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Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’ Business Day 23.06.2015

“In June 1976, SA’s youth led one of the most extraordinary protests against a discriminatory approach to education. Their rebellion reverberated across the world to become the symbol of the struggle for freedom in our country. Yet, almost 40 years later, our education system remains exclusionary and fragmented,” writes Lorenzo Fioramonti in his latest column for Business Day.

Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’

“Our national debate on education tacitly assumes that SA is divided into a majority of poorly resourced (public) schools and a few, mostly urban, very well-developed (private) schools. This may be true if we limit our observation to the physical infrastructure of the “good” schools. I have indeed never seen as many rugby fields, Olympic pools, beautiful halls and playgrounds as I have in private schools and some of the best-resourced public schools (most of which are public-private hybrids previously known as Model C).

But if we scratch beneath this flashy surface, we find serious problems with the education model there. First, many of them reinforce pre-existing racial and class patterns. This is not only because of high tuition fees but also because of the values they project. It is common for these schools to expect students to wear expensive uniforms, glorify conspicuous consumption (for instance, by allowing companies to advertise to pupils) and teach children that excellence is the result of competition.”

Read the full article “Drop classification of pupils to treat ‘academic autism’” on Business Day 

ZOPACAS at 30: Its formation, potential and limitations

This research project seeks to stimulate the broadening of the scientific-academic debate over the current and potential configuration of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS), both within the context of Brazilian interests and in the framework of increasing international focus over South Atlantic dynamics. With over 30 years of existence, ZOPACAS accounts today for a singular case of a multilateral platform, transversal to multiple global developments in the last few decades. Its institutional resilience associated to a characteristically legal singularity in terms of other multilateral experiences as well as an express desire to widen its thematic range of action, make this forum a noticeable case study. That relevance, in turn, only increases if we also consider the underlined notion of a supposedly common perception of an oceanic region, as an aggregating element of South American and African countries, as well as its passive contribution – never really challenged or tested – to regional security and stability.

ZOPACAS flag
On the other hand, the pre-salt discoveries, the resurgence of the Brazilian defense industry, the bet on South-South relations and the political-commercial investments in Africa also incited Brazil to concern itself once again with developments in the South Atlantic. It is therefore understandable why the progressive reinforcement of ZOPACAS is considered relevant to Brazil’s own defense, as mentioned by the Defense White Book, and inter-relates easily with the national foreign policy domain.
In this context, while combining an historical balance (1986-2016) with a structural evaluation of the current limits, capacities and eventual potentialities of ZOPACAS, this project thus seeks to provide a complete and deepened perspective of a regional mechanism, frequently neglected by academic literature and never fully researched in its totality. Moreover, it seeks to answer the increasing demand, both internal and external, for detailed information over ZOPACAS and provide greater substance to the national decision-making process regarding Brazil’s active participation in such a multilateral body.

GovInn researcher: Frank Mattheis

Partner institutions: University of Brasilia (Brazil), Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), University of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Rosario (Argentina)

Funding institutions: Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Brazilian Defence Ministry’s Pandiá Calógeras Institute

Funding period: January 2015 to December 2016

South Africa Land Observatory

A platform for supporting evidence-based and participatory decision making on land in South Africa

South Africa agrarian sector is affected by a context of far-reaching and fundamental change, related to the country’s land and agrarian transformations, in a context of overall deregulation of its economy. Moreover, the country is characterised by the lack of publicly available precise data and analyses and the weak involvement by stakeholders in decision-making regarding land and agrarian transformation. On top of that, the increased interconnectivity of the land and agrarian questions in South Africa, Africa and the world, leads to the necessity of apprehending them within today’s global context of agrarian, environmental, and food security questions. These observations call for the establishment and development of a well-coordinated information, data, analysis and evidence-based decision-making support entity, grouping the major academic and analytical players on one hand, and a broader stakeholder panel on the other hand, aiming at producing and making available data, information and analyses, and supporting evidence-based and inclusive decision-making processes with regards land and land-based activities in South Africa.

