Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is one of the greatest living moral icons of our time.

He was a key player in the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and in 1984 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

From his work against apartheid in South Africa, to his championing of democracy, freedom and human rights – including for those still living under the scourge of racism, xenophobia and homophobia – Archbishop Tutu has served as the vocal conscience of a generation.

When Archbishop Tutu retired in 1996, Nelson Mandela told those at a dinner to honour him:

His joy in our diversity and his spirit of forgiveness are as much part of his immeasurable contribution to our nation as his passion for justice and his solidarity with the poor.

In 2007 Archbishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel convened The Elders, a group of world leaders who contribute their integrity and leadership in dealing with some of the world's most pressing problems. Archbishop Tutu is now an Honorary Elder, having served as chairman for six years, and continues to work energetically in a number of areas of human rights.

Archbishop Tutu was involved in the work which led to International Alert’s founding in 1986 and was the first Vice-Chairman of our Board of Trustees. On his role as our patron he says:

I am delighted and honoured to become a patron of International Alert. They have been a force for peace for many years and the time has come for people to recognise the results of their quiet work of peacebuilding – the lives that International Alert gives back to so many communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East who have suffered from violent conflict and the lives that have been protected as violent conflict has been prevented.