In early 2020, South Africa has welcomed and hosted the ’27th Delegation Visit for Leaders of German Higher Education Management’, organized by the International DAAD Academy. In the second week of March, 20 Presidents, Vice Chancellors and Registrars from German universities visited South African higher education and research institutions, ministries and the National Research Foundation (NRF) as well as German partner institutions such as political foundations or the German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ. During the meetings delegates received in depth insights into the South African higher education system as well as into current research focal points of the respective institutions, and were able to directly reach out for potential further cooperation partners. The delegation was accompanied by the Secretary General of the DAAD, Dr. Dorothea Rüland, and Lena von Eichborn, Head of the International DAAD Academy.
On March 12, the delegation visited the University of the Western Cape. Umesh Prawa, Head of the university’s International Relation Office, was responsible for the visit and led the programme, supported by his team and further colleagues. After a profoundly informative input by different UWC Departments, led by UWC Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Vivienne Lawack, hosts and guests were able to network during a fingerfood-lunch.
After the break, Ruth Knoblich, the Centre’s new DAAD Lecturer in Development Research, presented basic facts and figures about the DAAD South African-German Centre for Development Research. Her presentation led to a lively round-table talk about the Centre’s character and activities by colleagues, alumni and current students: Prof. Julian May, Director of the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC, Director of the Institute for Social Development and one of the four Steering Committee members of the South African-German Centre of Development Research: Dr. Razack Karriem (Acting Director of the Institute for Social Development), Prof. Mulugeta Dinbabo, Dr. Coretta Jonah, Dr. Martina Lembani, Melisa Dlamini, Langton Moyo, Tamara Kaschek and Kumbula Xego.
For the Centre, it was a particular highlight to meet RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich and Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt who were part of the delegation, together with the Secretary General of the DAAD, Dr. Dorothea Rüland.
A historical campus-walk formed the last part of the UWC visit. Prof. Premesh Lalu, Director of the DST-NRF Centre for Humanities Research at UWC, offered impressive insights into the university’s history and its role during apartheid’s times.
The delegates later emphasized how much they enjoyed their time at UWC after participating in such multifaceted programme. They particularly underlined how impressed they were by the university’s spirit and engagement, and that they were able to set up valuable new contacts for further cooperation. For the Centre, it was a very special moment of making its networks visible: its network between former and current students, between colleagues from all institutions involved, between the leading level of UWC, RUB, and the DAAD as the Centre’s funding organization.