Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Human Rights Advisor.For decades of racial struggle in South Africa, Desmond Tutu was the international voice for equality. Today he is one of the world's prominent voices for human rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation. In 1948, when Tutu was 17 years old, the National Party won control of the government and codified the nation's long-present segregation and inequality into the official policy of apartheid. In 1953, the government passed the Bantu Education Act, a law that lowered the standards of education for black South Africans to ensure that they only learned what was necessary for a life of servitude. The government spent one-tenth as much money on the education of a black student as on the education of a white one. Tutu, a school teacher at the time, and no longer willing to participate in an educational system explicitly designed to promote inequality, quit teaching in 1957 and began his study of theology. He quickly international prominence in the international religious community when he became the first black person to be appointed the Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in 1975. In 1976 he was appointed Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978, the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu continued to use his position in the South African religious hierarchy to advocate for an end to apartheid. In 1976, he fervently protested the South Africa government's use of Afrikaans as the compulsory language of instruction in black schools. He supported an economic boycott of his country and with a gift for oratory and skillful use of media, became the prominent voice in the movement to divest from South African countries in protest of the country's apartheid policies. The divestment movement is largely credited with toppling the apartheid policies. Archibishop Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. While his opposition to apartheid was vigorous and unequivocal, Tutu consistently advocated reconciliation between all parties involved in apartheid. After the fall of apartheid he was named by Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, bringing the victims and perpetrators of atrocities under apartheid together for reconciliation a crucial step in South Africa's non-violent transition to democracy and an often used model for international peace building. Today he campaigns to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Mary Wald, Founder and President
Before entering the Internet arena in the 1990s, Mary had worked in marketing, promotions and public relations for the publishing and large scale graphic design industries in California. She directed promotional and marketing campaigns for four New York Times best sellers and acted as Account Executive and/or Art Director on promotional projects for clients that have included Pepsi, Sprint, Warner Records, and more.
In 1994, Mary established Silverado Trail Media, a web design and Internet strategy firm in Northern California. Since 2001, she has simultaneously served in numerous PR, editorial and and web strategy functions for Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta. José and Mary launched the first international action of TheCommunity.com in 2001, gathering and publishing the statements of the Nobel Peace Prize winners to 9/11, to international press coverage.
In 2002, in conjunction with the UN Foundation, she webcast the East Timor Independence Celebrations, when with Presidents, Kings and other leaders from around the world present, East Timor stood on its feet as the first new democracy of our millennium. She organized and hosted the VIP event at the UN when the country was inducted into the UN and the flag of East Timor was raised for the first time.
Mary has launched actions and campaigns involving 27 Nobel Peace Prize laureates through TheCommunity.com. She has personally connected artists including Bono, Paul Simon, Robert de Niro, Ron Howard, Michael Douglas, Peter Gabreal and others to the causes of the Nobel laureates. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, AP and more. She was a partner in the annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome for five years.
more information: http://marywald.com
Bonnie Abaunza, Board Member and Advisor
Bonnie founded and ran the Artists for Amnesty International program, activating the entertainment community, from 2001 to 2007.
She served as Vice President, Social Action and Advocacy at Participant Media for two and a half years, developing and executing social action campaigns to promote the documentaries and feature films produced by Participant Media, and served as Director of Philanthropy for Oscar winning composer Hans Zimmer.
She has worked closely with thecommunity.com and has been an integral part of our activities since 2001.
more information: http://abaunzagroup.com