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Rights Activist to Speak During College’s ‘King Day’ Observance

Human rights activist Nontombi Naomi Tutu, a daughter of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu, will give the keynote address as Pennsylvania College of Technology observes the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday this month

“Our Shared Humanity: Creating Understanding Through the Principles of Martin Luther King” – scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20 – is part of a series of events and service opportunities honoring the life’s work of the late civil rights leader.

Her appearance in the college’s Klump Academic Center Auditorium, to be followed by a signing of her book, “The Words of Desmond Tutu,” is free and open to the public.

Nontombi Naomi Tutu
Nontombi Naomi Tutu

“We are excited to welcome Ms. Tutu to campus as part of our celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Sara H. Ousby, the college’s director of diversity and community engagement. “Her topic encourages us to focus on our shared humanity, rather than on those items that may separate us. It is a timely and relevant message that I hope is well-received by both the Penn College and Williamsport communities.”

In addition to her public presentation, Tutu will facilitate a professional development session for faculty earlier in the day. The college will also observe the King holiday through a Peace Walk and volunteer experiences with local nonprofits.

The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of Naomi Tutu’s life. Those experiences taught her that our whole human family loses when we accept situations of oppression, and how the teaching and preaching of hate and division injure us all. In her speeches, she blends that passion for human dignity with humor and personal stories.

Born in South Africa and educated in Swaziland, the United States and England, she has divided her adult life between South Africa and the U.S. The international spotlight has offered her many opportunities and challenges, most importantly to follow her own path toward building a better world.

Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa to coordinating programs on race- and gender-based violence in education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. In addition, Naomi Tutu has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina. She served as program coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University, and was a part of the institute’s delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban.

She plans to pursue a Master of Divinity degree and is the single mother of two daughters and a son.

For more about activities during Penn College’s “Dream Week” (Jan. 18-23), visit the college’s Student Activities Office.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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