The Fetzer Institute sponsored the event, and Tutu sat wearing a traditional African shirt with the group's president and CEO Thomas Beech on stage. Tutu's face was projected large on a screen behind him.
He pointed to several people in the crowd before pointing to himself. "You, you, you, you, and I - each one of us is created in the image of God," he said. "You are God's viceroy. When we treat someone as less than we are, it's not just wrong; it's not just evil; it's actually blasphemous. It is spitting in the face of God."
Thursday's event had the feeling of a talk around a living room coffee table, with Tutu interacting with the crowd, eliciting many a laugh. He slid to the edge of his seat, his hands a whirl of action, when he was making an excited point. During more serious matters of discussion - such as the genocide and refugee crisis in the Sudanese region of Darfur - Tutu leaned back, his eyes closed as if in prayer.
Three area high school student sand one recent high school graduate asked Tutu questions about peace, politics and the role of today's youth.
"Young people are so idealistic," Tutu said, laughing. "Don't let the (older generation0 muck you up. Go on dreaming - believing we can live in a world without war."
Then he cupped his hands and extended them. "The world is yours," he said.