IIE Networker - Spring 2007 - (Page 44)

Knowledge Network South Africa–USA Partnership Reflections on the First Twenty Years The University of Missouri and the University of the Western Cape Partnership By Ronald J. Turner dation on which a new non-racial democracy in South Africa would ultimately rest. In short, UWC was in the vanguard of the political, social and educational transformation that would become the hallmark of South Africa in the last decade of the 20th century. UWC, through the heroic sacrifice of its students, faculty, leaders, alumni, and supporters, came to represent the ideals of academic freedom, civic engagement and social progress that are often voiced and less often realized. UWC also had the courage, in the midst of the turmoil of the 1980s, to open its community to include colleagues from a university in the heartland of America. Today, after 20 years of close cooperation between UM and UWC, the University of Missouri community holds the highest regard for its South African sister university and its example of courage and commitment to social and educational advancement. The lessons lived by colleagues at UWC during the dark days of apartheid and its position at the dawning of the post-apartheid era are a source of enormous pride and confirmation for the University of Missouri; these are lessons that will be long remembered when the role of the university in building opportunity and hope for future generations is called to question. The UM/UWC relationship began in conflict on the Missouri side as well. The Board of Curators of the University of Missouri was under intense pressure to divest its retirement and endowment funds from U.S. corporations doing business in South Africa in the mid-1980s as divestment gained momentum in the U.S. As a result of this Researchers from the University of the Western Cape, University of Missouri and University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in a meeting with traditional healers near Pietermaritzberg, South Africa. The traditional healers and university researchers are engaged in TICIPS (The International Center for Indigenous Phytotherapy Studies), a four-year $4.1 million NIH funded project to study medicinal properties of indigenous South African plants. The historic link between the University of Missouri and the University of the Western Cape originated in 1986, a time of turbulence and conflict for universities in South Africa and for the country as a whole. South Africa’s political, social and economic future was oppressed by the forces of apartheid, and the international cultural, economic and academic boycott guided institutional decisions on both sides of the Atlantic. The likelihood that a strong and enduring link would be conceived and take root between a historically disadvantaged South African university and an American university seemed remote, if not impossible, under the circumstances. The time was not right for envisioning a model international academic exchange program between UWC and any other university on the planet. UWC was under close surveillance by the South African government; it was under-resourced as a matter of national policy; its students and faculty members were persecuted for their participation in efforts to end apartheid; UWC’s reputation as a source of extra-parliamentary opposition was well established; its leaders were the architects of the intellectual foun-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2007

IIE Networker - Spring 2007
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
Best Practices in International Education: Andrew Heiskell Awards 2007
In-Country Consortia: Rethinking Collaboration in Education Abroad
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series: A Conversation with President John B. Simpson, State University of New York at Buffalo
Higher Education in Pakistan: A Silent Revolution
Opening Minds to the World: Toyota and IIE
Dual Degree Programs
South Africa–USA Partnership
Faculty View
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Spring 2007