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 The Desmond Tutu Chair of Ecumenical Theology and Social Transformation in Africa

Prof Christo Lombard has been appointed in the Desmond Tutu Chair as from 1 July 2013. His responsibilities include to establish and to raise the profile of the chair, to do fundraising towards a fully endowed chair, to ensure that a next incumbent can be in place by July 2015 and to exercise leadership regarding the department’s three year project on “Ecumenical Studies and Social Ethics”.

Prof Charles Amjad-Ali occupied the rotating Desmond Tutu Chair in the third quarter of 2013. He contributed position papers for the two think tanks hosted during that time, namely on “Non-Government Organisations and Faith Based Organisations as dynamos of social transformation” and on “Citizens of Subjects? The role of religion in the formation of responsible citizenship”. He co-taught a postgraduate module on land as a lens to interpret economic inequalities in South Africa.

In line with the vision to establish the Desmond Tutu Chair the Department registered a three-year project on ““Ecumenical Studies and Social Ethics” that explores the interface between an ecumenical theological vision as the source of inspiration for social transformation – epitomized by the life and ministry of Desmond Mpilo Tutu. The project explores the elusive “and” that connects ecumenical theology and social transformation, spirituality and society, Christ and culture, faith and science. Details on progress with this project may be found in the section on research frameworks in the department. 

The stated vision of the Department is to establish a Desmond Tutu Centre of Spirituality and Society that will provide an academic platform for various role players involved in processes of social transformation in civil society. Such a platform will make insights emerging from civil society fruitful for research and teaching, will provide a forum for discussion and the exploration of current agendas and will structure opportunities for students to find internships in the field of ethical leadership.​


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