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Archbishop Tutu among award recipients at UWI's Toronto Gala

HONOURS: Archbishop Desmond Tutu will receive an award at the gala

THE UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (UWI) has named the leaders of Caribbean and Canadian heritage who will be honoured at the eighth annual Toronto Benefit Gala, taking place on Saturday 1 April at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto. The event will be hosted by CBC News Anchor Dwight Drummond.

The UWI Toronto Benefit Gala brings together Canada’s business and academic communities to celebrate the greatness and tireless work of the honourees, making it a much-anticipated event on the Toronto social calendar. Former honourees include Tessanne Chin, Sir Jimmy Cliff, Lennox Lewis and the Honourable Harry Belafonte.

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, will receive the Luminary Award which is given to people of Caribbean heritage who are outstanding achievers on an international scale in their respective fields or people who have brought prominence to the Caribbean and the issues affecting the region.

Archbishop Tutu has displayed an unflinching passion for activism against apartheid since the early 1970s, as the first black archbishop of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and as chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. He has also used his high-profile position to campaign globally against poverty, HIV, AIDS, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and land rights.

RECOGNITION: Former honouree Sir Jimmy Cliff

April will be the second time UWI is recognising the Archbishop for his accomplishments. He received an honorary degree from the university in 1986. Other prestigious acknowledgements he has received include the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Gandhi Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He will be represented at the UWI Toronto gala by his daughter, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth.

Among other award recipients will be Canadian Senator Murray Sinclair, who served as the Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and will be acknowledged for his work in documenting the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system that affected the lives of more than 6000 indigenous women and men of First Nations, Inuit and Métis backgrounds. Sinclair will receive the G. Raymond Chang Award, established to honour outstanding individuals who exemplify the leadership and ideals of G. Raymond Chang. Mr. Chang was a recognised outstanding business leader and philanthropist who embodied great humility and commitment to his fellow persons. Chang, who passed away in July 2014, was the UWI gala’s patron for five years.

VETERAN: Lennox Lewis is a friend to the gala

Various organisations as well as individuals will also be recognised for their commitment to communities.

The Chancellor’s Award will be presented to GraceKennedy. Established in 1922 by Dr. John Grace and Mr. Fred William Kennedy, in Kingston, Jamaica, it is one of the Caribbean’s largest group of companies that began as a general mercantile, shipping and insurance business. GraceKennedy has also contributed to Jamaica’s development through the years through its two foundations, generously providing financial assistance to a host of worthy causes.

Alongside the celebration of those who have paved the way in their respective fields, future leaders will benefit from the gala. Under the theme 'Light, Learning and Liberty', the event will provide funds for university scholarships in addition to the 250 scholarships that it has already been awarded.

For more information on the sold-out, follow the gala on social media:

Twitter: @uwitorontogala

Facebook: UWIBenefitGalaToronto

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