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Periperi U/UNDP course boosts disaster risk capacity in Sahel U/UNDP course boosts disaster risk capacity in SahelSU International<p>​Periperi U, an African universities partnership aimed at building local disaster risk management capacity, recently hosted a four-week online course on climate and disaster risk financing (CDRF). The course, co-designed with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), specifically focused on the Sahel region of Africa – the semiarid region extending from Senegal eastward to Sudan.<br></p><p>From 16 November to 9 December 2021, experts from Stellenbosch University (SU) (home to the Periperi U secretariat), the University of Antananarivo (Madagascar) and industry collaborated to present the programme. Teaching modes included virtual classrooms, self-paced study and group work, and all components were offered in both French and English.</p><p>“The CDRF course was the second short-course collaboration between the UNDP and Stellenbosch University," explains Alberto Francioli, programme manager at the Periperi U secretariat. “It focused on government officials and practitioners in the Sahel region, which is considered one of the most vulnerable parts of the world. The aim was to build the region's capacity to increase resilience against the financial shocks and impacts associated with disasters and climate change." The region is plagued by food shortages and famine, recurring droughts and fragile economies.  </p><p>“This course attests to the increasing interest in, and continent-wide acknowledgement of the importance of, understanding climate change and disaster risk to build more resilient and sustainable communities in Africa," says Francioli.  </p><p>The Sahel officials, along with representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union Commission, tuned in to learn about the basic concepts of CDRF. These included an understanding of the overall landscape of climate and disaster risk financing sources at national and international level, applications of risk context studies, knowledge of CDRF instruments and their application, and weather forecasting mechanisms.<br></p><p>In the first week, participants examined the complex risk environment in Africa, and the case was made for disaster risk reduction and CDRF as essential tools in the region's risk mitigation arsenal. The United Nations' sustainable development goals were also discussed, as was the link between resource management and allocation and the climate and disaster risk issues faced across the continent.</p><p>Instruments and tools for CDRF in the African context were the focus of the second week. Using both Sahel-based and international case studies, presenters illustrated the application of these financing instruments and tools, including contingency funding and parametric insurance. In the third week, the focus shifted to the application of CDRF-based research, data and assessments to roll out evidence-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation. </p><p>The final week of the course saw facilitators providing hands-on guidance on how participants could go about implementing effective CDRF strategies and actions for their respective countries.</p><p>* For more information on Periperi U's disaster risk-related short courses, go to <a href=""></a> or e-mail Alberto Francioli at <a href=""></a>.<br></p><p>To find out more about SU International activities, visit our website: <a href="/english/SUInternational">​</a>.​<br></p>
Moving human wrongs to human rights in Africa human wrongs to human rights in AfricaCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​​​Partaking in the historical journey of moving human wrongs to human rights in Africa, Stellenbosch University (SU) recently hosted the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition – the largest annual gathering in Africa for students and lecturers of law.</p><p>The competition, organised by the University of Pretoria's (UP) Centre of Human Rights (CHR), involved competing law students, referred to as 'mooters', simulate a real court situation by arguing a hypothetical human rights case related to gender-based violence (GBV), gender identity, sexual minority and children rights. The mooters delivered their arguments in front of a bench of judges and prominent jurists who interrogated them on their statements. </p><p>This year, SU's Chair of Social Justice and previous South African Public Protector, Prof Thuli Madonsela, chaired the bench of judges comprising Dr Solomon Dersso, chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Justice Angelo Matusse, previously a judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, Dr Robert Nanima, a member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and Prof Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen, a judge of the constitutional court of Andorra and lecturer in international law at the Sorbonne University in Paris.</p><p>To date, law faculties of 175 universities from 50 countries across Africa have participated. They gathered in 19 countries and proceeded with moot court cases in English, French and Portuguese.</p><p>Earlier this year, 60 teams from law faculties in Africa entered the competition and battled it out until eight teams were selected for the quarterfinals in Stellenbosch. For a second year, the competition took place in hybrid mode.</p><p>At the end of the finals, the presiding judges praised the finalists for demonstrating great skills, talent and the ability to think on their feet, especially in answering the judges' questions.</p><p>One of the four teams in the finals was SU's team, Megan Roos (final-year LLB) and Shaniaé Maharaj (second-last year BAccLLB), who finished as runners-up with the partnering team from the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique. To read more about the SU team's achievement, click here.</p><p>The winners of the competition were the combined team of the law schools of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University in Côte d'Ivoire and Kenyatta University in Kenya.