Apr 4, 2013
Desmond Tutu, the Anglican cleric and former archbishop of Cape Town who is known for his activism against apartheid in South Africa, is the 2013 Templeton Prize winner. He was awarded the prize for his “lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which has helped to liberate people around the world,” the Templeton Foundation said in a statement.
This is the second year in a row that the prize has gone to a big-name spiritual leader—last year it was awarded to the Dalai Lama—rather than a scientist who addresses questions or issues related to the intersection of science and religion, as had become the norm in recent years (though the Dalai Lama was honored for promoting collaborations between Buddhism and science). In prepared video remarks, Tutu said he was “totally bowled over” by winning the prize.
Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and was later appointed chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated human rights abuses under apartheid. Working with groups like The Elders, he continues to draw attention to injustice, advocate for peace and human rights, and emphasize human connectedness and interdependence.
The Templeton Prize, valued at about 1.7 million dollars, honors someone who has made “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” It will be officially presented to Tutu at a public ceremony at Guildhall in London on May 21.