WTO Chair, the lectures and discussions Reply

Mrs Anmar Pretorius reports from the recent launch of the WTO Chair:

The students and staff members from the Mafikeng campus

The students and staff members from the Mafikeng campus

On 17 September students and colleagues from the three NWU campuses gathered to celebrate the WTO Chair. The guest lectures by mr David Shark and HE Roeland van der Geer were attended by, amongst others, colleagues and students from the School of Economics (PC), colleagues and post-graduate students from the Faculty of Law (PC), 14 staff and students from the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology (VC) and 37 colleagues and students from the School of Economic and Decision Sciences (MC). After the lectures, post-graduate students from the three campuses engaged in some informal discussions around the topics covered by the guest speakers.

Even though there was disagreement around the importance of the EU for the South African economy, the importance of trade was recognised. The students highlighted some interesting benefits of both imports and exports. Labour laws and human rights also evoked interesting views. Consensus was reached on the urgent need to address the shortage of skills in SA – even if it would require to send students overseas to acquire these skills.

On a more practical note, scholars were urged to do relevant research particularly on the challenge to align economic policy to form an environment conducive for investment. The importance of an interdisciplinary approach to tackle our challenges was highlighted by a postgraduate law student.

Due to the time constraint of a strict launch schedule, only 45 minutes was available for discussions. However, the support for further/ future interaction between the postgraduate students of the different campuses was unanimous. Whether it takes the form of a debate, competition to test economic knowledge or some problem solving exercise does not seem to matter. The young minds are keen to engage…

My lasting impressions: the open and frank way in which students engaged, the surprising consensus on most issues – regardless of different campuses and fields of study, the positive attitudes towards and expectations of South Africa’s future.

Thank you for everyone who took the day out of their busy schedule and travelled some distance to be our guests. We look forward to visit you in the near future and engage as eternal scholars…

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