</p><p>At the official opening, Prof Nicola Smit, Dean of SU's Faculty of Law, highlighted the Faculty's excitement to host this event in its centenary year. She also said the competition would undoubtedly contribute to participants' growth as a person. “You may even find it a little challenging, but that is what good legal education is all about, isn't it?" she said.</p><p>Along with the centenary year, the event also coincided with a momentous year for UP, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the competition and the Centre's 35th birthday. </p><p>This year's event also included the renaming of the competition to the “Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition". Prof Christof Heyns, a renowned human rights lawyer and founding father of the competition, passed away in March this year.</p><p>According to Prof Frans Viljoen, CHR's director, Heyns is remembered for his vision of bringing law students across the continent together that has become a reality and is going from strength to strength. Except for bringing law students together, the competition is contributing to the transformation of legal education in Africa and exposing generations of young African lawyers to the African legal human rights systems. </p><p>For this reason, winning the competition is not the primary purpose, said Viljoen. The competition  has rather become an important institution for the African human rights movements. “It is our shared resolve to pursue an Africa where we move from human wrongs to human rights. The competition has inspired people to take Moot's message further in their own lives," said Viljoen. </p><p>“SU's partnership is a testament to the University's shared commitment to collaborate with human rights movements and to help develop and transform Africa's legal system and discourse," said Smit. She also emphasised that SU supports an inclusive, progressive and transformative legal culture.</p><p>In a welcoming message at the opening dinner of the event, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, SU's Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching, welcomed moot competitions and students' benefits from participating. “Moot competitions give students on our continent a unique opportunity to experience and learn from diverse cultures, legal systems, languages and socio-economic realities," he said.</p><p>Elaborating on the benefits, he said that they promote oral communication, the ability to think on one's feet, collaborate with others and solve problems. “I am extremely thrilled about these events where students get a real, immersive action-based and experiential learning, which equips them for the experiences in the real profession," he said.</p><ul><li><p>Viljoen paid a special tribute to SU's Prof Annika Rudman, whose dedication, professionalism and adjustability as the head of the Faculty's organising committee ensured the success of the 2021 Moot Competition.</p></li></ul><p> </p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>
Two Maties among Africa’s top law students Maties among Africa’s top law students Corporate Communication and Marketing Division/Afdeling Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking - Sandra Mulder<p>​Two law students from Stellenbosch University (SU) were recently named runners-up in the Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court competition, placing their law faculty among the top four in Africa.<br></p><p>Megan Roos, an LLB student who is currently completing the last semester of her studies in Finland, and Shaniaé Maharaj, in her penultimate year of BAccLLB studies, are overwhelmed by their achievement. Not only did they reach the finals, which is an achievement in itself, but they also secured their position as one of the top two English-speaking law student teams in Africa. </p><p>Combined teams comprising English-speaking and French or Portuguese-speaking pairs competed in the final round. The SU team share their runners-up position with a Portuguese-speaking pair from the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique. The combined team of Kenyatta University's School of Law in Kenya and the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University in the Ivory Coast finished first.</p><p>The winners and runners-up were initially part of 13 teams (eight English, four French and one Portuguese) in the quarterfinal of the annual competition, which is organised by the University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights and was hosted by SU this year. All competing students simulated an actual court scenario by arguing a hypothetical human rights case in front of a bench of judges and prominent jurists, who interrogated contestants' arguments. </p><p>Taking part in the competition was a rewarding, humbling and nerve-racking experience, especially when they made the finals, Roos and Maharaj agree. “We felt rewarded for our efforts, humbled by the privilege to be part of the acclaimed competition, and nerve-racked to compete against highly talented opponents in front of a bench of renowned judges," they explain. “In every round, we learned so much from the judges' questions, and some opponents were the best orators I have ever seen," adds Maharaj. “If we hadn't internalised the feedback from the judges and our coach in every round, we would not have made it to the finals." </p><p>According to Roos, they worked hard preparing since March, when the preliminary rounds started. “A lot of time and dedication went into preparing for the moot court, during which our arguments and our teamwork were strengthened," she says. Overcoming language barriers was a huge challenge. As they were paired with a Portuguese-speaking team, they had to work closely together to formulate their arguments for the finals. Although interpreters Addie Morgado, Roberta Fox and Leo Gouveia translated their dialogues, misunderstandings and confusion inevitably occurred. “At times, it felt as if we were never going to be on the same page. It was most certainly an experience I will never forget!" says Roos. </p><p>Maharaj too found working across language barriers challenging. In fact, in the finals, this resulted in them spending five hours disagreeing before they finally came to a resolution. “During the day, I didn't know whether we would be able to finish our preparation in time, but luckily we did," she says. “It has taught me the importance of listening with the sole purpose of listening, not responding. More importantly, I was sensitised to different perspectives on gender-based violence, child marriage, gender identity and sexual orientation, and that there was more than one way of protecting people. This was so valuable and opened my mind to ideas I hadn't considered before," Maharaj continues.