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26 September 2005

UCT goes Ivy League

Talk about your blue-ribbon club. UCT last week signed an exchange agreement with Yale University, one of the most celebrated academic institutions in the United States, and the world. This follows an invitation from Yale for UCT to join its fully-funded - we'll say it again, fully-funded - Yale Fox International Fellowships at the Yale Centre for International Studies. This is a two-way student exchange partnership between Yale and eight of the world's leading universities in Russia, England, Germany, China, Japan, France, India and Mexico. It was established to identify and support talented individuals who will be future leaders in their respective fields and who, by virtue of those leadership positions, will contribute to decisions affecting global policies and international relations. The focus will be on graduates and graduating senior students, and the programme will see the exchange of two to three such students every year. UCT is the only South African institution to join the fellowship. "It's a good club to belong to," said deputy vice-chancellor Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo. Nhlapo and Yale's Prof Ian Shapiro, who has strong research ties with Prof Nicoli Nattrass of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at UCT, met briefly in Bremner last week to seal the agreement and sign on the dotted lines.

Library staff open their hearts and wallets

Staff from all branches of UCT Libraries have joined a growing list of contributors, including a UCT MBA group, to the Sunday Times/SAfm Zifundele campaign. Zifundele, a Zulu expression meaning "read for yourself", invites donors to fund, for around R3 000, 50 pre-selected books - a mix of story books, reference works and non-fiction like Nelson Mandela's (abridged) biography - that can be read aloud by teachers and groups of kids. Such 50-book "starter libraries", as they are called, are then awarded to schools in disadvantaged areas around the country. Spearheaded by Julian Massawe (now retired) and Mbuyi Mnyani, UCT library staff decided last year to give what they could towards such a collection. They raised R3 400. With that they first purchased a library of R3 000 from Zifundele, which they recently awarded to Sokhanyo Primary in Guguletu. The other R400 went towards a start-up box of books that they presented to John Pama Primary School, which UCT Libraries has adopted, in nearby Nyanga. John Pama also received some 40 new children's books in African languages, and a few English ones, that were donated to but did not quite fit into the library's Rare Books Collection.

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