A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and Chairman of The Elders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a passionate, inspirational and enormously influential campaigner on behalf of Oxfam, and a globally renowned force for peace and human rights.
Archbishop Tutu's tenacious advocacy work for Oxfam has included writing numerous letters and articles, on international aid, climate change and arms control. He helped launch the Make Poverty History campaign, and has supported Oxfam's lobbying work on a wide range of issues including the G8 meetings, Darfur, health and education.
A fervent supporter of the Control Arms campaign, Archbishop Tutu wrote to every embassy in New York before the 2006 UN talks that resulted in the historic decision to create an international Arms Trade Treaty. A persistent campaigner, he has written personally to a dozen heads of state, including Berlusconi and Merkel.
Watch: Tutu at the climate conference in Copenhagen
A powerful statesman and impassioned speaker, Archbishop Tutu rallies support and admiration around the world. At both the Pan Africa Climate Hearing in Cape Town, and the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, he spoke to delegates and media to highlight the human cost of climate change. Archbishop Tutu listened to climate witnesses, people already suffering the devastating effects of storms, floods and droughts. He stood with them to draw attention to the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations and called on world leaders to agree a fair and binding climate deal.
In 2011, Archbishop Tutu has supported Oxfam's launch of the GROW campaign. He said: “Many governments and companies will be resistant to change through habit, ideology or the pursuit of profit. It is up to us – you and me – to persuade them by choosing food that’s produced fairly and sustainably, by cutting our carbon footprints and by joining with Oxfam and others to demand change.”
Archbishop Tutu is an authoritative advocate for Oxfam's work. The great respect and trust in which he is held means his words are listened to by world leaders. Over the years, Archbishop Tutu's tireless work for humanitarian causes has been recognized with numerous international awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor – presented to him by President Obama in 2009 for his significant contributions to the nation and the world.