</p><p>Congratulating the Matie team shortly after the competition, Prof Nicola Smit, dean of SU's Faculty of Law, said: “The Faculty is exceedingly proud of Roos and Maharaj's performance throughout the competition, and for advancing to the final round. Both students committed significant time and hard work to their participation. Such work ethic and intellectual talent promise great things for Roos and Maharaj when they will soon start their professional careers. The fact that we had an SU team in the final of this competition in our Faculty's centenary and hosted in Stellenbosch may justly be considered a historic achievement."  </p><p>The SU team coach, Claire Rankin, a final-year postgraduate LLB student, also applauds the two students for surviving a very difficult final round against strong opponents and a “gruelling bench of judges". “They performed remarkably and can be proud of their achievement," Rankin says.</p><p>Maharaj is considering pursuing an LLM degree once she has completed her current programme and hopes to be an advocate one day. Roos, in turn, will start her articles at Cape Town law firm ENS Africa next year, also well on her way to realising her dreams of becoming an advocate. </p><p> </p><p>​ </p><p>​<br></p>
ADA branches out with Webinar Wednesdays branches out with Webinar Wednesdays SU International<p>​<span style="text-align:justify;">​S</span><span style="text-align:justify;">U International's African Doctoral Academy (ADA) has been offering capacity development interventions for current and prospective PhD candidates, supervisors and researchers since 2009. With its flagship annual summer and winter schools, the ADA has built a significant following over the years. These schools are made up of a number of short courses on research design and methodology, academic preparedness, research dissemination and supervision, and are accredited by Stellenbosch University (SU) and presented by both SU and other experts.</span></p><p>Since February 2021, a new ADA initiative, Webinar Wednesdays, has been offering regular support and stimulation to the ADA's followers, and providing a platform for SU staff and ADA associates to share their work and research interests. The webinars, held on the first or second Wednesday of the month, also give the ADA a year-round presence, instead of only in the run-up to its annual schools. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Seven webinars have been presented to date: </p><ul><li>In “Creating an academic vision, and the habits that make it a reality", Prof Sarah Tracy, a qualitative researcher from Arizona State University, United States, helped delegates set research targets and reach their academic goals.<em> </em></li><li>Prof Kanshu Rajaratnam, director of the newly established SU School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, elaborated on “Data science and its relevance for us in Africa",<em> </em>including how data science has helped us understand the spread of COVID-19 across the world.</li><li>In the webinar “Creating a functional home office", Prof Sebastian Kernbach, a fellow at Stanford and a lecturer at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland, shared ideas on how to use design thinking principles to create a productive remote work environment. </li><li>SU's Doris Viljoen, a senior futurist at the Institute for Futures Studies, explored how futures thinking could open up doors when planning scenarios in both research and institutions in her session “Scenario Planning".</li><li>Prof Brigitte Smit, an experienced trainer in computer-assisted software at the universities of Alberta and Johannesburg, offered handy tips and tools for data collection, transcription and analysis in<em> “</em>Use of Digital Tools for research". </li><li> In the session, “Tips to get published", novice writers wanting to produce articles for submission to scientific journals were shown the ropes by SU's Prof Leslie Swartz, who himself has published over 400 academic outputs.</li><li>Finally, Intro to Data Visualisation, with Marié Roux of Stellenbosch University's Library and Information Services where she coordinates the #SmartResearcher workshops aimed at postgraduate students, researchers and academic staff. </li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The response has been tremendous: On average, the webinars attracted over 100 participants each, from across all disciplines, with one reaching up to 260 people. All the webinars are publicly available on the ADA's YouTube channel at <a href=""></a>.</p><p>The next Webinar Wednesday features Mr Kirchner van Deventer (SU Library and Information Services), who will be providing a hands-on demonstration of Mendeley referencing management software and share the main features of this powerful programme.</p><p style="text-align:center;"><em>Save the Date: Summer School 2022</em></p><p style="text-align:center;"> Webinar Wednesdays: 20 October 2021 at 12:00 - 13:30 (GMT+2)Mendeley referencing management software </p><p style="text-align:center;">Register <a href=""><span lang="EN-US" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a></p><p> </p><ul><li><em>Those who wish to contribute to Webinar Wednesdays and share their research are invited to contact ADA programme manager Corina du Toit (</em><a href=""><em></em></a><em>).