We are fast approaching the end of an exciting and busy first semester and hope you will enjoy reading our first newsletter for 2008.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS SEMESTER
Prof Schoeman was invited to attend the 8th Doha Conference on Democracy and Free Trade in Qatar in April. Unfortunately, due to her inability to get her passport renewed, she had to cancel visits to Berlin and Moscow! In late January she visited the University of Lubumbashi in the DRC as part of her involvement in a large-scale research project on the political attitudes and behaviour of SADC university students. The team’s first report-back is scheduled for the week of 26 May in Kinshasa.
Should Prof Schoeman be the happy owner of a new passport before end May, she will travel to the University of Lesotho to act as external examiner for their Department of Politics and Public Administration.
The Department received the very good news that, together with partner universities such as Edinburgh, Cologne and Fudan (China), it had won a large research grant from the European Union. Dr Spies, Prof Gerrit Olivier, Dr Lorenzo Fioramonti, Mr Henwood, Ms Alida Kok and Prof Schoeman will participate in the project and their research will focus on Africa and multilateral issues related to peace and security and trade and development.
The Department welcomes two new honorary professors: Dr Jakkie Cilliers from the Institute of Security Studies and Dr Garth le Pere from the Institute for Global Dialogue. Together with Prof Gerrit Olivier, we now have an impressive trio of experts to assist and strengthen our Department. Incidentally, Prof. Gerrit Olivier is currently visiting Moscow as part of a University of Pretoria delegation concluding agreements of coope-ration with MGIMO and Moscow State University.
The Department also welcomes Dr Peter Kagwanja (HSRC) and Dr Monica Juma (Africa Institute) who have been appointed research associates of the Department.
We are very happy to announce that Prof Marié Muller, former Dean of the faculty, has rejoined our Department. She will take a well-deserved sabbatical from June and will in future commit her time to her duties as a research professor. Welcome home!
In June, while our students are busy writing exams, a group of masters students fromGeorge Mason University in the US will once again visit us on a study-abroad programme to be presented by the Department. Part of the module is conducted in Cape Town and Mr Henwood will accompany the group.
Prof Hussein Solomon, Ms Sarah Kelly and Ms Immaculate Motsi co-authored a book entitled: Towards sustainable peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Prof Solomon and Prof Dirk Kotze co-edited a book on Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development. Lessons for Africa.
Prof Maxi Schoeman, Prof Anton du Plessis and Mr Henwood presented guest lectures and participated in panel discussion at the South African National Defence College.
Mr Henwood and Dr Spies presented lectures as part of the Democratisation and Human Rights programme at the UP Centre for Human Rights. Mr Henwood also lectured at the South African National War College.
In March Prof Solomon presented a paper on “Islam in Africa” to the Norwegian African Heads of Mission in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
In April and May Mr Henwood visited the USA. He presented lectures at the University of Akron (Ohio), and the University of Indiana (Fort Wayne, Indiana). He also presented a seminar entitled: “The African century: myths and realities of Africa’s renaissance in Zimbabwe and Kenya” at the International Affairs Forum, Fort Wayne (Indiana).
The topic of Mr Henwood’s seminar at the Center for African Studies, University of Florida (USA) was “South Africa: whither the great accord?” Mr Henwood also participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program in Washington.
In April, Ivan Lukas, a PhD candidate from Charles University in the Czech Republic, presented a round table discussion on his research on economic integration in the SADC region.
In May, Dr Damien Helly from the European Union Institute for Security Studies visited the Department to discuss opportunities for co-operation between UP and the EU-ISS.
On 13 May the Department held a 'Food for Thought' Breakfast for staff, allumni and a number of graduate students. Our guest speaker was Dr Chris Stals, former Chancellor of UP, former Governor of the Reserve Bank and currently one of the seven members of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism within NEPAD.
The Department organized a special Centenary Brown Bag lunch Dialogue entitled: “The potential role of a standing United Nations Peacekeeping Capacity in Preventing Crimes Against Humanity and Other Humanitarian Emergencies”. Prof Hussein Solomon, Dr Robert Zuber, (Director of the Project for a UN Emergency Peace Service, New York) Christian Tanyi (Director of the Martin Luther King Peace Center, Cameroon) and Alejandro Soto (UNEPS) were the participants.
