The Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies
at Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary
Allan Aubrey Boesak was born in Kakamas, Northern Cape, South Africa, in 1946. He studied at the University of Western Cape and received his doctorate in theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands, in 1976.
Boesak first became known as a liberation theologian with the publication of his doctoral dissertation, “Farewell to Innocence.” He was an influential activist against racial apartheid in the 1980s in South Africa, where he worked closely with Archbishop Tutu and Nelson Mandela, the country’s former president.
He has served South African churches and the worldwide ecumenical movement in various senior capacities since 1978, including as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He was the first African and the youngest person ever elected to that position.
He has recently served as theologian-in-residence at the International Institute for the Study of Race, Reconciliation, and Social Justice; as Extraordinary Professor of Public Theology at Stellenbosch University; and as an honorary professor of humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
He has received numerous awards, including the Robert Kennedy Human Rights Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award.
Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis jointly appointed Boesak as The Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies in June 2013. He will teach courses at both institutions for four years and share Tutu’s philosophy through campus and public outreach.
Both Desmond Tutu and Allan Boesak have spoken in public forums at Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary in the past: Tutu as Butler’s Commencement speaker in 2002, and Boesak as part of Butler’s Celebration of Diversity Lecture series in November 2012, and as CTS’s Commencement speaker in 2013.
Boesak will reside in Indianapolis with his wife, Elna Boesak, a well-known independent journalist and documentary producer who focuses on South African social, economic, and health issues, and their daughter, who attends the International School of Indiana.