</em></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Emerging Scholars Initiative online and on the go Scholars Initiative online and on the goSU International<p><strong style="text-align:justify;">Emerging Scholars Initiative online and on the go</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Just as the <a href="/english/SUInternational/Pages/Programmes.aspx">Emerging Scholars Initiative (ESI)</a> of SU International's Africa Centre for Scholarship (ACS) started mobilising to host its envisaged multidisciplinary joint schools across Africa in 2020, the pandemic hit. But thanks to some clever footwork and agility, the initiative made the switch to cyberspace and has managed to host its first four schools amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19.</p><p>The ESI seeks to co-host joint schools with 12 Stellenbosch University (SU) partner universities in nine African countries, namely Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. A number of the partner institutions also form part of the prestigious African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), which opens up further opportunities for collaboration and stronger ties between high-ranking African partners. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The initiative serves as an extension of the activities of the African Doctoral Academy (ADA), also situated in the ACS. The ADA's Stellenbosch-based schools, aimed at current and prospective PhD candidates, supervisors and researchers, has reached over 5 600 people from 55 countries since inception in 2009. Moreover, in 2016, the ADA launched its Joint Schools in Africa Programme to provide affordable and quality competency-based learning on-site at African partner institutions so as to enable and enhance scholarship and career training. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The ESI aims to accelerate this objective. Focusing on two streams – one for doctoral students and another for early-career staff, all identified as emerging scholars by their institutions – the project delivers courses on research methodology, supervision, academic writing and publishing as well as generic skills, depending on the needs and priorities of individual institutions. Courses are co-designed by facilitators from SU and from the partner or host institution.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Fortunately, when the coronavirus pandemic compromised the ESI's ability to host these schools on-site, they could draw on the experience of the ADA, which has been hosting its doctoral schools fully online since July 2020. As a result, the ESI too managed to transition to a fully online teaching environment and has, this year to date, already hosted successful online multidisciplinary joint schools with Strathmore University (Kenya) in April, the University of Lagos (Nigeria) in May and June, and the University of Rwanda in August.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Building on the success of these first three schools, the ESI will continue enhancing scholarship in Africa, creating opportunities for collaboration, and strengthening SU's partnerships on the continent. At the same time, SU students gain exposure to new environments in Africa, which increases their global competence and offers enriching cross-cultural experiences.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Visit programme site <a href="/english/SUInternational/Pages/Programmes.aspx">here</a>.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
AUDA-NEPAD launches Centre of Excellence to upscale home-grown innovations in Africa launches Centre of Excellence to upscale home-grown innovations in AfricaAUDA-NEPAD, CSIR & SU<p>​<strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>​</em></strong><span style="text-align:justify;">The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Stellenbosch University (SU), have launched a Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation to upscale and commercialise home-grown innovations on the continent.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The AUDA-NEPAD Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation (AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI) is one of five centres of excellence, which are the African Union's (AU) instruments for leveraging knowledge and science-backed innovations to support accelerated implementation of Agenda 2063. The other centres of excellence are focused on rural resources and food systems; climate resilience; human capital and institutions development; and supply chain and logistics.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Under the unique tripartite partnership, the AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI aims to leverage the research and science capabilities from the continent and connect this to policy and implementation efforts to respond to continental development priorities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over 40 home-grown innovations have already been identified. These are innovations coming out of long-running programmes in SU and CSIR, and represent widely tested and proven technologies or practices ready for upscaling and/or commercialisation across the continent. The innovations cover a wide spectrum of solutions in areas such as health, renewable energy, agriculture, water, and sanitation to support countries in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Building Africa's science, technology and innovation capacities for accelerated and sustainable growth and development is a strategic priority for South Africa's new Decadal Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation.  South Africa is, thus, honoured to host the new Centre of Excellence, which the Department of Science and Innovation is looking forward to cooperate with, building on our historic support for pan-African science programmes.  