Nobel peace-prize winner and Anglican Archbishop of South Africa, Desmond Tutu was the recipient of the Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday. Recently, Tutu had urged Mr. Obama to apologize for the American-led invasion of Iraq. No such apology has since been made, and the U.S. administration plans to maintain an American troop presence in Iraq for another two years. U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan has expanded under President Obama, and some experts question whether the president will be able to deliver on his pledge to close the detainee camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by the beginning of next year.
Archbishop Tutu is a member of a group of senior statesmen from around the world known as The Elders, which has travelled to Sudan to promote an end to conflict in the country’s blood-soaked Darfur region. The archbishop expressed disappointment that most African nations have failed to take a stronger stand against the actions of Sudan’s government, saying that President Omar al-Bashir should face the law for his policies.
As the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Tutu rose to international fame during the anti-Apartheid struggles of the 1980s. His activism earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. Despite continuing conflicts in many parts of the globe, he once said he remains convinced that a world at peace is possible, and not just a dream. “People are good. We have a lot of evil in the world, but we also have a great deal of good. And ultimately, the good is going to prevail,” he said.
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