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Spreading peace and meeting Desmond Tutu
HIS work in the community has led to meeting a famous champion of human rights.
Luke Addison has gone from university exams one week to meeting Archbishop Desmond Tutu the next.
The 21-year-old from Hampshire came face-to-face with the Nobel Peace Prize winner at an International Peace Conference in Morocco.
Having worked as a volunteer in Winchester for the past year, Luke was asked to go to Monaco and mentor teenagers at a conference run by Peace Jam – an international peace education programme – where Desmond Tutu would be the guest speaker.
His hard work fundraising for Winchester Rotary Club and spearheading Rotaract, a young person’s version of Rotary, meant that fellow member Caroline Mellman thought Luke would be perfect for the job.
As a volunteer, the University of Winchester student has been determined to make a difference and since starting Luke has been busy supporting and raising money for charity.
He said: “I had no idea that all these things would lead to meeting someone like Desmond Tutu. It was incredible to be a part of something that promotes international peace and find out what that means to young people all over the world.
“Desmond Tutu was a speaker at the conference and I got to talk to him afterwards, he is so inspiring.
“He was the perfect mixture of serious and fun and when you think about all the things he has done and been through and he is just sitting in a chair chatting away to a bunch of kids.
“It was amazing to be involved in that conference and then afterwards we got to see the first showing of the Desmond Tutu documentary at the Monte Carlo Film Festival and spotted the Prince of Monaco, so it was a really exciting trip.”
Peace Jam works with schools and youth groups across the world and invites leading Nobel Peace Laureates to a conference every year to work with the children and pass on their wisdom, and there are also peace workshops by student mentors like Luke.
Having finished his exams for an English and drama degree, Luke asked his group of 17 and 18-year-olds to explore how to use performance and create a positive change on issues that matter in the community.
He said: “I started off by researching all the different greetings in other countries – like how in Tibet it is good manners to poke your tongue out or in New Zealand people press noses like Eskimos – and then asked them to go and say hello to other people in the conference. It was great to actually feel like I was putting all my studying to good use.”