Skip to content
Remembers Archbishop-emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu - Henley Business School Finland

“Proper education is the most potent agent of empowerment” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

A champion of justice, joy and compassion, Henley Business School remembers Archbishop-emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu who died on 26 December in Cape Town.

Henley Business School joins with our friends and colleagues at Henley Africa, and the rest of the world, in mourning the loss of Archbishop-emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu who died on 26 December, 2021 in Cape Town.

Henley was honoured to have partnered with Desmond Tutu, launching the Desmond Tutu Scholarships for Ethical Leadership 16 years ago. At a gala event to mark the launch of the scholarships on 20 May 2006, Henley also conferred an Honorary Fellowship on Archbishop Tutu; only the fourth such fellowship conferred since we were established in 1946.

In a speech delivered to business leaders from both the UK and South Africa, Archbishop Tutu said at the time:

“Proper education is the most potent agent of empowerment. South Africa is still dealing with the legacy of apartheid, which deliberately under-invested in black education. The situation is still critical, and it’s been exacerbated by the “brain drain”. South Africa has lost one-third of its skilled people, at a cost of £4bn. This is a world threatened by terrorism. My answer to that is – we can be human only together; we can be prosperous only together; we can be safe and secure only together.”

In keeping with the archbishop’s work to promote ethical, visionary and value-based human development in South Africa, the Desmond Tutu Scholarships for Ethical Leadership were offered to managers in both the public and private sectors to help develop their leadership potential and management knowledge and skills. Five MBA places per year were offered at our campus in South Africa as a distance learning course, and two MBA places were offered in the UK.

This legacy of empowering black businesses and education is still a key part of Henley’s vision, particularly at Henley Africa, who recently achieved Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) status. This was made possible in part by a school-wide energetic implementation of a preferential procurement policy creating opportunities for black suppliers, in particular focussing on businesses owned by black women.

In 2022, Henley Africa will also launch and fund a full-fee MBA scholarship to a person selected for reflecting the values Desmond Tutu held in his memory. They hope to empower people in his name to go out and create sustainable jobs, hope and prosperity for the communities in which they work.

Jon Foster-Pedley, Dean and Director of Henley Africa, paid tribute to the life and leadership of Desmond Tutu:

“He was, as so many others have said, a true moral beacon, humanitarian, and compass for the world. Steadfast in his principles, he called out injustice wherever he saw it. He did it at great personal cost under apartheid and then in the new South Africa, whether it was official intransigence over HIV/Aids, upholding gay rights or calling out state capture.

“He believed that education was the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and reducing the shameful levels of inequality that blight our society – even more so today in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. When he said ‘There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in’, he was certainly reflecting on the enormous need for better education and access for young, intelligent South Africans.”

An olive tree, planted by Desmond Tutu on the day of his visit in May 2006, can be seen today at our Greenlands campus.

Jennika Rantanen - Henley Business School Finland

Jennika Rantanen

Related content

Team Coaching Opportunity – Pro Bono

  • 31 Jan 2024
We are now offering a unique opportunity to participate in team coaching, pro bono! Apply with your team by 4th of February.

Dr. Paula Kilpinen appointed as the Managing Director of Henley Business School Finland

  • 4 Jan 2024
Dr. Paula Kilpinen has been appointed as the Managing Director of Henley Business School Finland, effective from January 1st. She takes over from Annu Matula, who will now serve as a Senior Advisor within the Henley network.

Season’s Greetings 2023

  • 19 Dec 2023
Dear Henley Community, As we bid farewell to 2023, we want to express our profound gratitude for the collaborative spirit that has defined our journey together. Your unwavering support has…