The Department of Political Sciences’ centenary poster competition with the theme A Century of Politics was won by first-year student Mr JLC Smeets. Congratulations, Mr Smeets! His winning entry is on display on the 21st floor.
Our legendary brown bag lunches
Dr Lorenzo Fioramonti, our post-doctoral fellow in the Department, presented a seminar in March on South African perceptions of the European Union. He also presented this seminar at the IGD.
The theme of our brown bag lunch in April was “The Legal Status of Jerusalem and the Holy Places” and was presented by Judge Stephen Adler, Judge President of the Israeli Labour Court.
Black History Month
During April 2008 the Depart-ment, in association with the US Embassy, presented a film series as part of Black History Month. The following films were screened as part of this annual commemoration of the contribution to US society by African-Americans: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Tuskegee Airmen, The Autobiography of Jane Pitman, Ali, and Glory.
Our General Knowledge Enrichment (GKE) quiz competition
On 7 April the annual General Knowledge Quiz was held in the first year Politics class. Twenty four nervous contestants awaited their moment of judgment. This event was a lively, if not fierce, battle of the young cognoscenti and amafundi of the department. Congratulations to the winning team, Jaco Bothma, Rachel van der Westhuizen, Peraysha Ismail Sooliman and Muhammad Noor Mahomed!. You truly were the wisest of them all! Thank you to all those who were involved in the planning of the fun and all those lecturers and students who spared a moment to watch the quiz unfold.
Our annual model UN debate
Second year students participated in a Model United Nations debate in May as part of their practical coursework. This year’s IPL 210 Model United Nations focused on the dispute between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front over the territory of Western Sahara.
In preparation for the final debate, the MUN class had the privilege to welcome H E Habib Defouad, Head of Mission of the Embassy of the kingdom of Morocco in Pretoria on the 8th of May 2008.
Mr Defouad spoke on the Moroccan autonomy plan for Western Sahara and his address was followed by a presentation by Counselor M.B. Omar from the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic’s embassy in Pretoria, accompanied by parliamentarians from his govern-ment. The Saharawi delegation defended their people’s rights to self-determination on the basis of historical facts and international law provisions. The debate was held on Tuesday 20 May and our winners were the Nigerian team. The team of the US came second and the Algerian team came third. Joe Wedi is the winner of the best speaker award. Congratulations!
We wish to congratulate:
· Mr Marius Redelinghuys, third year BPolSci (Political Studies) student and tutor in our Department, for being selected by the US Embassy to represent South Africa and the University of Pretoria as part of the US Youth Ambassadors programme. He will be visiting Washington D.C., the states of Iowa and Georgia, in July, to learn about and experience US history and culture, and to engage in volunteer activities and public presentations.
· 30 students for receiving their BPolSci degrees in April and Ms Shanna Nienaber for receiving the BPolSci (International Studies)degree with distinction.
· Ms Ina Mari Hugo who received the C F Nieuwoudt award for best third year student in International Relations AND the Politika award for best Political Science student.
· 13 students for receiving received their Honours degrees in International Relations and Political Science.
· Those of you who have received other degrees, such as Journalism and BA.
· Several of our former students who have found employment with the ISS and IGD.
Well done! We are proud of you and wish you the best for all your future plans.
We would like to thank Ms Giullia Pietrangeli from the EU Commission who taught an honours course in EU studies this semester and Ms Vicky Graham from UJ who taught an undergraduate and an honours course. Your assistance is much appreciated, as is your knowledge and professionalism.
Dr Blade Nzimande, Secretary General of the South African Communist Party will visit the University on 11 June as part of the Africa Dialogue lectures.
Departmental Notice Boards
Students are encouraged to consult the notice boards in the Department where they will find departmental news and announce-ments on a regular basis.
We wish to congratulate Mr Romeo Nkoulou Ella on the birth of Andrée Lynn (5 May) and Mr Gerhard Wolmarans on the birth of Emma (21 May).
We trust that you have enjoyed this semester
we wish all our students good luck with the exams!
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.