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Faculty Exchange Visit to University of the Western Cape

November 12, 2023

Mohamed Fahmy Menza, Senior Director of GAPP executive education, visited the University of the Western Cape (UWC) from October 1st to 7th, as part of the faculty exchange program between GAPP’s pathways from neoliberalism project and the South-South dialogue course (SEMR 4038) offered by AUC’s academy of liberal arts. The visit showcased the potential for future collaborative initiatives and explored the diverse backgrounds and resources of the institutions. During the visit, Menza engaged in various meetings and virtual exchange sessions with faculty and students at UWC, discussing topics that ranged from nuclear disarmament, feminism and intellectual property rights.

The visit started with a meeting, Joelien Pretorius, Chair of politics department at UWC. She focused on the importance of further developing the collaboration between AUC-UWC collaboration and suggested several focal points for the project “pathways from neoliberalism.

Following is a meeting with Cherrel Africa, Chairperson of the MA in politics program at UWC, discussing potential collaborative opportunities between UWC and AUC in political economy and mass communication. Africa shared with Menza the possibility of exchanging joint visits of groups of faculty and students between UWC, AUC, and other universities. Additionally, students could be paired up with counterparts on research projects and summer or winter courses could be organized for selected groups of students from each side. These initiatives aim to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange between the two institutions and other universities.

One of the highlights of the visit was a virtual exchange session featuring Ray Acheson, director of disarmament at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and a steering group member of the International Campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. Acheson provided a fresh perspective on the topic of nuclear disarmament, linking it to feminism and critiquing the existing narrative from a feminist standpoint.

A meeting was held with Professor Waheeda Amin, head of the law department at University of Cape Town (UCT),Amin and Menza shared valuable insights and perspectives during the session, fostering global connections and bridging legal issues. This virtual exchange provided an excellent opportunity and exposure to the UCT law department and its expertise in intellectual property rights. Amin also explained that UWC was considered mainly as a black and left-leaning institution that was at the heart of struggle against south african authorities, UCT , on the other hand was white-only institutions with few opportunities given to other ethnicities and minorities to work and study there. After 30 years, the situation is different between UCT and UWC in which they have a more diverse student, faculty and staff body, with minor discrepancies in terms of facilities and resources remain until today. 

The visit ended on a good note with a virtual talk given by Menza, it was about his recent writing ‘Citizenship: Between Discourse and Practice: Experiences of Sociopolitical Transformation”. Throughout the lecture, Menza introduced the topic and the main sections of the research,focusing on the main observations and findings of the research and the wider implications it may provide on similar societies in the MENA region and the Global South at large. 

Overall, the exchange of experiences and insights between the faculty and students from AUC, UWC, and UCT provided a valuable comparative study, offering a deeper understanding of the collaboration initiatives. The result of this exchange is what the program of Pathways from neoliberalism at AUC looks forward to. The pathways program is eager to participate in faculty exchange programs within the global south , focusing on MENA as part of the global south  in search for a path past neoliberalism. The exchange program fosters chances of collaborative initiatives, exchange of ideas, and experiences , all working on change in the neoliberalism world.