The SA Observatory’s goal is to promote evidence-based and inclusive decision-making over land resources in South Africa and beyond by generating, analysing and making available land-based information and by widening participation to all stakeholders.

Partners: University of Pretoria – Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics; GovInn; in collaboration with the International Land Coalition; in the broader framework of the Land Matrix.

Funding: Flemish Cooperation FICASA Land Observatory Partners

AFGROLAND team

AFGROLAND

Global Agro-Food-Energy System Changes, Land Use Patterns, Production Models, Natural Resource Management, Food Security through Production and Employment, National/Global Governance (AFGROLAND)

Changes to the global agro-food-energy system (e.g. changing consumption patterns in the North, Europe’s Climate and biofuel policies, etc.) over the past few years have led to a renewed interest in agriculture and a rush to acquire land. The impact of this rush is not always evident as its assessments focus on the short-term and generally remain at a case study level, without considering the broader agrarian and socio-economic transformations it entails. Against this backdrop, the objective of the project is to analyse how global agro-food-energy system changes impact on the countries in the global South, namely in Africa, particularly with regard to sustainable land management, agricultural production and food security, socio-economic outcomes (such as employment and livelihoods), pressure on land and natural resources and, subsequently, the governance of the latter.
Based on extensive empirical research and spatial analysis, and by resituating this research within a multi-dimensional and multi-scale approach, the project will endeavor to

  •  Identify the drivers of change within the global agro-food-energy systems,
  • Better qualify the rush for land, by assessing and defining the different production
  • Quantify and analyze these changes in terms of land and natural resource use
  • Evaluate how such changes impact on food security (with a focus on the land they impact on, and in return are shaped by governance changes at the the regional, national and local levels (WP1)); and land-based investment models being developed (WP2), and governance (land, water and soil) and assess the effects on sustainable soil ecosystem service provision (WP3); enterprises and smallholders) and/or on food access (employment creation, sustainable livelihoods) at the local/national level (WP4)

Partners: The project gathers experts from different disciplines (economists, political scientists, geographers, political analysts, agronomists, environmentalists) from the University of Pretoria (GovInn, School for Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Agricultural Economics), the Center for Development and Environment (University of Bern) and CIRAD – the French center for Agricultural Research for Development (UMR ART-dev, Tetis and Moisa).

Funding: Belmont Forum

For more information, read this DEF Flyer AfgroLand.  

AFGROLAND team

Front row (Left to right): Bettina Wolfgramm (CDE, University of Bern), Eve Fouilleux (CIRAD), Camilla
Adelle (UP/GovInn), Sandra Eckert (CDE, University of Bern), Sara Mercandalli (CIRAD).
Back row (left to right): Sheryl Hendriks (UP/IFNuW), John Annandale Markus Giger (CDE, University
of Bern), Ward Anseeuw (CIRAD/GovInn), Magalie Bourblanc (CIRAD), Perrine Burnod (CIRAD),
Michael van der Laan (UP/Plant Sciences).
Missing form photo: Lorenzo Fioramonti (UP/GovInn) and Johann Kirsten (UP/Agricultural
Economics, Extension and Rural Development) and local African partners.

Rethinking development seminar: Chinese Agricultural Investment in Africa

Rethinking Development Seminar Series

Chinese Agricultural Investment in Africa: Actors, Modalities and Assessment
27 January 2015

SPEAKER: Lu Jiang, London School of Economics and Political Science

Rethinking development Seminar 27 January 2015Against the backdrop of the high-profile “reencounter and reunion” of China and Africa since the new millennium, agriculture has been one of the most important cooperation fields between the two sides.
Different from its earlier, mostly aid-featured engagement with African agriculture in the 20th century, the Chinese government began to actively encourage and support Chinese companies to invest in the agricultural sector on the continent. The speaker will look back on the past decade’s practice of Chinese agricultural investment on the ground, examine the different actors and modalities involved in this process, and give an initial assessment as to the results and implications of the Chinese state-led agricultural investment policy in Africa in the new era.
Lu Jiang is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She got her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Her research interests revolve around China’s foreign policy and particularly Chinese foreign relations with Africa. Her master thesis was about China’s oil engagement in Sudan. She is now working on Chinese agricultural aid and investment in Africa with a special focus on the case of Mozambique.

