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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

UFS Extraordinary Professor involved in public signing of historic charter
2010-10-27

Prof. Iain Benson

Prof. Iain Benson, an Extraordinary Professor in the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS), was one of the speakers at the signing of the historic South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms on Thursday, 21 October 2010.

Thursday’s signing of the charter was the culmination of two years’ work of the Continuation Committee responsible for drawing up the document, of which Prof. Benson is a part. All the major religions signed the charter at the ceremony Thursday where Prof. Benson was one of the four speakers, who included the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, Justice Moseneke.

The charter, which has already received considerable international and national attention, will now be submitted to the ANC government for negotiations. Indicative of the important role that Prof. Benson played in the process of drawing up the charter is that he has been offered a role as an advisor for the newly created committee responsible for the drafting of the Constitution of the Council of Religious Freedom.

Originally hailing from Canada and currently residing with his family in France, Prof. Benson is an academic with a wealth of experience and expertise in the field of law, especially with regard to right of conscience and religion. His achievements number many, including being a Senior Associate Counsel at one of Canada’s leading law firms, Miller Thompson LLP; and serving on the Founding Board of the Global Centre for Pluralism. Prof. Benson gave his inaugural lecture last week with a lecture entitled Living together with Disagreements and the Limits of the Law.

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