The Centre of Excellence should also serve as catalyst for enhanced and deepened intra-African cooperation, responding to the challenges presented by Covid-19 and leveraging opportunities such as the new African Continental Free Trade Area", said Daan du Toit on behalf of Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The Covid-19 crisis has shown that Science, Technology and Innovation play a vital role in fighting the devasting impact of the pandemic. The continent needs to look inwards to develop, strengthen and upscale innovations that could help fight the pandemic and build greater resilience in the post-Covid era. Through the CoE-STI partnership with CSIR and SU, AUDA-NEPAD is proud to act as a channel to connect African innovators to governments and clients to roll-out and localise these home-grown solutions. The AUDA-NEPAD Centres of Excellence will bring innovative and agile solutions to scale in critical sectors affected by the pandemic," said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The establishment of this centre signifies the beginning of a huge task that we have set for ourselves, which is to unearth innovations on the continent. In fact, not just to unearth these innovations, but to make sure that they contribute to alleviating the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality in Africa. Our partnership with AUDA-NEPAD and Stellenbosch University will boost Africa's research, development and innovation (RDI) capacity, as well as contribute to the development of technologies and their deployment for socioeconomic transformation in Africa," said Dr Thulani Dlamini, CSIR CEO.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am really excited by what is happening on African soil, with African collaboration and partnerships. If we work together, the possibilities of what we can achieve are endless. Africa driving its own agenda, converting its enormous potential into actual products and services making a positive difference to the lives of our continent's 1.3 billion people is not a far-fetched idea", SU Rector and Vice Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, Vice Chancellor.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI provides a continental platform for supporting and sourcing of funding and other resources for the up-scaling, dissemination and localisation of proven innovations from research and partner organisations. The centre will connect African-driven knowledge and research hubs with other knowledge and research ecosystems across the continent. Furthermore, it will act as a platform for innovators to access alternative options regarding how to reach their clients when rolling out new solutions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The catalogue of innovations will be published on the <a href="">website.</a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong> </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>For further information:</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">AUDA-NEPAD: Abiola Shomang <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">CSIR: David Mandaha <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">SU: Refiloe Nkhasi <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>For technical information, please contact</strong>: Mr Martin Bwalya, Dr Ndumiso Cingo, Dr Nico Elema at <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>About AUDA-NEPAD</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD is the technical body of the African Union. The mandate of AUDA-NEPAD is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of regional and continental priority programmes and projects and to push for partnerships, resource mobilisation, research and knowledge management. Through AUDA-NEPAD, African countries are provided unique opportunities to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together and to cooperate more effectively with international partners. <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Follow us on social media:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twitter: @NEPAD_Agency</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Facebook:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">YouTube: AUDA-NEPAD</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>About CSIR</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The CSIR, an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. For more information, visit</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Follow us on social media:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twitter: @CSIR </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Facebook: CSIRSouthAfrica</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Instagram: CSIRSouthAfrica</p><p style="text-align:justify;">LinkedIn: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Youtube: CSIRNewMedia</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong> </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>About Stellenbosch University</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University (SU) is a leading public higher-education institution in South Africa, which marked its centenary in 2018. With a wide range of local and international partners and stakeholders, SU has a vision to be Africa's leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, that advances knowledge in service of society. As an institution, SU consistently ranks amongst the top three universities in South Africa and Africa and the top 1 percent in the world.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For more information: <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Follow us on social media:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twitter: @StellenboschUni </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Facebook: Stellenboschuniversity</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Instagram: stellenboschuni</p><p style="text-align:justify;">LinkedIn: Stellenbosch University </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Youtube: Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <br></p><p>​<br></p>
