International Speaker Naomi Tutu to Speak at 2014 Global Gala - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

International Speaker Naomi Tutu to Speak at 2014 Global Gala

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Northern Nevadans will have a chance to hear international speaker Nontombi Naomi Tutu, the daughter of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, when she gives the keynote address at this year's Global Gala, which benefits the Northern Nevada International Center. The NNIC is a partner agency of the U.S. State Department, located in Reno.

NNIC executive director Carina Black says the Global Gala raises funds for expenses not covered by government grants. "The gala is our one and only fundraiser a year to raise awareness of the International Center and our real need for funding," Black said.

Naomi Tutu grew up in apartheid South Africa and has personal stories about the challenges she and her family faced. Her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited northern Nevada in 2000 and drew a crowd of about 2,000 people.

The NNIC brings visitors from all over the world to talk to local experts in northern Nevada about everything from water conservation, to human trafficking, to education and leadership. "We host about 500 visitors a year through various state department programs. So last year, for example, we hosted people from 134 countries," Black explained. Visitors meet with judges, teachers and community leaders.

The NNIC also hosts the Algerian Youth Leadership Program, which brings Algerian high school students to northern Nevada. The students attend seminars at UNR and stay with local host families. Last year they visited local non-profits and created videos about the organizations.

Most of the foreign visitors and dignitaries stay with local families and get to know Americans first-hand.

Black says the visitors are surprised by the openness of dialog in America, the fact that so many different people live side-by-side in America, and our dedication to volunteerism. "They're so surprised to be invited to somebody's home they've never met before," said Black. "They're amazed by our service clubs and this tremendous commitment that Americans have to help others," she added.

Black says Naomi Tutu's message of bringing different groups of people together fits the mission of the NNIC perfectly. "If you connect people, you allow them to have conversations and dialog," she said.

The Global Gala is April 4th at the Atlantis Casino Resort. For tickets call 784-7515.

Written by Jennifer Burton

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