Description: East meets Africa! Tags: East meets Africa!

Prof Hussein Solomon and Prof Virgil Hawkins.

Hussein Solomon, senior professor in the Department of Political Science, can add another accomplishment to his already impressive CV. He made Kovsies proud during his recent visit to Osaka University in Japan.

Along with Prof Virgil Hawkins, based at the Osaka School of International Public Policy, Prof Hussein is a co-director of the Oasis of Peace project. This project aims at developing an "oasis of peace" through the institutionalisation of a research network in Southern Africa.

In this way, they aspire to strengthen links within and between academic communities in Southern Africa and Japan. They aim to further the development of a network of researchers able to contribute academically to the resolution of conflict and the maintenance of peace in the region.

"The funding was solicited from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) via Osaka University," Prof Hussein explains. "Since we, as a South African university, could not apply for it directly, a Japanese university had to take the lead."

Prof Hussein was the first South African and African invited to lead a seminar at Osaka. "Japanese people do not know much about Africa and South Africa," he says. "The Japanese Africa Society is one of the smallest academic societies in the country. For many staff and students, this was their first opportunity to engage with an African scholar!"

Prof Hussein feels that the visit to Osaka was very successful. He says, "I started a blog and the first journal will be out at the end of March. Visits between academics and universities were also established. Following my visit, the Dean of Humanities, Prof Hoshino, wants to make the teaching of African studies and hosting scholars from Africa a key component of the curriculum."

From both an academic and cultural aspect, Prof Hussein was amazed by the work ethic of both staff and students at Osaka. "I recall giving a student several books and articles to read and a few days later, the student came to my office and asked me for more reading – having finished the previous reading. This has never happened to me at a South-African university!"

It seems as if learning is a two way street!

- Cindé Greyling

(Follow Prof Hussein's blog at: saccps.blogspot.com)


FACULTY CONTACT

T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Postgraduate:
Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Undergraduate:
Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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