Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho Tutu have announced the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge, a free online program starting May 4, 2014, designed to teach the world how to forgive.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu with his daughter and co-author Reverend Mpho Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu with his daughter and co-author Reverend Mpho Tutu

In early registration people from over 100 countries have already signed up to participate.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in leading non-violent opposition to South Africa’s apartheid system of racial domination. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission that he chaired created a way to address the overwhelming suffering and grief that were the legacy of over four decades of racial oppression. Since then he has taken his deeply human approach to resolving conflict to many other countries including Northern Ireland and Rwanda. His daughter, Mpho Tutu, has helped rape victims and refugees displaced by war and is currently completing a Ph.D. on the topic of forgiveness.

“Forgiving is a choice. A choice I have seen profoundly transform lives time and again,” says Archbishop Tutu. "As Nelson Mandela said when he walked free after 27 years of prison, ‘I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.’ Mpho and I share a vision to bring the transformative power of forgiveness to people everywhere and to see it spread through families, communities, countries and our whole world."

“Our culture glorifies the seductive but ultimately empty feeling of power that comes with an act of revenge or a harsh rebuke,” says the Reverend Mpho Tutu. “The Forgiveness Challenge is a corrective to these cultural forces. It provides training to strengthen our forgiveness muscles. Every time we are hurt we stand at a crossroads with two clear paths to deal with our pain — forgive and heal or lash out and harm.”

Together the Tutus bring their hard-earned and practical insight into the process of forgiving to a global audience in the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge. The 30-day program is based on a systematic process of forgiving that the Tutus present in their new book, The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Healing Our World (HarperOne; Hardcover; March 18, 2014).

The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu is published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu is published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Forgiveness Challenge is funded by Pam Omidyar, co-founder of the Omidyar Network and founder of HumanityUnited, so is free to all participants. Omidyar is a philanthropist dedicated to building peace, advancing human freedom, and creating opportunities for people to improve their lives. It is made possible by partnerships with Facebook, Google+, MailChimp, WordPressVIP and others. Promotional partners include The Huffington Post and FoxNews.com. The Forgiveness Challenge is created for everyone regardless of belief or background.

“Forgiveness is universal. It’s not just for the religious,” said Sir Richard Branson. “Archbishop Tutu taught me to make sure I have no enemies—to forgive and ask for forgiveness—and I’m a better man for it. No one but the Arch and Mpho would conceive of a way to bring forgiveness to everyone—free of charge, no less—in an event like the Forgiveness Challenge.”

Registration is open at www.ForgivenessChallenge.com. All registrants will receive invitations to special events leading up to the May 4th start, such as live Q&As and interviews with the Tutus and others, including Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Alanis Morissette and more.

“In my experience forgiveness cannot be forced, or arrive too early in one’s process,” said Alanis Morissette. “It is something that is naturally arrived at when we move through our natural human emotions, and come back to the awareness of how inextricably connected we all are. I am excited to take the Challenge and welcome a whole new level of connection and warmth in my life.”

When the Challenge starts, May 4th, everyone registered will receive daily inspirational emails for the following thirty days from the Archbishop and Mpho with a link to log in to an online forgiveness community. There they will be guided through practical exercises on how to forgive, have opportunities to join discussions and share their own stories. During the Challenge there will be resources such as films, music and exclusive interviews with forgiveness heroes, experts, cultural icons and leaders. All participants are also encouraged to participate in an optional study designed to measure the impact of forgiveness in people’s lives.

“Desmond Tutu is the face of forgiveness around the world and for years many, many people have asked him how to actually forgive,” said Mark Tauber, the Tutus’ publisher at HarperOne. “Finally he is sharing his wealth of experience, along with his daughter Mpho’s, who, while they were writing the book suffered a personal tragedy that required her to profoundly follow their own Fourfold Path of forgiving. This incredible work and this important, global challenge, provide a step-by-step process that every person can follow in order to achieve forgiveness in their lives.”

The Challenge provides opportunities to explore questions about forgiveness with both experts and the community, such as “What if I’m not ready to forgive?” and “Aren’t there some things that can’t be forgiven?” These questions and many more will be discussed during the Tutu Forgiveness Challenge.

“Forgiveness is not something we do for others, we do it for ourselves and this then impacts all those around us. That is why forgiveness is our greatest gift and only hope,” said Archbishop Tutu. “I am delighted that people all around the globe are signing up for the Forgiveness Challenge, together I know we can change the world.”

More information can be found at: www.ForgivenessChallenge.com. Follow the Challenge on social media. Facebook, where you can join every Friday for #forgivingfriday; Instagram; Twitter; and Google+. To find out more about The Book of Forgiving, please visit www.harpercollins.com.

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