ARCHBISHOP Desmond Tutu was awarded the Templeton Prize on
Thursday for "advancing spiritual principles such as love and
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
"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
"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
The Templeton Prize was awarded last year to the Dalai Lama (
News, 30 March 2012,
18 May 2012).