Workshop on SA-EU strategic partnership

brexit workshop 1From left to right: Ms Brigitte Ӧppinger Walchshshofer, Austrian Ambassador to South Africa; Ms RenateTenbusch, Director of the South Africa Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Ambassador Marcus Cornaro, Head of the European Union Delegation to South Africa; Advocate M Cassimjee, Director: Regional Organisations of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO); Dr Lesley Masters, Senior Researcher and lecturer at the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy & Foreign Policy at UJ; and Prof Chris Landsberg, Director of the NRF Chair of African Diplomacy & Foreign Policy at UJ.

THE implications of BREXIT for South Africa and Africa, the growing emphasis on South-South solidarity, and the recalibration of South Africa’s relations with the European Union (EU) were among the themes explored during a two-day workshop aimed at strengthening SA–EU relations, held at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on 21-22 July 2016.

Hosted by the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at UJ, in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung South Africa (FES), the workshop gave scholars and practitioners from both Europe and South Africa an opportunity to review and comment on key aspects of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership Joint Action Plan.

Following the workshop, Prof Chris Landsberg, director of the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy & Foreign Policy, stated: ‘In the context of the global economic and financial crisis in 2008, as well as the BREXIT debacle which is reshaping internal EU relations, this workshop has played an extremely significant role in clarifying the perspectives of various analysts and role players on the ways in which the vital relations between South Africa and the EU are understood and are unfolding.’

He added that the workshop had also provided a valuable opportunity for exploring relations  between the EU and the rest of the continent.

Key contributions were made by Ms Renate Tenbusch, Director of the South Africa Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung; Advocate M Cassimjee, Director: Regional Organisations of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO); and Ambassador Marcus Cornaro, Head of the EU Delegation to South Africa.

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Panel discussion on UN

un panel discussion 1 finalON 26 August 2015, the NRF Chair for African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, in partnership with the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR), hosted a panel discussion on ‘The UN at 70: Perspectives from Africa’. The event included presentations by Dr Mary Chinery-Hesse, former Presidential Advisor in Ghana, former deputy director-general of the ILO, and a member of the 2003 UN High-Level Panel; Ambassador Kaire Mbuende, former SADC executive secretary and former Namibian Permanent Representative to the UN; and Dr Suzanne Graham, senior lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg. The presentations were followed by an interactive discussion.

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Book launch

book launch final 1ON 21 May 2015, Action Support, the HSRC, the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, the Concerned African’s Forum and the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy hosted the launch of a book entitled Promoting Progressive African Thought Leadership, edited by Aziz Pahad, Garth le Pere and Miranda Strydom.

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Panel discussion on Ali Mazrui

mazrui discussion 1ON May 2015, Prof Chris Landsberg, holder of the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, participated in a panel discussion celebrating the life and times of Ali Mazrui, hosted by the University of Johannesburg Library and The Citizen newspaper, and facilitated by Dr Adekeye Adebajo, executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution. Other panelists were Abdul Bemath, Prof Gilbert Khadiagala, and Prof Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni.

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Visit to Brussels

eu delegation 1ON 27-29 November 2014, members of the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign policy participated in a South African civil society delegation to the EU. The purpose of the mission was to examine the role of civil society in international diplomacy, and how people-to-people exchanges could strengthen the South Africa-EU Strategic Partnership.

The delegation was hosted by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), based in Brussels. Delegates also visited the AU representative to the EU, Ambassador Aja Bramdeo, and South Africa’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and Head of Mission to the EU, Mxolisi Nkosi. The visit was supported by the Dialogue Facility as part of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership.

The discussions between South African and European civil society representates covered numerous areas including peace and security, human rights and governance, trade and development, regional integration, social justice, cultural and parliamentary diplomacy.

Participants noted that, in the current environment, it was important to make use of opportunities to promote engagement and ensure that civil society participated in and was put back onto the international agenda. Recommendations in the context of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership included building on civil society to civil society contact; furthering research in support of South Africa’s strategic partnership with the EU; and creating space for engagement among civil society partners around high-level government meetings.

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Engagement session

ON Thursday 13 November 2014, the NRF Chair in African Diplomacy and Foreign policy hosted an engagement seminar with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Prof Ihron Rensburg, and the newly appointed United States Consul General to South Africa, Chistopher Rowan.

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