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Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctoratehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6370Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receives third honorary doctorateCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation at Stellenbosch University (SU), received an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in Grahamstown on Friday (12 April 2019). This was her third honorary degree after having been honoured in similar fashion by Holy Cross College in Massachusetts, USA and Friedlich Shiller University Jena in Germany. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela, an alumna of Rhodes University, received the degree Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, for her trailblazing work to research topics such as guilt, remorse, forgiveness, the dialogue between perpetrators and victims as well as the way in which trauma is experienced by individuals and in political systems. <br></p><p>Rhodes University praised her for her contribution to trauma research and her efforts to relay the stories of victims, to humanise offenders and to bring a message of hope, empathy, dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation to a society characterised by violence and trauma. <br></p><p>In her <a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/A%20New%20Vision%20of%20the%20Postclolonial%20-%20Rhodes%20Award.pdf" style="text-decoration:underline;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>acceptance speech</strong></span>​</a>, Gobodo-Madikizela expressed her gratitude for the honour bestowed upon her. She said she was fully aware of the honour and challenge locked up in this award that came from a university that encouraged his alumni to lead and to be torchbearers. She encouraged the graduands to take up their places as leaders in society and to campaign for justice and equity. <br></p><p>This is the third time that Gobodo-Madikizela was honoured by Rhodes University. She received the institution's Social Change and Distinguished Old Rhodian Award in 2010 and 2017 respectively. </p><p>She was a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Human Rights Violations Committee. She has received several international and national awards and the National Research Foundation has acknowledged her as a researcher of high international standing.<br></p><p>Since 2017, Gobodo-Madikizela has been serving as research advisor and global academic at the Queen's University in Belfast. This position is affiliated to the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice where she holds a World Leading Researcher Professorship. <br></p><p>Gobodo-Madikizela also held research fellowships at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard Kennedy School's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the Claude Ake Visiting Chair, a collaboration between the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at the Uppsala University in Sweden and the Nordic Africa Institute. <br></p><p>Profs George Ellis, Ian Scott, Glenda Gray and Ms Okunike Monica Okundaye-Davis also received honorary doctorates at the same graduation ceremony in Grahamstown. SU awarded an honorary degree to Gray in 2017. <br></p><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela receiving her honorary doctorate from Dr Adele Moodly, Registrar of Rhodes University.<br></p><ul><li>The University of Cape Town will award an honorary doctoral degree to Prof Jonathan Jansen, Distinguished Professor at SU's Faculty of Education, in December 2019. <br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Endler Concert Series UNLOCKED ONLINEhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7583Endler Concert Series UNLOCKED ONLINEFiona Grayer<p>​Like many other performance spaces in the world, the Endler Concert Series, as part of the Music Department at Stellenbosch University, had to suspend its weekly concerts due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures put in place to contain the virus. Artists and various role-players in the sector are looking to online platforms as an interim measure that could offer artists some financial recourse in the face of months of lost work that evaporated due to the global pandemic, as well as to find a way to maintain contact with audiences in this time of social distancing and little contact.<br></p><p>The Endler Concert Series has taken the initiative to revise the 2020 concert planning and gather resources to be able to present an online concert every two weeks from 23 August until December 2020, featuring students, alumni, lecturers and local artists. “The vision is to keep the Endler concert hall alive, until we return to face-to-face events, so that audiences can safely enjoy professionally produced concerts from their homes," says Fiona Grayer, Artistic Manager. “I am so pleased this online series strongly supports local content and in fact, seven out of the eight concerts feature works by South African composers! In addition to this, we are commissioning two Cape Town composers, Hugo Veldsman and Matthijs van Dijk, to create new works that will live beyond this crisis."<br></p><p> “Concerts will be entirely free, but if people wish to show support, donations will be possible via a SnapScan with these contributions from the audience going towards recuperating the costs of recording and producing the concerts. For the SU Jazz Band concert in September, donations will go directly to a charity – the Stellenbosch Work Centre for Adult Persons with Disabilities, who annually partner with the SU Jazz Band to raise much needed funds for the Centre. The SU Jazz Band concert is generously supported by SAMRO and ConcertsSA."<br></p><p>“We take great pride in our curation of these concerts which present a wide variety of music including rarely performed works by Nadia Boulanger and Rebecca Clarke. It is a new world for the music industry - events can be produced from anywhere and broadcast to a global audience. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our audiences, musicians, and students. It has become very clear that large groups of people will not be able to safely gather for the remainder of the calendar year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, we are exploring options for concerts of our Departmental ensembles in smaller gatherings when possible but for now we hope our audience will join us in the virtual concert hall."​<br></p><p>For more detailed information about where to watch, when to watch, who will be performing, what will be performed please visit <a href="http://www.endler.sun.ac.za/">www.endler.sun.ac.za</a> or follow @sukonservatorium on Instagram or like the Stellenbosch Konservatorium Facebook page.<br><br></p><p><br></p>
