Friday, February 26, 2010

Naomi Tutu to Speak at Ferris as part of Ferris’ Women’s History Month

BIG RAPIDS – Inspired by her upbringing, as a black female growing up in apartheid South Africa, Nontombi Naomi Tutu has evolved into an international activist for human rights.

The daughter of Desmond Tutu, a legendary South African activist in the fight against apartheid and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, Naomi has followed in her father’s footsteps as a champion for human rights. As part of Ferris State University’s 2010 Women’s History Month activities, the campus will host Tutu as a featured speaker to talk about her experiences growing up as a black female in apartheid South Africa. Tutu’s presentation is titled, “South Africa: Healing the Wounds of Racism.”

The one-hour event, free and open to the public, is scheduled for March 2 at 11 a.m. in Williams Auditorium.

“It is our hope that FSU students are informed of the issue of apartheid, and Naomi Tutu's life's work,” said Michael Wade, assistant director of Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services, one of several campus offices working collaboratively to sponsor the visit. “We hope Naomi Tutu’s presentation will provide insight for our students through her experiences from growing up during apartheid in South Africa.”

University officials are hopeful that having an international speaker of Tutu’s notoriety visit Ferris will inspire students to think beyond the campus, state and nation.

“The International Center is excited that Naomi Tutu’s visit to Ferris will add extra exposure to the issue of racism in the context of South Africa,” said Janel Lockwood, an international student advisor at Ferris. “We in the U.S. often forget that racism is not only an issue in the U.S., but all around the world.

“The International Center staff hopes that her visit will encourage students to think globally, to become interested in studying abroad, to meet international people and to consider different cultural perspectives,” Lockwood added.

Tutu holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and French from Kentucky-based Berea College and a master’s in international economic development from the University of Kentucky, and has taught at the universities of Connecticut and Hartford and at Brevard College. She has been a public speaker since her college days, in the 1970s, and frequently speaks at colleges and universities around the nation.

In addition to OMSS, Tutu’s visit is sponsored by the Globalization Initiative, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the International Student Center, and through funds made available from a Diversity and Inclusion Office Student Diversity Grant.

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