Tutu Speaks

The Nobel Laureate deemed too offensive by the University of St. Thomas offers his thoughts in an exclusive interview

CP: Switching gears a little bit: Your appearance at Metro State is in conjunction with Peace Jam, which centers very much on youth activism. What's your take on today's youth?

Tutu: There's this idea that young people are less politically engaged than in generations past. The ones that I have met have always impressed me as being as idealistic as youth have ever been. The first four months of this year I was traveling on Semester at Sea with 700 or so college students, most of them from the United States. They are just exhilarating and they fill you with a great deal of pride and joy at how they care. They care about poverty, they care about war. Yes, there are those of them who are maybe indifferent. But those are the exceptions.

My own take is that young people are as idealistic as they ever were. I mean, look at things like Make Poverty History: It's mainly young people who are involved with that. And I've just come away from visiting Darfur, and many of those who are working in the humanitarian organizations—which must be commended to the skies, I mean they are doing incredible work—they are relatively young people who could be making a decent living in more safe, more salubrious circumstances, and they don't. They work in places that are dangerous and places where you would have thought young people would not want to go. I take my hat off to them. I salute them and think they are some of the best collaborates God could ever have wished for. Okay, I've got to go now!

University of St. Thomas administrators balked at inviting Desmond Tutu to speak amid concerns that his outspoken criticism of Israel might offend local Jews
Dani Cardona / Reuters
University of St. Thomas administrators balked at inviting Desmond Tutu to speak amid concerns that his outspoken criticism of Israel might offend local Jews

CP: All right, well thank you so much for taking the time and good luck with everything you're doing.

Tutu: God bless you. Well, you are young, too, you see, and you're concerned about all of these things, so you are one of the proofs that I can bring forward to point up my case.

CP: Well, that's a huge honor and I really appreciate that and thanks so much again.

Tutu: God bless you. Bye.

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