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Young people praised by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

ENCOURAGEMENT: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

PRAISING YOUNG people and highlighting their good work is the way to build good community relations and bring young people together, said veteran peace campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Speaking at the Conversation for Change public debate in Fairfield Concert Halls in Croydon, Surrey on Wednesday evening (October 23), the anti-apartheid campaigner said young people are not being commended enough for the charitable work they do.

But rather, they are often the subject of negative press.

“One young person goes off the rails (it makes a) front page story," declared the Nobel Peace Prize winner. “Let's hear about the positive things young people are doing."

Archbishop Tutu said that throughout his travels around the world as a global activist promoting the message of peace and unity, he has come across many young people, both rich and poor, who make invaluable contributions to their communities in many different ways.

“For goodness sake, why don't you tell us more about these young people who do these types of things?" he asked.

The 80-year-old South African campaigner and his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu were well received by the audience who packed the venue in Surrey.
Around 600 people from all over the UK came out to ask the Archbishop questions about how best to resolve tensions and divisions in the UK.

He told the audience, made up of schoolchildren, families, supporters and members of the local community, that he wants to “remind each one of us that we are special.”

However, Archbishop warned: “Whatever we do to others you may not yourself be aware for a very long time, but it has repercussions."

There were several inspiring presentations by local school children including choir singing, an orchestra performance, and a dance featuring girls and boys from different cultural backgrounds.

Reverend Mpho Tutu offered advice about how a neighbourly spirit can be built in communities where this is lacking.

“Breaking down barriers can be a small smile. It can be as simple as an offer of assistance. It can be as easy as saying hello, and you see where the conversation goes from there."

She told The Voice she hopes the model used in South Africa to promote peace could be used as effectively in the UK.

Conversation for Change was organised by the Tutu Foundation UK.
The Foundation aims to build peace in fractured communities, using a model inspired by Tutu’s international peace and reconciliation work.

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