In her address titled South Africa: The Quest for Belonging and Social Cohesion, Prof de la Rey focused on the psychological importance of location and belonging, and also shared her perspectives on the role of education in building cohesion in South Africa.
Professor de la Rey cited the University of Pretoria as the one of the academic institutions which has an important role in building social cohesion in South Africa.
“The University of Pretoria recognises that it is not enough to merely produce highly skilled graduates, but also to create an educational experience that will contribute to developing graduates who will be role models and leaders in building a better society…Our first years all become involved in a number of programmes and activities that are designed to develop good citizenship”, said Prof de la Rey.
Prof de la Rey also mentioned that through a sense of belonging, community individuals can act in a way that bring about positive social outcomes. This involves the willingness of people in a society to cooperate with one another in order to survive and prosper.
“In South Africa we have existing nodes of social cohesion from which we can build and extend throughout society. Our challenge is to extend these experiences of social cooperation across the historical divides of race so that we can build a peaceful and prosperous South Africa”, said Prof de la Rey.
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