SU helping youth to thrive through Latinhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7161SU helping youth to thrive through LatinAsiphe Nombewu /Corporate Communication<p>​​Whoever thought that the ancient language Latin was “dead" and that learning Latin held no benefits for our modern youth, might have to rethink this notion.<br></p><p>When visiting Stellenbosch University's (SU's) department of Ancient Studies, based in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, on a Friday afternoon, one soon discovers that Latin classes can play an integral part in school children's learning process.</p><p>At 15:00 every Friday, up to 70 Grade 8 and 9 learners from Kayamandi, Cloetesville, Lückhoff, Stellenbosch and Rhenish Girls' High Shool and Paul Roos Gymnasium gather at the department for their free lessons to journey into this ancient language. </p><p>According to Prof Annemaré Kotzé, Head of the department, the project was launched in June 2019  to serve the Faculty of Arts and Social Science's vision of broadening access to SU, especially to learners from under-resourced communities, as it improves university readiness and academic literacy in learners. Since its inception, it has grown from five to 70 learners. </p><p>Kotzé says Latin vocabulary acquisition can contribute to greater ease in reading scholarly books and articles, often written in sophisticated academic English.</p><p>“Our specific and very important contribution to broadening access would lie in contributing to academic literacy and university readiness in general for these learners," she notes.</p><p>“Learning an ancient language like Latin develops precision, attention to detail, interpretive abilities and critical thinking. These are all skills that we find are not well developed enough in the majority of first-year students when they arrive at university," Kotzé explains. </p><p>Kotze hopes the project will result in sustained and significant improvement in the academic performances of the learners and that the access to this type of learning and familiarity with and access to the University will lead to broadened university access for previously excluded communities.</p><p>As the project has grown, the number of volunteers have also increased to 15–20 volunteers. They are all SU students keen on developing their teaching skills and honing their knowledge of the Latin language while fostering a sense of responsibility and participation in the wider community. </p><p>For Shani Viljoen, a student at the Ancient Studies Department and one of the teachers at the programme, the classes are about social contact between groups who may not normally come into contact with each other.</p><p>“It's so nice starting them all in a new subject where no one is at an advantage. I love witnessing them engage with each other and learning together. We hope that this project is a place of safety for them. This project is also good for those attending single-gender schools to interact with the opposite gender in a classroom environment for the first time in their school careers."</p><p>Viljoen adds that one of the challenges has been securing funding for the project. “Some of our learners rely solely on us to provide them with transport. We also want to get to a place where we are able to give each learner a sandwich and juice after or before the classes."</p><p>She says the influence the learners' knowledge of Latin has on their English vocabulary is gauged through small informal tests. <br></p><p><br></p>
Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work Dayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4356Social Work Department celebrates World Social Work DayLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Earlier this year, the Social Work Department celebrated World Social Work Day 2016 (WSWD) along with a number of institutions across the world who also focus on the social work profession. WSWD is celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of March. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">By participating in this event, social workers are able to express international solidarity and bring common messages to governments, regional bodies and to the communities they serve. The theme for this and last year's WSWD was selected from the <a href="http://ifsw.org/get-involved/agenda-for-social-work/">Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development</a>. The Agenda was formulated in 2010 by social worker practitioners, educators and development workers at a meeting in Hong Kong in 2010 and reaffirmed "the need [for persons working within this profession] to organise around  major and relevant social issues that connect within and across" their professions. The Agenda consists of four themes which are focused on promoting social and economic equalities; promoting the dignity and worth of peoples; working towards environmental sustainability; and strengthening recognition of the importance of human relationships. Each theme is focused on for two consecutive years, with 2016 marking the second year that WSWD has centered its activities on Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"As staff members of the Social Work Department we take great pride in being social workers ourselves and even more so being an integral part of training and shaping the minds of our students to become excellent social workers. At our university we are in the privileged position be able to allow our students to make a social work impact on real clients, with real needs in real communities, from the first year of their studies in a manner that promotes the dignity and worth of people," said Ms Tasneemah Cornelissen-Nordien, a lecturer in the Social Work Department. