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Naomi Tutu to Speak at Ferris During Women's History Month

Naomi TutuBIG RAPIDS – Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of legendary South African activist Desmond Tutu, is presenting “South Africa: Healing the Wounds of Racism” at 11 a.m. March 2 in G. Mennen Williams Auditorium.

Inspired by her upbringing as a black female growing up in South Africa during apartheid, Naomi has followed in her father’s footsteps as a champion for human rights. Desmond, a 1984 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, worked tirelessly in the fight against apartheid. The one-hour presentation is free and open to the public.

“It is our hope that Ferris students are informed on the issue of apartheid, and Naomi Tutu’s life work,” said Michael Wade, assistant director of Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services, one of several campus offices working collaboratively to sponsor the visit. “We hope Naomi Tutu’s presentation will provide insight for our students.”

Organizers cite having an international speaker of Naomi’s notoriety visit the university as having an inspirational effect on students to think beyond the borders of Ferris, the state and nation.

“The International Center is excited that Naomi Tutu’s visit to Ferris will add extra exposure to the issue of racism in the context of South Africa,” said Janel Lockwood, an international student advisor at Ferris. “We in the U.S. often forget that racism is not only an issue in the U.S., but all around the world.

“The International Center staff hopes that her visit will encourage students to think globally, to become interested in studying abroad, to meet international people and to consider different cultural perspectives,” Lockwood added.

Tutu holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and French from Kentucky-based Berea College and a master’s degree in International Economic Development from the University of Kentucky. She has taught at the universities of Connecticut and Hartford, and at Brevard College. She also has been a public speaker since her college days, and frequently speaks at colleges and universities around the nation.

In addition to OMSS, Naomi’s visit is sponsored by the Globalization Initiative, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the International Student Center, and through funds made available from a Diversity and Inclusion Office Student Diversity Grant.