Nontombi Naomi Tutu to Present 2013 Notre Dame College Abrahamic Center Distinguished Lecture

Notre Dame College's Abrahamic Center is proud to present Nontombi Naomi Tutu as its 2013 distinguished lecturer. Tutu, an activist for human rights and an advocate for tolerance and inclusion among all people, will speak in the College’s Regina Auditorium on "Striving for Justice: Seeking Common Ground," at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The inspiration for Ms. Tutu’s presentation came from her participation in a Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minnesota in the late 1980s. "Striving for Justice: Seeking Common Ground"was the theme of the symposium that brought together people from areas of the world that were in the midst of, or just coming out of conflict.  Her participation in this event confirmed for Ms. Tutu the absolute necessity for us to start our quest for a just world with the things that unite us as human beings. 

In this presentation, Ms. Tutu uses examples from her own life as well as the political and social arenas from around the world. Key to this work and presentation is the importance of not using our pursuit of common ground to make us attempt to impose uniformity on our experiences. Seeking Common Ground does not mean trying to pretend we are all exactly alike; rather it is about seeing how the different experiences, gifts, challenges and talents we all bring to the table can the basis of a true appreciation of our shared humanity.

Notre Dame’s Abrahamic Center develops educational programs for the College and the Greater Cleveland community fostering mutual respect among all peoples, and celebrating religious, racial and cultural diversity.



The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa have led Nontombi Naomi Tutu to her present role as an activist for human rights. Those experiences taught her how much we all lose when any of us is judged purely on physical attributes. In her speeches, she blends the passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories.

Ms. Tutu is the third child of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu. She was born in South Africa and also has lived in Lesotho, the United Kingdom and the United States. She was educated in Swaziland, the U.S. and England and has divided her adult life between South Africa and the U.S. Growing up the "daughter of ..." has offered Ms. Tutu many opportunities and challenges in her life. Most important of these has been the challenge to find her own place in the world. She has taken up the challenge and channeled the opportunities that she has been given to raise her voice as a champion for the dignity of all.

Ms. Tutu's professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa, to being program coordinator for programs on Race and Gender and Gender-based Violence in Education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. In addition, she has taught at the Universities of Hartford and Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina.

Ms. Tutu started her public speaking as a college student at Berea College in Kentucky in the 1970's when she was invited to speak at churches, community groups and colleges and universities about her experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa. Since that time, she has become a much sought-after speaker to groups as varied as business associations, professional conferences, elected officials and church and civic organizations.

In addition to speaking, Ms. Tutu is a consultant to two organizations that reflect the breadth of her involvement in issues of human rights. The organizations are the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV), founded by renowned author Riane Eisler and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Betty Williams, and the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa (FHSSA). Ms. Tutu is a single mother of two children and currently lives in Nashville, Tenn.



Notre Dame’s Abrahamic Center is devoted to developing programs for the College and the Greater Cleveland community that foster mutual respect among all peoples, and celebrate religious, racial and cultural diversity.

For 90 years, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers 24 NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. Inquiries from the media may be directed to Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or


September 22
4:30 PM
Saturday September 22, 4:30pm
Christ the King Chapel - Admin Bldg. 3rd Floor
E.g., 09/23/18
E.g., 09/23/18