17 March 2008

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Njabulo S Ndebele, and the president of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman, have signed a renewal of their student exchange agreement, further cementing the close links between the institutions. Coleman also delivered the Vice-Chancellor's Open Lecture on the expanding role of universities in a shrinking world. "There has never been a greater time for higher education to seek out new knowledge in new communities, because we share the language of ideas," she said.

Trustees of the Starr Foundation, Ernie Stempel and his wife, Brendalyn, mingled with some of the student beneficiaries of their sponsorship at UCT in an annual Starr donor recognition lunch last week. Since 1998, the Stempels have - through channels such as the Starr Foundation, the Ernest Stempel Foundation and in their private capacity - contributed more than R8-million to UCT coffers, much of this earmarked for the CV Starr Scholarship Fund.

The power crisis could drag on for several years and all sectors of the economy need to play a role to restore electricity supply in South Africa, Professor Anton Eberhard said at a presentation at the Graduate School of Business. "Eskom can't do it alone. Electricity savings, industrial cogeneration and independent power projects are now essential for restoring electricity supply security," said Eberhard in his lecture, South Africa's Power Crisis: understanding its causes and assessing prospects. Eberhard is the director of the management programme in infrastructure reform and regulation at the GSB.

World-renowned astrophysicist Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell visited UCT to deliver a public lecture on radio pulsars on 6 March. As a postgraduate student, Burnell discovered the first radio pulsars with her thesis advisor Antony Hewish, for which he won a Nobel Prize. "I find pulsars very hard to believe in," quipped Burnell. "But I suppose I must."


The Students Representative Council staged two protests at UCT to condemn the racist incident at the University of the Free State. "We stand against racism anywhere in South Africa, anywhere in the world," said Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Njabulo S Ndebele. At the second protest on 7 March, students and staff signed a declaration and discarded red bands as symbolic of discarding racism.

South Africans must have equal rights, but at the same time have a right to be different, former cabinet minister Professor Kader Asmal said at a public lecture, titled Multiculturalism Under Threat: Plight of the diaspora, at UCT on 28 February. At the talk, the former minister of education and of water affairs and forestry dispelled the belief that Afrikaans is losing its place in schools. "The 11 official languages should be treated as equitable, not equally," he said.

UCT hosted the academic field study component of international students on board the Scholar Ship, the "floating university" that dropped anchor in Cape Town recently. More than 200 students from 35 countries spent six days in the Mother City. The Scholar Ship immerses students and faculty in an intercultural living and learning environment, with students spending much of the 16-week academic programme on the vessel. They stop for port programmes at many spots around the globe.

A forum to debate the controversial planned development at the Sea Point Pavilion was held at the Centre for African Studies on 5 March. The forum, organised by Seafront for All, was a response to the announcement that the Cape Town City Council has awarded a tender to erect a 52-bedroom hotel and a multi-storey shopping centre at the pavilion.

On 6 March, the Department of Chemistry hosted Professor Donatella Taramelli of the University of Milan in the first talk in its Merck Seminar Programme for 2008. Taramelli's presentation was titled From the Milano Malaria Network: the aminoquinoline ring, a versatile pharmacophore for new antimalarials.

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