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Department celebrated the day with a number of activities, amongst them a talk for first-year students which was presented by International Master's degree student, Sever Altunay, from Gothenburg University in Sweden and focused on the Impact of the Global Agenda for Social Work. Fourth-year students were also able to participate in an academic discussion with students in a postgraduate social work class from Coventry University in the United Kingdom through a video-conferencing session via Skype and shared their experiences of social work in the two countries. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Gary Spolander, a guest lecturer from Conventry University, presented a lecture to all social work students and staff based at Stellenbosch University. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This lecture stimulated insightful self-reflection and debates with others and aimed to motivate the social workers to continue to achieve great things within society, to not only make a difference in the lives of the individuals to whom services are rendered, but to work towards making an impact on government policy, to having the voices of social workers heard in parliament, and to striving towards making a difference on the political front in our country. WSWD 2016 yet again reminded the social work profession of its ethical responsibility to make politicians and government aware of the apparent ethical unawareness by which our country is currently being governed. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On the day, the top achievers for 2015 were also recognised and were presented with certificates for their academic achievement in Social Work. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This day allowed our department to unite for human dignity and reminded us of our courage, strength, passion and will to make a difference in the lives of others," said Mr Zibonele Zimba, a lecturer in the Social Work Department.</p>
Students design concept packaging for Politics of Nature™ board gamehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7193Students design concept packaging for Politics of Nature™ board gameMedia & Communication, Faculty of Science<p>A Danish PhD student's project to encapsulate the ideas of the French philosopher Bruno Latour  in a board game, have kept the third-year Visual Communication and Design students at Stellenbosch University up until the wee hours of the night recently.<br></p><p>They had to come up with concept packaging ideas for the <a href="http://www.politicsofnature.org/">Politics of Nature (PoN) board game</a> – a serious table top game that is being used to explore new ways of democracy whilst at the same time addressing urgent societal and environmental challenges. </p><p>The board game was originally conceived by Jakob Raffn and his collaborator, Frederik Lassen. Jakob is currently a PhD student in agricultural systems and sustainability at Aarhus University, Denmark. The aim of PoN is to explore how Latour's political philosophy, <a href="https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674013476&content=reviews">the Politics of Nature</a>, could work in practice.</p><p>According to Jakob, it was Cape Town's water crises in 2018 that led him to collaborate with Dr Charon Büchner-Marais at the Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI), and co-founder of the Stellenbosch River Collaborative.</p><p>“I hoped that the crises would give me an opportunity to experiment with this new take on governance," Jacob explains.</p><p>This led to another collaboration with Corbin Raymond, a lecturer in the Visual Arts Department. In March 2019, under the auspices of SUWI and supervised by Corbin, visual arts student Nadia Stroh designed a local version of the Politics of Nature game to be played by stakeholders in the Eerste River catchment.</p><p>This year, Corbin and Jakob again worked with the third year students to design concept packaging for the game. This included briefing sessions, physically playing the game themselves, and individual discussion and feedback sessions.</p><p>Jakob says these interactions are part of his project of “making science matter": “There are people who cannot imagine a different world. In this game, we are combining a myriad of disciplines to provide people with the tools to start imagining and building a new common world. We cannot do it with the current governance tools at our disposal."</p><p>According to Corbin, the design project has given students a valuable opportunity to interact directly with Jacob, and to work with him to come up with design ideas for a real-world product.<br></p><p><br></p>
Social work more than just a job for Dr Abigail Ornellashttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5542Social work more than just a job for Dr Abigail OrnellasSonika Lamprecht/Corporate Communication Division<p style="text-align:justify;">For many people choosing a career is a difficult decision, but for others, life experiences point them in a direction and it becomes a calling. Dr Abigail Ornellas, who received her PhD in Social Work this week, is one of the latter.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ornellas and her twin brother were adopted when she was almost five years old, after spending four years in foster care. “The family who adopted us is incredible and has given us an amazing life and opportunities we probably would never have had. This has always given me a sense of wanting to make my life count for something. I was the first in the family to go to university and get a degree. They have been incredibly supportive and are very proud of me.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My experience in foster care has made me intrinsically aware of the importance of social work and the impact it can have on a life. Some of the experiences I went through as a child have also helped me in social work practice, to understand the importance of opportunity. This is all people really need to truly step into who they are. It has kept me humble."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, it wasn't until closer to the end of her social work bachelor's degree that she began to realise how much more the profession was capable of and responsible for, and its complex history.