Africa has numerous challenges, but also many opportunities has numerous challenges, but also many opportunitiesCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p></p><p>Tuesday (25 May) was Africa Day. In opinion pieces for the media, staff at Stellenbosch University point out that even though Africa faces numerous challenges, it also has many opportunities to achieve sustainable economic development, peace and prosperity. Click on the links below to read the articles as published.</p><ul><li>​Dr Chris Jones (<a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Daily Maverick</strong></a>)</li><li>Prof Firoz Khan (Daily Maverick: <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Part 1</strong></a> & <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Part 2</strong></a>)</li><li>Prof Hester Klopper (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/Klopper_CapeTimes_2021.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Cape Times</strong></a>)<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Excellence in science, technology and innovation for Africa in science, technology and innovation for AfricaWim de Villiers<p><em>An Africa Day op-ed by Prof Wim de Villiers* published by </em>Business Day <em>on 25 May 2021</em><em>. </em><a href=""><em class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>Click here</strong></em></a><em> for that version, or read it below.</em><br></p><p>In light of <strong>Africa Day</strong> on 25 May, and with the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (<strong>NEPAD</strong>) coming up in July, now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at socio-economic advancement on our continent.</p><p>The world is in turmoil: politically, socially and economically. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened some of the cracks in society at large, and the African continent has certainly not been spared any of it. </p><p>Although our continent has many challenges, we also have certain things in our favour. Let me mention just two. We have a habit of “leapfrogging" to the latest technologies and approaches to not only keep up with the rest of the world, but take the lead. And there is already plenty of cooperation taking place on both the geopolitical level and within sectors that are crucial for development. </p><p>In higher education, exciting new developments all over the continent, including at Stellenbosch University (SU), suggest that reports of the demise of the “Africa rising" narrative may have been premature.</p><p>Developmental challenges are what systems scientist Charles W Churchman called “wicked problems" – highly complex questions comprised of interwoven issues whose potential solutions require creative, interdisciplinary thinking. And sociologist David Cooper uses the concept of a “quadruple helix" to identify the partners needed to address societal challenges: the state, industry or businesses, higher education institutions and other civil society structures. We all have to work together.</p><p>The good news is we do not have to reinvent the wheel – we already have examples of solid <strong>collaboration on our continent</strong>. For instance, the five Centres of Excellence (CoEs) established by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) bring various stakeholders together in addressing interconnecting themes: climate resilience (based in Cairo, Egypt), rural resources and food systems (in Dakar, Senegal), human capital and institutions (in Nairobi, Kenya), supply chain and logistics (to be established in a Central African country), and science, technology and innovation (in Stellenbosch, South Africa). </p><p>The <strong>CoE for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)</strong> was set up in November as a trilateral partnership between <strong>AUDA-NEPAD</strong>, South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (<strong>CSIR</strong>) and <strong>SU</strong>. Its location is no coincidence – the Centre is based at the heart of the Stellenbosch innovation ecosystem.</p><p>Tapping into their longstanding collaboration, SU and the CSIR have already selected over <strong>40 knowledge-based innovations and technologies</strong> for rapid upscaling. These represent widely tested and proven technologies or practices which are ready to be taken to the next level – for instance, screening technologies for drug discovery; epidemiological modelling; initiatives around climate change; innovations in water, energy and food security; online learning; and electronic payment systems. </p><p>By implementing home-grown solutions for real-world change across Africa, the AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI will help realise the goals of the AU's <strong>Agenda 2063</strong>, which have been divided into four areas: industrialisation and wealth creation, shared prosperity and transformed livelihoods, human capital development and transformed institutions, as well as natural resources management and environmental resilience. </p><p>Another example of collaboration bearing fruit for Africa is the <strong>School for Data </strong><strong>Science and Computational Thinking</strong> established at SU in 2019. Writing in <em>CIO Africa</em>, tech journalist Jeremy Daniel recently observed, “The importance of data science burst into the public consciousness in 2020, as the world battled to come to grips with the scale of the pandemic. Suddenly, everyone was an amateur data scientist with theories and charts to back it up. But trained African data scientists have been hard to find."</p><p>The SU School for Data Science and Computational Thinking works across faculties, encouraging interdisciplinary research and teaching. This July, the School will offer a week-long course taking anyone with basic computer skills to the point where they can build a sophisticated machine-learning model. Participants aiming for certification will subsidise the cost of those who want the skills but cannot afford the fees.</p><p>This will help meet the demand for data science that is exploding across the continent. Last year, the South African government announced its goals to train one million young people in data science related skills by 2030.</p><p>I am really excited by what is happening on <strong>African soil</strong> with <strong>African collaboration</strong> and partnerships. If we work together, the possibilities of what we can achieve are endless. Africa driving its <strong>own agenda</strong>, converting its enormous potential into actual products and services making a positive difference to the lives of our continent's 1,3 billion people is not a far-fetched idea.</p><p><em>* Professor Wim de Villiers is Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, a founding member </em><em>of the African Research University Alliance. </em><em>He also serves as </em><em>Vice-Chair of Universities South Africa.</em></p><p>​<br></p>
