The Nobel Peace prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu died at age of 90.

We have received the sad news that Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace prize laureate has died at age of 90 (front photo - courtecy Taarifa, October 13 - 2020). A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility has passed away.

He campaigned peacefully against apartheid, chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 and has worked tirelessly for peace in the world since his “retirement” as Archbishop of Cape Town.

In 2010, the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, the University of Bergen and the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway established the Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research located at the Department of Oceanography at UCT (https://www.nansen-tutu.org) in Cape Town, South Africa. The joint venture was named in honour and respect of Fridtjof Nansen and Desmond Tutu – a Norwegian and a South African – who have demonstrated extraordinary passion for the natural environment and humanity.

Many of us had the inspiring opportunity to meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the inauguration of the Nansen-Tutu Centre in Cape Town in May 2010 (see photo below). His deep and inviting laughter was outstanding and signaled a man of welcoming warmth, joy and curiosity. He also manifested sincere concern for the changes in global climate and environment with their impact for society.

First row: Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu with Prof. Berit Rokne (left) and Prof. George Philander (right). Second row from left: Ambassador Tor Chr. Hildan, Prof. Johnny A. Johannessen, Prof. Frank Shillington, Dr. Neville Sweijd, Mr Hans Erstad, Prof. John Field and Mr Lasse H. Pettersson. Photo: Katherine Traut, UCT.

The Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research focusses on studying the Indian, South Atlantic and Southern Oceans and their impact on climate, weather and the marine ecosystem surrounding southern Africa. The 10-years anniversary symposium (https://www.nansentutusymposium.com/) in March 2020 (see photo below) targeted Ocean, Weather and Climate Sciences to the Service for Society and brought together almost 100 researchers, postdoctoral fellows, PhD, and MSc students to Cape Town, South Africa. Attendants came from Cameroon, Mauritius, Togo, Benin, Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Democratic republic of Congo South Africa, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, United Kingdom and USA.

Attendants of the Nansen-Tutu Centre 10-years anniversary symposium in March 2020.

Over the past 12 years the Nansen-Tutu Centre has made numerous scientific discoveries providing new knowledge about the ocean circulation and the variability of African climate. This has been accomplished through research collaboration combined with training and supervision of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. All in all, this capacity building has included more than 50 exchange visits and contributed to 18 master degrees, 10 PhD degrees and in addition supported 9 postdoctoral fellows.

The Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research is greatly honoured to have the name of the joint venture associated with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It is highly inspiring and continuously stimulates us to aim for the joint venture´s vision to Serve Africa through advancing knowledge of the marine environment and climate system in the spirit of Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Fridtjof Nansen”.

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