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Campus News / News

Race and Gender South African Activist Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu to Speak at Rockford University for International Day of Peace

09/20/2023 3:27 pm


Sept. 18, 2023

Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Speaker, race and gender activist, educator, and Episcopal priest Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu will visit Rockford University Thursday, Sept. 21, in celebration of the International Day of Peace. 

The university will take part in honoring the annual global observation of the United Nations to call for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and build a culture of peace. Rev. Tutu’s visit is also part of the Rockford University Forum Series.

Her forum “Striving for Justice: Searching for Common Ground,” will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Maddox Theatre in the Clark Arts Center, 5050 E. State St. in Rockford.

Rev. Tutu’s lecture will be followed at 5:30 p.m. by a community event in Regent’s Hall, Burpee Center, to celebrate the Declarations and Interdependence– Rockford Series and commemorate International Day of Peace.


About Rev. Tutu

Rev. Tutu is the third child of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu. She was born in South Africa, but lived in many communities and countries growing up. Educated in Swaziland, the U.S., and England, she has divided her adult life between the US and South Africa. 

She started speaking out publicly as a college student at Berea College in Kentucky in the 1970s when she was invited to speak at churches, community groups, colleges, and universities about her experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa.

After years spent as a development consultant, educator, and race and gender activist, she accepted her call to the ordained ministry in her 50s. Today, her consulting business is based on learning from and celebrating our differences—experience gained from her work with truth and reconciliation programs around the world.

More on Rev. Tutu can be found on her website


Forum Series

The Rockford University Forum Series presents speakers in a variety of disciplines who have achieved success both nationally and locally, and performers of stature in the arts. The Forum Series’ central programming focus is geared toward students, while also seeking to connect campus to the local community. Lectures and performances are concerned with intellectual, social, and cultural matters of general interest to deepen and broaden students’ education at Rockford University and enhance the rich culture of Rockford.

Forum Series presenters and events cover a broad spectrum of scope and genre. Events have included the Tibetan lamas from Drepung Loseling Monastery and their creation of a mandala—a sacred sand painting; Holocaust survivor Zev Kedem, the compelling speaker who worked with Steven Spielberg on the movie Schindler’s List; Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on a Central American Peace Plan; quadriplegic Olympic bronze medal rugby player Mark Zupan; film documentarian Barbara Martinez Jitner, who produced “La Frontera;” Davar Ardalan, author of “My Name is Iran;” and traditional University events like the President’s Opening Convocation, Charter Day Convocation, and theater productions.


Local media is invited to the Rockford University campus at 1:45 p.m. at Fisher Chapel where Rev. Tutu will be having an open session with RU students from 2 to 3:15 p.m. 

To RSVP, please contact the Communications Department at by Thursday, September 21 at 1 p.m.


Sara Myers

RU Marketing & Communications