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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

UFS academic delivers inaugural lecture on challenges confronting political science in the 21st century
2012-10-12

Prof. Hussein Solomon.
Photo: Stephen Collett
12 October 2012

This week Prof. Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Governance delivered his inaugural lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

In his lecture, “Challenges confronting political science in the 21st century, A South African perspective”, Prof. Solomon explored five challenges to academic political science in general and to South African political scientists in particular.

The challenges include the need to localise international relations theory with an emphasis on the emancipatory dimensions; exploring the nexus between technology and politics; incorporating political anthropology into mainstream political science syllabi; rising to the challenge of governing Africa’s cities; and the dangers of over-specialisation in an era that demands the use of a broader academic lens.

According to Prof. Solomon, political science has come a long way from those heady days in 1950 when Lasswell could confidently state that politics was about who gets what, when and how.

“Indeed, the world of 2012 scarcely resembles the world of 1950. Immanuel Wallerstein was correct in his assessment that the modern world system is coming to an end. As political scientists, we need to interrogate our existing knowledge constructs in relation to this rapidly changing reality. We need to indigenise international relations theory and emphasise creating an emancipatory and counter-hegemonic discourse.

We need to explore the nexus between technology and politics to deepen our democracy by empowering the margins in our societies. We need to embrace political anthropology as we strive to understand non-Western forms of governance. We need to use these understandings of traditional societies as we create hybrid forms of urban governance that stress inclusivity as we overcome the politics of identity and difference. We need to heed the call of De Tocqueville and create a new political science to understand the new times by supplementing disciplinary insights with those from other disciplines. In doing so, political science will once more regain its relevance to humanity in the twenty-first century,” Prof. Solomon said.
 

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