Tutu wins Templeton Prize in religion

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu

April 15, 2013

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu was named the 2013 Templeton Prize winner for his work in advancing the ideals of love and understanding in his native South Africa and around the world.

In announcing the award April 4, the John Templeton Foundation said the retired archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, “combines the theological concept that all human beings are shaped in the image of God, known in Latin as ‘imago Dei,’ with the traditional African belief of ‘Ubuntu,’ which holds that only through others do people achieve humanity.”

The prize, which includes an award of about $1.7 million, will be presented to Archbishop Tutu in London May 21.

“By embracing such universal concepts of the image of God within each person, Desmond Tutu also demonstrates how the innate humanity within each of us is intrinsically tied to the humanity between all peoples,” John Templeton, foundation president and chairman, said in a video statement.

Tutu, 81, rose to prominence during the 1970s for his vocal opposition to the apartheid policies of the South African regime which institutionalized racism.

After apartheid ended, Tutu chaired the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that guided a path toward democratic rule.

The archbishop was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, South Africa. He began to see an alternative to institutionalized racism as a young boy when a white priest tipped his hat to his mother, indicating that religion could play a role in social change.