New book tells interesting story of global economic history book tells interesting story of global economic historyCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>How did Einstein help create Eskom? Why can an Indonesian volcano explain the Great Trek? What do the late King Zwelithini and Charlemagne have in common? <br></p><p>These are just some of the interesting questions Prof Johan Fourie from the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University explores in a new book published recently.<br></p><p>Entitled <em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em>, the book, which has been written from a South African perspective, is an accessible global economic history spanning everything from the human migration out of Africa 100,000 years ago to the Covid-19 pandemic.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Longwalk.JPG" alt="Longwalk.JPG" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:249px;height:381px;" /> <br></p><p>Through short and easy-to-read (and sometimes even entertaining) stories about historical events and trends, Fourie tries to answer one of the main questions in economics, namely why some countries are rich and others slow to catch up.<br></p><p>He says the book also discusses new scholarship that is starting to pay more attention to Africa's economic history.</p><p>“Africa's economic history is always at the margins of global economic history. That is for two reasons: many consider Africa to have always been poor and, as such, not worth studying. That is just bad history. <br></p><p>Another reason is that in many cases, historians of Africa have been forced to use sources and methods that economists find difficult to work with. They have thus largely ignored those sources. More recently, this is changing, and it is resulting in a much more fertile field of study."<br></p><p>Fourie points out that several chapters of <em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em> deal with South African history – and the lessons we should learn about what gave rise to (or prevented) a better life for all. </p><p>“Of course we should not only learn from our own history, but perhaps these lessons also help to understand where we are as a country – and might even give us some roadmap about where we should be heading."<br></p><p>“I think humanity has come to the following two revelations: that we can use our knowledge of nature to produce more and better things, and that, secondly, these things that we produce should not be limited to an elite," adds Fourie.<br></p><p>He says that we are profoundly more productive than we were only a century earlier and far more people than ever before are benefiting from this productivity. <br></p><p>“Yes, not everyone is doing so equally, and yes, we have to be concerned about how our actions affect the natural environment, but the fact that we live longer, more healthier lives with higher incomes also allow us to invest in those things that we value, including the environment."<br></p><p>Fourie emphasises that we still have some way to go before we attain economic freedom. <br></p><p>“As long as there are still people that are unable to escape structural poverty, that are unable to find the job they want, unable to obtain the education their ability allows, and unable to live the life they want to lead, we have not yet reached the end. We are certainly making progress, but we are not there yet."<br></p><p>According to Fourie, <em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em> will appeal to a wide audience.</p><p>“I've tried to make the academic publishing of economic history journals accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I've also infused the more quantitative evidence with anecdotes from history. I think readers will enjoy the new perspectives on histories they thought they knew."<br></p><ul><li><em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em> is available from bookstores, Takealot, Loot and Amazon Kindle.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
SU maintains steady performance on global university rankings maintains steady performance on global university rankingsCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) is maintaining its steady performance on the global university rankings and consolidating its place among the world's best tertiary institutions. Having appeared on three major university rankings in 2020, it now also features on the 2021/22 list of top 2 000 universities compiled by the <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Centre for World University Rankings</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>(CWUR). This latest achievement puts SU among the top 1,4% of universities globally.</p><p>This year, CWUR ranked 19 788 institutions, and those that came out on top made the global 2 000 list. SU is ranked at number 435 – only slightly lower than last year – and is one of 13 South African universities on the list.<br></p><p>The CWUR list, which has been issued annually since 2012, is regarded as the largest academic ranking of universities globally. Tertiary institutions are scored on four criteria – quality of education (25%), alumni employment (25%), quality of faculty (10%) and research performance (40%) – without relying on surveys and universities' own data submissions. <br></p><p>In March this year, SU ranked among the world's top universities on the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings as well.<br></p><p>​<br></p>