Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, was presented with the 2013 Templeton Prize at a ceremony in London’s Guildhall this afternoon.
Tutu received the award in front of a distinguished audience that included The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, British faith leaders, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, members of both Houses of Parliament and representatives from charities and campaigning groups for Africa.
On receiving the prize Archbishop Tutu said: “Ubuntu – a person can be a person only through other persons. You can be generous only because you learnt from another how to be generous. How God longs for us to know that – you know what – we were created for togetherness. We were created to be members of one family, God’s family, the human family.”
The £1.1 million award has been made in recognition of Tutu’s lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which have helped to liberate people around the world.
The Prize was presented by Heather Templeton Dill representing the John Templeton Foundation who said: “When our intellectual and moral curiosity are accentuated, we ask questions, we seek answers and then we ask more questions because our answers are never final. There is always so much more to know. Today we honour Archbishop Tutu, a humble and inspiring entrepreneur of the spirit whose life and work capture the ideals Sir John Templeton hoped to promote through the giving of the Templeton Prize”.
Musical performers at the ceremony included British singer-songwriter and activist Annie Lennox who received an OBE two years ago for her campaigning work on HIV/AIDS. The American Grammy award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre performed his celebrated work Lux Aurumque accompanied by his 24-strong choir. Members of the London African Gospel Choir added their own mixture of song and dance to the live entertainment.
Celebrated musicians and performers from rock and pop history, many of whom produced anthems against the anti-apartheid movement, were in the audience to honour Tutu at the ceremony including Peter Gabriel, Eddy Grant, Jerry Dammers, Lenny Henry and Moira Stuart.
The Templeton Prize has been the world’s largest annual monetary award given to an individual for the past 40 years. Tutu joins a distinguished group of 42 former recipients including last year’s Laureate, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. It celebrates living persons who have made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.
Established in 1972 by the late global investor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, the Templeton Prize is a cornerstone of the John Templeton Foundation’s international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.