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In her fourth year of social work studies, she worked at a local state hospital and spent a lot of time working in the mental health ward. “My biological mother had dealt with mental illness, and so this was an area of interest for me. But I hadn't realised how social work could play an important role in this field. I became increasingly aware of the struggles in mental health as many public mental health facilities were being shut down due to deinstitutionalisation."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This sparked an interest in the concept of deinstitutionalisation and she decided to focus her Masters on exploring this phenomenon in South Africa. “This was my first real entry into the world of social policy. What I would later realise was that deinstitutionalisation was linked to a much bigger concept – neoliberalism, which emphasises individualism, inequality as a driver for economic growth, protection of the privileged and elite, the commodification of care, the privatisation of services, and the idea that welfare creates dependency. These are all in direct contradiction to the social work values of collectivism, social justice, social cohesion and human dignity."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Following her Masters, she worked as a research fellow on an international staff exchange scheme for two years where teams from 11 different countries actively mapped the impact of neoliberalism on social care and welfare. “This experience had the greatest impact on my career goals in social work and academic research. It gave me that bigger picture. Living in different countries working with social workers who have incredible stories and varied backgrounds opened my eyes to the vastness of our profession. I truly fell in love with it. I began to understand that social work has a responsibility to resist global socioeconomic changes that did not serve people."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Something one of her professors said stuck with her. When talking about the concept of giving a person a fish as opposed to teaching them how to fish, he added, “but it doesn't help teaching someone to fish, if there is a fence around the pond".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That day I decided I would commit myself to finding ways of removing the fence – and that is macro and structural, and in my opinion, at the heart of the social work profession. We need to confront the system in which social injustice occurs at the individual level, to tackle things from the outward in."  <br></p><p><br></p>
Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7411Ten SU finalists compete for SA’s ‘Science Oscars’ Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​​Over the past few years, Stellenbosch University (SU) has featured prominently at the annual <a href="http://www.nstf.org.za/awards/about/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)/ South32Awards</strong></a>. This year is no different with 10 SU finalists competing for the 2019/2020 NSTF/South32 Awards at South Africa's “Science Oscars". As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of the winners will take place through a live-streamed Gala Event on Thursday, 30 July 2020.</p><p>Regarded as the most sought-after national accolades of their kind in the country, the NSTF/South32 Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the outstanding contributions of individuals, teams and organisations to science, engineering and technology (SET) in the country. Among the competitors are experienced scientists, engineers, innovators, science communicators, engineering capacity builders, organisational managers and leaders, as well as data and research managers.<br></p><p>According to the organisers, it is an extraordinary honour to be a finalist given the quality of the nominations received every year, the fierce competition that nominees face and growing interest from the SET community over the years.<br></p><p>The SU finalists (with department or environment) and the categories in which they will compete are as follows:<br></p><p><em>Lifetime Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Leslie Swartz </strong>(Department of Psychology)</li></ul><p><em>TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Researcher:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Christine Lochner</strong> (South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders and Department of Psychiatry)</li></ul><p><em>TW Kambule-NSTF Award: Emerging Researcher:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Dr Wynand Goosen</strong> (Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences)</li><li><strong>Prof Richard Walls</strong> (Fire Engineering Research Unit)</li><li><strong>Dr Jacqueline Wormersley</strong> (Department of Psychiatry)</li></ul><p><em>​NSTF-Lewis Foundation Green Economy Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Prof Thinus Booysen</strong><em> </em>(Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering). He is also a finalist in the <em>NSTF-Water Research Commission Award</em> category.</li></ul><ul><li><strong>Prof Wikus van Niekerk</strong> (Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies)</li><li><strong>Sharksafe (Pty) Ltd</strong> with CEO and Co-Inventor Prof Conrad Matthee (Department of Botany and Zoology)</li></ul><p><em>Data for Research Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Stellenbosch University Computed Tomography Scanner Facility Team with Leader Prof Anton du Plessis </strong>(Department of Physics)</li></ul><p><em>Communication Award:</em></p><ul><li><strong>Dr Rehana Malgas-Enus</strong> (Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science)​<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Departments in Arts Faculty and others collaborate for Women’s Day concerthttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5142Departments in Arts Faculty and others collaborate for Women’s Day concertFiona Grayer<p style="text-align:justify;">​​The Music Department in partnership with Stellenbosch University's (SU) Transformation Office, the Visual Arts Department and the Women's Forum presented a concert in celebration of Women's Day in August in the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch. The SU Jazz Band took centre stage under the direction of Felicia Lesch joined by South African jazz legend Gloria Bosman and jazz singer and poet Mihi-Tuwi Matshingana.