14 September this year marked the graduation of the Tutu Class of 2022 - in a historic year when two classes graduated in one year as a result of the COVID-delayed Class of 2020.
A remarkable group of accomplished leaders, the Class of 2022 chose a momentous week to be in the UK, as their Oxford-London retreat coincided with the death of Queen Elizabeth II. While this had some unfortunate implications - including missing out on time with Baroness Amos and being unable to visit the Houses of Parliament, which closed for a week of mourning - it did give us a front row seat to a truly historic moment.
The signature experiential modules of the Oxford-London retreat once again delivered both deep learning and belly laughs. From the joy of witnessing Ope Bobade conduct the choir of singers in Peter Hanke’s Leadership without Words, to the smooth ingredient distribution operation run by James Woods in the African Cookery School, and not to mention Elizabeth Biney-Amissah's grateful ‘thank you auntie’ curtsy - there was no shortage of unforgettable moments.
Stefan Dercon’s talk on his book Betting on Democracy: Why some countries win and others lose, was once again a highlight for many. Alongside Andrew Feinstein’s talk on corruption, a riveting account of the South African arms deal, it stimulated passionate conversations about what it takes to govern in a developing economy. This class had an opportunity to listen to Morten Kringelbaum’s talk on the Science of Happiness. Morten is one of the new contributors to the program and challenged the group to be more conscious about how a leader’s mood impacts those around them.
We also visited the Oxford Martin School, meeting with the Future of Development team and listening to Myles Allen’s perspective on how Net Zero can be achieved without completely giving up on fossil fuels, through use of carbon capture and storage technologies. As always, every speaker generated both fierce agreement and disagreement - we wouldn’t expect anything less!
In lieu of the House of Lords dinner, Tarek Mouganie and Eric Idiahi generously arranged a delicious dinner at Koko’s in Camden, followed by a brilliant jazz performance by Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly known as Christian Scott). Albeit unplanned, it was one of the social highlights of the week, and gave everyone an opportunity to meet Anne Grant, former High Commissioner to SA, who joined us for dinner and spoke about her own leadership lessons and her current role at the Migration Museum.
Our final night together, in line with tradition, was a curry dinner at Lord Hacking’s house, followed by the award ceremony, and a celebration of a truly extraordinary group of humans. What an immense privilege it has been to get to know and add to the gifts carried by every single 2022 Tutu Fellow. Congratulations - we are delighted to welcome you to the Tutu family!