Newsletter June 2009

Posted on June 01, 2009

DEPARTMENT OF

POLITICAL SCIENCES

NEWSLETTER

June 2009

 

 

Dear Students,

 

As usual the Department had a very busy semester and a full programme. This newsletter serves to inform you about our activities, many in which our students participated and we thank you for your interest and support. A Department’s success is as dependent on its students as it is on its staff.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS SEMESTER

Prof Maxi Schoeman, who has recently been appointed to another four year term as Head of Department, has spent a month at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in Uppsala, Sweden. During her time with the Foundation, she presented a talk to Swedish parliamentarians in the ‘Rikstag’ on China-Africa relations, two seminars in Copenhagen (on SA-Zimbabwe relations and on the APRM) and participated in a range of seminars and discussions covering topics from the SA national elections to the future of development theory.

 

In January, Prof Sandy Africa attended the Global Facilitation Network for Security Reform’s (GFN-SSR) bi-annual meeting, in her capacity as a member of its Advisory Group. The two-day meeting, which was held in Maputo, Mozambique, brought together the GFN-SSR Advisory Group and a high level delegation from the Mozambican security sector.

 

Prof Schoeman also formed part of the NEPAD African Peer Review Country Mission to Lesotho in March/April this year. Heading the mission was Prof Adebayo Adedeji, chair of the APRM Panel of the Wise. The Review Team included members from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Burundi, Sudan and Uganda.

 

Prof Hussein Solomon participated in a workshop on “American Foreign Policy: Regional Perspectives” hosted by the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, US in May. Following this, he left for London, where he attended a conference on “South Africa in the World: A post-transition foreign policy”. The topic of the paper that he presented at this conference was “South Africa’s politics of peace and security in Africa: Heroes or villains?”

During April 2009, Dr Yolanda Spies visited Washington DC and Boston MA as a guest of the US State Department, in their International Visitor Leadership Programme. She met with a range of students, academics, congressional staff, US diplomats and researchers at think tanks, and delivered a brown bag lecture on South Africa's democratic prospects at Simmons College.

 

Mr Roland Henwood lectured a group of students from the Centre for African Studies, University of Florida (Florida, USA) on “Politics in South Africa after the elections of April 2009.” and “Political developments in the SADC region”.

Conferences, workshops and lecturers

Profs Africa and Anton du Plessis participated in a SADC-Pax Africa Conference on Human Security in March 2009 at Kopanong Hotel in Benoni. The conference was aimed at discussing the possible role civil society organisations within South and Southern Africa could play in enhancing regional human security. The meeting was attended by representatives from the SADC Secretariat, donor governments and civil society organisations.

 

Prof Africa delivered two guest lectures. The first was on the issue: “Oversight of Intelligence Finances in South Africa”, which was hosted in March by the Centre for Defence and Security Management at WITS University. The second lecture was entitled “Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) processes - prospects for success and challenges”. It was presented in May on the Military Gender Advisors’ Course, at the South African Peace Missions training Centre, Pretoria.

Dr Spies guest lectured in the new Masters in Interdisciplinary Human Rights Law programme in the UP Law Faculty, and to cadets at the South African Diplomatic Academy.

 

Mr Henwood lectured at the Centre for Human Rights and the South African National Defence College. He also gave a talk at the Induction course for new members of UP Academic staff on: Assessment - practices in the Department of Political Sciences”. In April Mr Henwood delivered a paper at the Electoral Commissions Forum of SADC Countries entitled: “The historical and political context of the RSA elections”. Mr Henwood also addressed various interest groups in the run-up to the general elections of 22 April 2009. He was interviewed on the April 2009 South African election and outcome by local and international newspapers, radio and TV.

 

Sabbaticals

Prof Du Plessis and Prof Marié Muller are on sabbatical at present, as is Prof Schoeman. Prof Miti was on sabbatical during the first quarter of this year.

 

Publications

 

Prof Schoeman published an article “China and Africa: whose challenge and whose opportunity” in Afrika Spectrum.

 

Prof Africa’s contribution to a symposium on the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), was published in the peer-reviewed journal Contemporary Security Policy of April 2009. Together with Prof Boubacar N’Diaye from Wooster University, USA, she co-wrote a response to the article “Troubled Infancy, Promising Future” by James J.F Forest and Rebecca Crispin.

Prof Hussein Solomon wrote a chapter entitled “Global Security in an Age of Religious Fundamentalism,” in a book Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Global Issues, edited by James Harf and Mark Lombardi.

 

Prof Solomon is also responsible for an article in the January 2009 edition of Africa Insight, entitled “Al Qaeda in the Maghreb”. His two contributions to two Occasional Papers were “War in Gaza: Another Take,” www.mideastweb.org and “Durban II: A Bitter and Divisive Farce,” www.bitterlemons-international.org.

