The Global Scholars Academy (GSA) is an annual international event hosted by the Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP), which brings together young scholars to share and explore new ideas, engage with one another, and discuss their research from their respective countries.
Welcoming the hand-picked scholars and the global faculty mentors, Prof Nicola Smit, Dean of the hosting Faculty of Law, said Stellenbosch University (SU) is enthusiastic about closing the gap between the universities of the north and those of the south – which also fits in well with the GSA's vision. “When the IGLP proposed the collaborations, we agreed that there is a tangible need to strengthen the next generation of scholars as well as the academic institutions in which they work. Some of the most valuable gifts in academia, namely time dedicated to research and the sharing of expertise, are the foundations of this whole week's experience," she said.
“There are no easy answers to our and the younger generation's complex challenges. But if we can listen generously, listen with curiosity and speak with honesty and an open mind, we will already have a fruitful Academy," Smit added.
Prof David Kennedy, Director of the IGLP, which has held the GSA gatherings worldwide since the IGLP's inception 15 years ago, said the response and representation from both South Africa and other countries in Africa for this year's GSA is most encouraging. SU has now joined the ranks of other IGLP partner institutions in countries such as Thailand, Colombia, Brazil, Doha, and Spain as part of the fast-growing international GSA network.
''The focus of the GSA is research. The fact that Stellenbosch University is a sophisticated research institution, functioning at the peak of global research excellence, made it a suitable base for the GSA conversations to take place this year, also in the context of forging closer cooperation between the global north and the global south," Kennedy said.
Referring to the GSA's preceding international symposium theme of Inequality and insecurity: Contemporary challenges and the quest for justice, Kennedy pointed out that inequality and poverty are global phenomena: “Regional and global inequality is a driving concern for all the GSA participants, both the senior mentoring faculty and the young, selected scholars. In discussing these and other pressing law and policy issues, it is critical to our vision to think about local challenges in a global context.
“My hope is that all the participants gathered here will have open conversations, robust but with respect and trust, which in turn will lead to lasting collaborations and networking; colleagues for life. I have the same sentiment towards the partnership between Harvard University and Stellenbosch University: a long-term and sustainable relationship."
*This week's GSA include writing workshops, round-table discussions and presentations by high-profile guest speakers, including Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, member of the Law Reform Commission, and author of the book The land is ours; Advocate Michelle le Roux and Justice David Dennis, authors of the book Warfare; Prof Fatima Kahn, Director of the Refugee Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town; Professors Michael Sachs and Cathi Albertyn of the University of the Witwatersrand; Professors Thuli Madonsela and Sonia Human of SU's Faculty of Law; Mr Ayabonga Cawe of Xesibe Holdings (Pty) Ltd; and Dr Nthabiseng Moleko of the Stellenbosch Business School.
Photo: Prof David Kennedy, Director of the Harvard Law School's Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) and Prof Nicola Smit, Dean of the Faculty of Law