<br><br>The evening was specifically dedicated to honouring the memory of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke – the first black South African woman to obtain tertiary education and who graduated in the USA in 1901. Her mantra, “When you rise, lift someone up with you", is a maxim that artists Felicia Lesch, Bosman and Matshingana all embrace.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Lesch is passionate about music as a vehicle for social change and formed the SU Jazz Band as one of the ensembles of the Certificate Programme. The Certificate Programme is the pre-undergraduate programme of the SU Music Department which was created to empower students with skills to embark on a BMus or Diploma programme at tertiary level. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Matshingana completed a BCom degree at SU in 2014, during which time she also studied in the Music Department's Certificate Programme, a programme to which she paid homage on stage. She is currently a third-year Jazz Studies student at Wits University in Johannesburg.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">South African author and journalist Zubeida Jaffer's third book “<em>Beauty of the heart</em>", which is a tribute to Maxeke and also provides fresh information on her life, was available for purchase at the event. Jewellery from an jewellery exhibition by Kutlwano Cele, a student in the Visual Arts Department, was also on sale.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SRC and many students from other departments and faculties supported the concert.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“For some this was their first “Endler experience", which made it a particularly joyful event," said Monica du Toit of the Transformation Office.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Special guests from within the Arts Faculty, the Women's Forum, the Gender Equality Unit, SU Museum, SU Transformation Office and community partners of the Music Department's own Certificate Programme also attended the Woman's Day Celebration Concert. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The event was a moment of institutional belonging and connection with new people at our institution."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We look forward to more meaningful collaborations in the future and honour the women (and men) on stage who are using music as a vehicle to liberate, educate, rage and dream," added Du Toit.​​<br></p>
Vicariate of Rome and Italian Government invite Van Niekerk to speak at international jubileehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=3973Vicariate of Rome and Italian Government invite Van Niekerk to speak at international jubileeLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Prof Anton van Niekerk, a Distinguished Professor in Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has been invited to participate in a debate on research centres in Rome, Italy, by the Vicariate of Rome and the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Van Niekerk will participate in the debate <em>Research, Development and Common Good: the Role of Research Centres</em> along with other distinguished professors and experts from countries like the United Kingdom, Poland and Canada. The debate forms part of a greater forum called The Jubilee of Universities and of Research Centres and of Institutions of the Artistic Higher Education which is taking place in September this year.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"I was quite surprised when I received the invitation," says Van Niekerk as he talks about the upcoming debate. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years Van Niekerk's research has mainly concentrated on the areas of bioethics, the philosophy of religion and the philosophy of the social sciences. As a researcher rated by the National Research Foundation as someone with considerable international recognition, he has done extensive research in the areas of the moral problematic related to HIV/Aids in Africa, ethical issues related to new genetic technologies, moral theories, the history and social functions of bioethics in South Africa, research ethics, models of rationality, hermeneutics, contemporary models of religious faith and the pragmatist notion of religion. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Van Niekerk is also one of the pioneers in the establishment of bioethics as an academic discipline in South Africa and was one of the founding members of the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA), first serving on its board from 2000 and then taking over as Chairman in 2003. From 2007 to 2012, he was Director of the International Association of Bioethics and served as a member of the Ethics Committee of the South African Medical Research Council from 2001 to 2013. Since 2009, he is the Chairperson of the Research Ethics Committee of Stellenbosch University's Senate. In 2013 he was appointed as a member of the National Health Research Ethics Council (NHREC) by the South African Minister of Health. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He has written, edited and co-authored 19 books and more than 150 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. His most recent books include E<em>thics and Aids in Africa: the challenge to our thinking</em> (2006), <em>Geloof sonder sekerhede</em> (2005, with a second, thoroughly revised edition in 2014) and <em>Rasionaliteit en relativisme</em> (1994). Van Niekerk is also a former editor of the <em>South African Journal of Philosophy and has </em>been a distinguished guest professor at the universities of East Carolina (USA), Utrecht and Radboud (Netherlands), and Linköping (Sweden), Louvain (Belgium), Cape Town and the Witwatersrand. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The theme for this year's forum will be <em>Knowledge and Mercy: The Third Mission of the University. </em>Van Niekerk's own talk, he says, will therefore focus on the broad theme of technological innovation and moral responsibility.