Desmond Tutu Featured at CU-Boulder AIDS Symposium
Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu kicked off a six-day “Stop the Silence” AIDS Symposium last month at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The former archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, was the keynote speaker of the symposium that included advocates and scholars from CU-Boulder and Harvard University. Tutu discussed his new book, God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Times.
Dustin Craun, a senior ethnic studies major and chair of the University of Colorado Student Union’s Distinguished Speakers Board, said Tutu’s battle against apartheid was one of the most difficult conflicts of the 20th century. “Now he’s taking on the greatest battle of the 21st century, which is the AIDS virus,” Craun said. “He believes we can beat the disease if we work together.”
The “Stop the Silence” symposium ran from March 29 through April 3 and included more than a dozen events with speakers and panel discussions on AIDS locally and around the world.
The Distinguished Speakers Board organized the symposium, with support from 11 other CU-Boulder student groups, because people aren’t talking about AIDS and the media coverage is lacking, Craun said. “We want to stop the stigmas and silence associated with the disease. Three hundred million people could die during our lifetimes from this disease unless we do something.
“The epidemic has gone away in people’s minds but the percentage of infection in every demographic category is going up, including heterosexuals in the United States,” he said. “We want people in the university community to know this information.”
Craun said Tutu addressed AIDS in his keynote speech, and several other symposium events will discuss the epidemic on the African continent.
Tutu’s work against social injustice and apartheid was recognized with a Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. Today Tutu is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town and chancellor of the University of Western Cape. He holds honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, Columbia and other universities.
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