ISSUP, under the leadership of Prof Mike Hough, published three ISSUP Bulletins during the first five months of 2009. The titles of the Bulletins are as follows:

 

· South African borders: How much control is left?

· The global arms trade and South Africa's involvement

· South African Army priorities and roles in the 21st century.

The first Strategic Review for Southern Africa for 2009 was published in May.

The Centre for International Political Studies (CIPS)

CIPS started 2009 with a continuation of the renowned African Dialogue Lecture Series. One of the first highly regarded speakers was HE Dr Per Stig Møller, Denmark’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr Møller’s presentation took place in January and it focused on “The Broad Security Concept: Adapting Policies to the Challenges of the 21st Century”.

 

Notable speakers followed, with Mr Clem Sunter, an Independent Scenario Planning Consultant, discussing “The World and South Africa in the 2010s: The Latest Scenarios in February, and Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Executive Chair of Circle Capital Ventures, who presented: “A Briefing on South Africa’s Future” in early May.

 

On the 6th of March CIPS had the privilege of co-hosting International Women’s Day with the United Nations, the Commission for Gender Equality and the UP Centre for Gender Studies. This event included a multi-stakeholder panel discussion on “Reducing the burden of HIV/Aids on women and girls through equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women”.

 

CIPS hosted a Round-Table discussion for the Executive National Security Programme (ENSP) of the South African National Defence College in April. This discussion, which was chaired by Prof Africa, was on “The economy as a driver for national security” and the guest speaker was Mr Gene Ravele, Chief Customs Officer of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

 

Security was again the highlight of a CIPS round table discussion, when on the 12th of May, Prof Africa chaired a discussion on “Global trends affecting the national security of South Africa”. The guest speaker was Prof Garth le Pere, our professor extraordinaire and Executive Director of the Institute for Global Dialogue. The South African Defence College and their guests from the U.S War College were in attendance, as well as our Master of Diplomatic Studies (MDIPS) students.

 

Other experts invited by CIPS to discuss national security were Mr Peter Draper on the 29th of April and Mr Barry Gilder on the 16th of March. They both presented lectures to the South African National Defence College and distinguished guests.

Brown bag seminars and guest lecturers

 

We had two Brown Bag seminars in February and one in April. Prof Willie Breytenbach was our first guest speaker. His topic: “Applying the Bratton and Van de Walle Multivariate Model using the thinking of Przeworski, the UN development Index and Freedom Hose rankings.”

 

Mr Yim Sung-joon, President of the Korea Foundation was our second speaker and he informed the audience on “Korea-South Africa: Cooperation as Middle Powers”.

 

Prof Africa presented the third brown bag seminar on “Secrecy and Democracy: weaknesses in South Africa’s policy framework”.

 

Dr Dan Allman, from the University of Toronto, was the guest speaker at a seminar jointly presented by this department and the Department of Sociology. His theme: “Social inclusion – towards the architecture of a concept.”

Master of Diplomatic Studies (MDIPS)

 

The new Master of Diplomatic Studies (MDIPS) programme, customised during 2008 for the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, has been progressing well and is about to receive a second intake of senior South African diplomats, while the first intake will proceed with the individual research component of their two-year degree. The 12 MDIPS participants, with their wealth of practical experience in the field of diplomacy, have added value to the Department's activities, engaging in round-table seminars and discussions with other post-graduate students and academics, acting as adjudicators during the 2nd year IPL Model UN debate, and in general enhancing the practice-meets-theory approach of our taught masters programmes.

 

During February, the world renowned Dutch expert in negotiation skills from Clingendael Institute, Paul Meerts, presented a week-long seminar in international negotiation. Other participants included staff from the Department and senior South African diplomats, among them the MDIPS students.

Research project: the EU and multilateralism.

 

It is with pride that we announce that Dr Lorenzo Fioramonti, a former post-doctoral associate in the department, has been awarded a research fellowship with us for 2009/2010. The department has received a grant from the EU Framework 7 Programme to participate in a research project on the EU and multilateralism. Prof Schoeman is the UP project leader and Prof Gerrit Olivier, Dr Spies, Dr Fioramonti and Mr Henwood are involved in the project, ably assisted by Mr Julian Kitipov, Mr Casper Claassen and Ms Alida Kok.

 

Simulation game: Political Conflict

 

On 8 May 2009, the Honour’s class in Political Conflict hosted its simulation game in the Dean’s Committee. The exercise was a simulation of a meeting between the EU and various countries and organisations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations, concerning Iran’s nuclear programme, where the goal was to get Iran to halt both its missile development and uranium enrichment programme. In exchange, Iran was to receive various security guarantees and economic incentives.