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"I have done extensive research about the ethics of biotechnology and human improvement. There is also enormous interest in this field, in particular because of the amazing  potential,  of biotechnology – from new medicines that have been developed and that can zoom in on the most minute detail of our biological composition to how to lengthen the normal lifespan of human beings," explains Van Niekerk. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Of course there are also fears that extending human life can lead to the development of a new race of "post-humans". There are also widespread fears that the apparent striving for human perfection via these new technologies will foster renewed intolerance as well as discrimination against disabled persons. I can understand that fear," says van Niekerk, "however, I also believe that we can develop a better world in the process, in particular with relation to the biomedical terrain. The efforts to correct human disability do not imply a rejection of or discrimination against disable people".</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He cites vaccination as an example of how advances in science have enhanced the human race via technological innovation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"One of the most obvious ways we have improved the world we live in is via the improvement of vaccination methods," says Van Niekerk. "Years ago when we first started doing stem cell research, many people were worried that it would lead to the artificial breeding of embryos for stem cell research. New developments since then have shown that our ability to manipulate cells and even reprogram bodily cells will make the need for embryos to produce stem cells unnecessary. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While research has developed, so has the research ethics committees governing those processes. All new medical and scientific research are subjected to committee reviews and their requirements are quite strict, says Van Niekerk.   </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"These committees allow us to think about how we promote what is good about advances in the biomedical field, how advances in medical and biological sciences can benefit people and, at the same time, ensure that scientists meet the required ethical standards when conducting their research. Because of these committees and research about bioethics, there is also a stronger focus on the ethical training of medical personnel - something that did not happen 20 to 30 years ago." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As part of his talk, Van Niekerk will also focus on what responsible scientific research entails and specifically how one applies such responsibility within research units in universities. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This will be a very interesting experience," says Van Niekerk. "I have to admit that I have always been interested in Catholicism even though I am not Catholic myself. This conference is not only a great opportunity to build up new contacts and extend my network, but I will also be able to meet the Pope. This is not the kind of thing that happens to one every day, so I am quite excited and very honoured to be awarded this opportunity." </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: </em><em> </em><em>Prof Anton van Niekerk, a Distinguished Professor in Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has been invited to participate in a debate on research centres in Rome, Italy, by the Vicariate of Rome and the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) in September this year.</em><span style="line-height:1.6;">​</span><span style="line-height:1.6;"> </span></p>
SU Chamber Choir completes hugely successful Hong Kong tourhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5102 SU Chamber Choir completes hugely successful Hong Kong tourFiona Grayer<p><span style="text-align:justify;">The</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> </span><span style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University Chamber Choir (SUCC) has just returned from a hugely successful tour to Hong Kong. The choir was invited as Artist Choir in Residence</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> </span><span style="text-align:justify;">to </span><span style="text-align:justify;">the 2017 World Youth & Children's Choir Festival</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-align:justify;text-decoration-line:line-through;"> </span><span style="text-align:justify;">which took place from 17-22 July 2017</span><span style="text-align:justify;">. An invitation of this nature can be considered both a great and rare honour.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The World Youth and Children's Choir Festival is one of the most important choral festivals in the world, and attracts 200 participating choirs from across the globe. SUCC's concerts were listened to by around 5000 participants and performances were live-streamed worldwide. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Founded and conducted by Martin Berger, this young ensemble has developed into one of South Africa's leading chamber choirs: internationally respected and locally relevant. With the diversity of its repertoire, SUCC represents the variety of choral music styles to be found in the country.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The choir performed at the Opening Ceremony of the festival on 18 July, a full evening concert on 19 July and also at the 20<sup>th</sup> Anniversary Celebration Concert of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  All performances were received with overwhelming enthusiasm from the audience.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">SUCC was honoured by the presence and support of the South African Consul-General to Hong Kong, Mr Madoda Ntshinga, at both the Opening Ceremony and the full evening concert. He commended the choir on “…raising the South African flag even much higher as true ambassadors of our country." <br></p>