4th South Africa-Japanese Universities (SAJU) Forum Conference. Themed The Human Being in the 21st Century in the Context of Global Changes
It is most fitting that a conference seeking to deepen research collaboration between South African and Japanese universities is taking place at the Future Africa campus, Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria (UP) said in Hatfield last night. Welcoming the 100-strong contingent of Japanese academics here for a two-day conference with their SA counterparts, Professor Kupe said UP's new Future Africa campus was the place where Africa's leading scientists and those from across the globe assembled to seek evidence-based solutions to the challenges confronting the continent, its people and the world.
The UP Principal said he believed that this conference would yield "concrete outcomes that mutually enable Japan and SA to advance the academic project, the knowledge domain and further strengthen the relations between our respective countries." In conclusion, he expressed confidence that SAJU 2019 would generate outcomes that would impact and influence the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), coming up in August 2019.
"Enjoy South African hospitality," were Prof Kupe's closing words to the visiting scholars.
From Japan's Embassy in South Africa, Minister-Counsellor, Mr Shuichiro Kawaguchi said never before had he witnessed so many Japanese professors in one joint visit to South Africa. "SAJU 2019 marks the happiest time in my diplomatic career," Mr Kawaguchi said, beaming. Acknowledging the 16 Japanese companies with investments in South Africa, the diplomat said while South Africa-Japan bilateral relations needed to transcend trade relations to also increase cultural exchanges, "academic collaborations in fact complete the relationship."
The Minister-Counsellor said he was most gratified that men and women from his country were getting to witness and enjoy South Africa's impressive infrastructure, and the people. "May the cultural exchanges we're already enjoying, and the partnership that we've built in, for instance, Applied Mathematics, go on to enrich scholar-to-scholar relationships."
On behalf of Universities South Africa, Chief Executive Officer, Prof Ahmed Bawa reiterated that South Africa could not solve "intensely local yet intensely global" problems like climate change on her own. It was therefore important that this conference got off on an academic footing to consolidate solidarity but, even more importantly, to encourage and grow the mobility of South Africa's young undergraduate scholars, so that they solidly "grow their knowledge of our joint societies." He said the SAJU Forum should aim to address issues pertinent to not just South Africa and Japan, but also to the whole of Africa and Asia.
In conclusion, Prof Bawa said he wished to see SAJU 2019 culminate in a clearly defined programme of action that would propel this relationship forward like never before.
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