 

The students represented the various countries and organisations involved and were required to thoroughly research their respective official positions on the subject, as well as the character of the leaders they were role-playing. The meeting was chaired by the lecturer, Prof Solomon, portraying the EU’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. The exercise was also diligently adjudicated by two of the Department of Political Sciences’ lecturers, Prof Africa and Mr Edge.

The Model United Nations debate

 

The IPL 210 Students impressed us with their knowledge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Model United Nations Debate held on the 14th of May 2009. The debate was entitled “The proposals for the resolution of a future state of Palestine.” The debate showcased the professionalism of the UN Security Council with class and youthful exuberance. The occasion was not only vibrant but also informative. In attendance were Mr Sudeshan Reddy; Deputy Head of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Pretoria, as chief adjudicator and the Master of Diplomatic Students as members of the adjudicating panel. Attending as Observer was HE Ali Halimeh, the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to South Africa.

 

Congratulations to our winners, the Venezuela team and also to Ms Alexandra Young, the best speaker. Thank you to Mr Shaun Edge and Mr Julian Kitipov, who were in charge of training and assisting the students in their preparation for the debate. A special word of thanks to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Institute for Global Dialogue (IGD) and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) for sponsoring the prizes.

General Knowledge Enrichment Quiz

 

On 18 May 2009 the annual General Knowledge Enrichment Quiz was held in the First Year Politics class at the A.E. Du Toit Annex. The event consisted of 24 participants (Politics 111 students), divided into 6 teams of four, who answered general knowledge questions in the fields of Geography, History, Politics and Current Affairs. The Quiz consisted of two rounds and was organized by the Department’s tutors.

 

Special thanks are reserved for the ‘panel of the wise’, Prof Miti and Mr Henwood, who diligently adjudicated the competition. Congratulations to the winning team of Peter Sleeman, Heinrich Schäder, Maritsa Piagalis and Marlie Holtzhausen for an impressive display! Also a special word of thanks to our tutors, who organized this event, and ISS who sponsored the prizes.

Congratulations

 

Congratulations to Prof Hussein Solomon, on his appointment as Vice-President of the African Studies Association of India!

 

We also wish to congratulate the students who successfully completed their studies and received their degrees during the April graduation ceremony. These include:

 

Three students who received Masters degrees. They are:

· Yarik Turyanskyi who was awarded the MA (Political Science) degree after completing his dissertation under the supervision of Prof Schoeman;

and

· Karen Burger and Gideon Du Plessis who received their Master of Security Studies degrees under the supervision of Prof Hough.

 

· Nine students who received Honours degrees. Six students received Honours (International Relations) degrees and three students received Honours (Political Science) degrees. Amongst the former was Ms Shanna Nienaber, previously a head tutor in the department, who was awarded the degree with distinction.

 

· Twenty students who received the degree BPolSci (International Studies). Amongst these students was Mr Edgar Cizero Ntasano, currently an assistant lecturer and head tutor in the department, who received his degree with distinction.

 

· Fifteen students who received the degree BPolSci (Political Studies). Amongst them, Mr Marius Redelinghuys, currently one of our tutors and a Mandela-Rhodes scholarship holder, and Ms Candice Malan, also one of our tutors, who received their degree with distinction!

 

Congratulations to those students who were awarded other degrees, such as BAdmin, BA Journalism and BA. Well done! We are proud of you. Best wishes for the future.

We welcome …

 

Ms Alida Kok and and Ms Zani Naudé, two masters students in the Department who have returned after stints with ACCORD in Durban, both with a view to completing their dissertations. Ms Kok will also serve as a research assistant in the EU Mercury project, whilst Ms Naudé will participate in a research project on SA female peacekeepers run by Prof Schoeman and Prof van der Spuy (Law Faculty, UCT).

 

Ms Vicky Graham has been appointed as a lecturer on a one year contract. Lydia Bezuidenhout is our new CIPS Coordinator and will serve in this position until October 2009. Ojima Salifu is our new assistant lecturer.

 

We warmly welcome you and look forward to working with you!

We say goodbye to…

Mr Leon Hartwell, Ms Isabel Potgieter and Ms Mpumi Sibalukhulu who have all left the Department. Leon is now with the Dutch Embassy. Isabel joined the British High Commission and Mpumi took up a position at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

 

Mr Patrick Dzimiri will also be leaving us to take up a position at the University of Venda.

To all of you: THANK YOU for your huge contribution and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

 

And last but not least, congratulations to Shaun Edge, who ‘popped the question’ and whose wedding bells we hope soon to hear!

 

 

We hope that you found this newsletter informative and that you enjoyed reading it.

Any contributions to future newsletters or suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Please contact Ms Rentia Pretorius (012 420 2690) or [email protected]

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