Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

The Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowships

The Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellowship program provides a way of recognizing and supporting people from all walks of life as they contribute to reconciliation projects within, between and across communities. The scheme supports activities undertaken by individuals to facilitate dialogue and practical engagement aimed at enhancing understanding and developing collaborations. It promotes reconciliation by bringing global support to individuals engaged in local projects.

Fellows are appointed annually on the basis of their work in the broad area of reconciliation. A key consideration in the selection process is the likelihood that a person’s ongoing work will generate deep and sustainable outcomes that advance


Nanko van Buuren 2012 award

 reconciliation in one or more communities.

Specific aims of the scheme are as follows:

  • To support community-based activities that promote reconciliation;
  • To develop experiences, knowledge and expertise in relation to grass-roots reconciliation projects;
  • To provide fertile and supportive environments in which the various themes of and diverse perspectives on reconciliation can interact with and support each other; and
  • To foster a learning process in reconciliation that utilizes the powerful contemporary resources of communication; and
  • To contribute to the development of a living archive of reconciliation resources documenting reconciliation experiences and supporting their sharing and dissemination through forums, web-based notice boards, and networks.

A Tutu Fellowship provides recognition and support to enable people from all walks of life to explore and develop the reconciliation dimensions of a particular project, activity or issue.

Expectations of Tutu Fellows

We ask that Fellows continue to act in harmony with the principle of Global Reconciliation to promote by non-violent means processes of dialogue and practice across boundaries of continuing difference.

As recipients of this honour, and in keeping with our principle of public dialogue, we ask that Fellows provide us with brief annual reports on their work that we can make public. We would also hope that they would make themselves available for supporting other members of the global reconciliation community where appropriate and as the need arises.

Selection Process

There are no prescribed qualifications, academic or otherwise, for the award of Tutu Fellowships. Merit is the primary basis. It is judged on past achievements and demonstrated ability for future achievement in any walk of life. The value of an applicant’s work to the community, and the extent to which that work will be further enhanced by the applicant being awarded the Fellowship, are important criteria.

Current Process

A short list of applicants is compiled annually by the Executive of Global Reconciliation and the decision about appointment is made by that group after extended consideration of possible candidates. Currently, the process is by nomination only. Nominations are sought broadly through the outreach of Executive or Board members, and nominations are based on the nominator having an intimate personal knowledge of the nominee. Current Executive or Board members themselves cannot be nominated.

There is no defined monetary award associated with the Fellowship. However, Global Reconciliation will be pleased to support and advance the work of a Fellow, including through showcasing his or her achievements and on-going activities and, where appropriate, by providing in-kind assistance for approaches to government and non-government organizations for recognition or support. Where appropriate we will seek funding on mutual projects with Fellows.

Anticipated Process

  • Nominations or applications will be invited each year in November and the period for submission will close on the last day of February. A form will be available for on-line submission through the Global Reconciliation website.
  • Each applicant will be required to provide two referees who will be available by post, telephone or e-mail to supply a report on the work of the applicant. In cases where the nominee has been forwarded by a person who is not an Executive or Board member additional references may be required.
  • Each submission will include a proposal for future work in the area of reconciliation (this may or may not be treated as the basis for a limited-term funded project with financial support).
  • Applicants or nominees may be invited to attend for an interview by the selection panel. Where appropriate, advice and guidance may be offered to applicants about how to improve their proposals to enhance the contribution they may be able to make. A key issue to be taken into account will be the likely outcomes of the proposed project for the communities it will involve.
  • The Executive will consider the applications and nominations and make a recommendation to the Board of Global Reconciliation, which will make a final decision.
  • Appointed Fellows, subject to mutual agreement, may hold the status for life and may use the initials FGR after their name as sign of public recognition.
  • Fellows are encouraged to identify and submit materials of any kind which may be of assistance to others working in their fields.

Fields of activity

Applications from any area of activity are welcomed. The following provides examples of some of the areas within which reconciliation activities are presently being conducted:

Theme Examples of specific activities
Arts and culture Youth arts festivals and neighbourhood celebrations where there is an explicit reconciliation purpose
Health care and medicine Mental health, cross-cultural education, care of the elderly, childhood nutrition, or HIV projects that bring a reconciliation element to bear on issues of wellbeing
Justice and ethics Cross-cultural dialogues about social goals and personal values; legal resources for use in settings characterized by alternative juridical frameworks
Learning and education School interfaith curricula; web-based or other learning programs that recognize alternative forms of knowledge, including tribal, traditional and modern forms
Livelihood and money Micro-credit schemes and foreign aid projects that go beyond immediate delivery of resources to engage community relations
Spirituality and celebration Interfaith dialogues; cross-cultural conversations about hope and loss
Sport and recreation Sporting activities that build community solidarity across cultural difference, including support schemes for young sportspersons
Place and environment Cross-community actions to preserve or restore local environments, development of inter-community centres for children and adolescents

Some Questions

Will you tell me where to go or what to do?
The nature and conduct of individual Fellowship projects are decided by the applicants themselves, although we may provide some advice and guidance about how you might like to proceed.

I’ve just finished school or I am a student. Can I get a Tutu Fellowship?
It is unlikely. The award of a Tutu Fellowship implies recognition of past achievement and demonstrated ability for future achievement in the applicant’s field.

Am I too old or too young?
You must be over 18. There is no upper age limit for the award of a Tutu Fellowship. However, demonstrated ability for future achievement in your particular field will be taken into consideration.

Can I apply for a Fellowship with someone else or as a group?
Fellowships are awarded on an individual basis only. However, we appreciate that in many cases they will involve group activities involving members of different communities. This will be taken into account in the selection process.

Enquiries and correspondence should be addressed to:

Paul James: p.james2@uws.edu.au
Paul Komesaroff: paul.komesaroff@monash.edu

Desmond Tutu Reconciliation Fellows.