Archbishop Tutu accepts Delta Prize for Global Understanding, calls for U.S. aid to South Africa ‘Akin to Marshall Plan’

— July 26, 2000

ATLANTA — Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on the United States to provide $2 billion in aid to South Africa for the next five years to help his country recover from the legacy of apartheid.

Tutu made the plea as he accepted the Delta Prize for Global Understanding, a new international peace prize created by the University of Georgia with an endowment from Delta Air Lines. The 69-year-old former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.

“After World War II, Europe was devastated and this country, in its typical generosity, produced the Marshall Plan to help put Europe back on its feet,” Tutu said at the award ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead. “I want to suggest that South Africa — southern Africa — really needs something akin to the Marshall Plan.”

South Africa is “hobbled by the fact that it has to deal with the most horrendous legacy of apartheid,” Tutu said. “Freedom has come, democracy has come, but we still live in shacks with no clean water and no lights.”

Tutu noted that the U.S. supports the peace process in the Middle East with aid to Israel, Egypt and the Palestinians, and thus should support the process of reconciliation and reconstruction in South Africa. “This is important not just for southern Africa, but for the whole continent, since South Africa can act as an engine for development throughout Africa,” he said. “Development in Africa is important for international stability.”

Tutu spent the first part of the week in Washington lobbying for the aid program with Congressional leaders. His appearance at the Delta Prize ceremony was his last scheduled event in Atlanta before his return to South Africa in mid-August, following two years as a visiting professor of theology at Emory University.

Tutu said he accepted the Delta Prize on behalf of “the anonymous ones, the voiceless ones” who suffered under apartheid. Despite the injustices suffered by millions under that system, Tutu said, there was no “orgy of revenge and retribution” when a black-led government was in place. “Instead the world watched and human hearts thrilled” to see the Truth and Reconciliation Commission extend pardon and forgiveness.

The Delta Prize for Global Understanding was established with an $890,000 grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation to the University of Georgia. The prize carries a $10,000 cash award.

Tutu is the second recipient of the Delta Prize. Last year's inaugural award went to former President Jimmy Carter, his wife Rosalynn and the Atlanta-based Carter Center.

The Delta Prize was presented to Tutu by University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams and Frederick W. Reid, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Delta Air Lines. Reid noted that the grant to establish the award represents the largest contribution in the history of the Delta Air Lines Foundation.

Read more about Desmond Tutu.

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