Date: 27 January, 2015
Time: 12.30-13.30
Venue: Room L1-64 in the Graduate Centre, Hatfield Campus
RSVP and enquiries: thinah.moyo@up.ac.za

Download the invitation in pdf

Iris Nxumalo

Iris Nxumalo

Junior researcher

Iris Nxumalo completed her undergraduate degree in International Studies (Distinction) in 2013 and completed her honours degree in International Relations in 2014 (Distinction).

She has worked both in the capacity of tutor and Intern Lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences. Very passionate about the African continent, she seeks to make her contribution to the continent through policy-making, advocacy and academic work.

Research interests

  • African history and literature
  • Conflict and mediation practices
  • International policy making
  • The role of ethical leadership in African politics
  • Education and gender advocacy
  • Multilateral diplomacy and human security

Contact

Email: Iris.tintswalo@gmail.com

“Creating a More Egalitarian Society”: introduction to the LEDDA partnership

“Creating a More Egalitarian Society”, by John Boik:  an introduction to the LEDDA framework and the LEDDA Partnership.

Houston, 7.12.14

Stephanie Minou

Stephanie Minou

Stephanie Minou

Stephanie Minou

Associate Fellow

Bio

Stephanie Minou joined GovInn as a Junior Researcher in April 2013. From the start she has been involved in RegioConf: Regional Integration and Conflict Transformation, which focuses on assessing the effects of regional integration on conflict transformation in all parts of the world, and within which she has been working on the West African region.

Prior to joining GovInn, Stephanie was a tutor in the department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria in both 2012 and 2013. In 2011 and 2012 respectively, she successfully completed a degree in Political Sciences (BPolSci) with focus on International Studies, and an Honours degree (BA Hons) in International Relations at the University of Pretoria (South Africa). Stephanie also holds a Master of Arts (MA) in International Relations with distinction from the same university, which she completed in 2014. As part of her MA thesis, she looked at the effects of regional integration in West Africa on conflict transformation, through the lens of the Economic Community of West African States.

In September 2014, Stephanie joined King’s College London (United Kingdom), where she is currently pursuing a Master of Science (MSc) in Security, Leadership and Society. She is also a current fellow at the African Leadership Centre (ALC). Stephanie is fluent in French and English, and speaks a little bit of Spanish. All her research interests align with her passion for the African continent. Her determination is the one thing she always take with her and can never let go of no matter what.

Research interests

  • Effective leadership
  • Social development
  • Innovative methods for sustainable peace and security
  • Regional integration

Projects

2013-2014 – The EU, Regional Conflicts and the Promotion of Regional Cooperation: A Successful Strategy for a Global Challenge? (REGIOCONF)

Links

Contacts

Email: stephanie.minou@up.ac.za or stephanie.minou@kcl.ac.uk

Kirsty Agnew

GovInn joins RISC

RISC logo
We are glad to announce that our Centre has joined RISC, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion.

Founded in 2007, RISC gathers socially conscious research centres from all over the world. Through the creation of a cross-regional and interdisciplinary network RISC promotes the comparative examination of the human and environmental impacts of various aspects of regional integration across geographic areas and time periods. What sets RISC apart is its commitment to conduct research that could support social action projects in local communities.
GovInn researchers welcome the opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of the global political and economic challenges from the privileged observation point of Southern Africa.

Learn more about GovInn research projects
Learn more about RISC