is that his life is steeped in prayer, and these deep wells resource allthat he does, giving him a particular gift for expressing profound truths with great simplicity.

"During our darkest, bleakest, hours, he was able to see the bigger picture . . . and so he gave us a vision of hope for abundant life for everyone, transformed through God's promises. It is a vision with which he continues to challenge the whole world today. We need to hear that challenge, and I hope this prize will encourage him to keep on raising his voice where it needs to be heard."

The Templeton Prize was awarded last year to the Dalai Lama ( News, 30 March 2012, 18 May 2012).

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