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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Professor from Cambridge University addresses young scholars
2017-07-18

 Description: Cambridge readmore Tags: : Young Scholars Initiative, International Studies Group, University of Cambridge, University of the Free State, Prof Gareth Austin 

In the first conference of its kind on the African continent,
the Universityof the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus
was privileged to host the Young Scholars Initiative conference.
Photo: Siobhan Canavan


“It doesn’t matter where a concept originates from if it works. The problem arises when the concept does not work.”

These were the words of Prof Gareth Austin in his address at the Young Scholars Initiative (YSI). His keynote focused on the “Economic History in Africa’s Decolonisation and Development”.

The African economic history

Prof Austin, a professor in Economic History at the University of Cambridge, discussed how African economic history has always been about development, and also gave a brief periodisation of the economic historiography of Africa.

In his closing remarks he focused more on history and economics. “Economics is a sensible approach to take, where history matters because of the sense of context.”

Reflecting on the African experience

A total of 65 young and senior scholars from five continents attended the conference Decolonising Africa? The Economic History of Development, hosted by the YSI in partnership with the International Studies Group at the UFS.

The conference, held from 8 to 9 June 2017, provided an opportunity to reflect on the African experience from an historical perspective and to assess the current position of the continent in the global economy. It discussed new themes in development, such as the role of women, minorities, and entrepreneurs.

The conference focused on how the business community has operated in an Africa that still faces inequalities and unfair terms of trade and lacks a unified political will.

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