Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Daughters Visit to UAlbany Kicked off President Robert J. Jones’ Week-Long Inauguration Celebration

University at Albany President Robert J. Jones and Jones and Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s daughters – activist Nontombi Naomi Tutu and researcher Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe.

As part of the week-long celebration of the Inauguration of UAlbany's 19th President, Robert J. Jones, an event was held featuring a conversation among the President, race and gender activist Nontombi Naomi Tutu, and HIV treatment/AIDS researcher Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe. Tutu and Tutu-Gaxashe are daughters of Nobel Laureate and renowned South African social rights activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The event was co-hosted by UAlbany’s Schools of Social Welfare, Criminal Justice and Public Health, College of Computing and Information and Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. SSW Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson moderated the Tutu sisters’ conversation, which drew nearly 450 guests from the University and local communities. Dean Briar-Lawson co-chaired the week-long celebration.

The sisters, who grew up in South Africa under the oppression of apartheid, are passionate actors for peace and social justice carrying on the legacy of their famous father through their work in the areas of racial reconciliation, equality, women's issues, and HIV/AIDS.

Currently, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe’s primary work is with the Tutudesk Campaign, whose goal is to provide at least 20 million portable Tutudesks to children in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. Today, 95 million children in the region are without school desks. According to the Tutudesk Campaign: “The lack of a desk, a writing surface, affects handwriting, concentration and overall academic performance. To date, over one million desks have been distributed.”