Four youngsters will be jetting off to the University of Cambridge soon after they impressed with their debating skills at the 2013 Africa Institute of South Africa’s ( AISA) Young Graduates and Scholars Conference.
The four students – the winner and runners-up in the Africa Union De- bate Challenge category – will spend a month at the prestigious University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
They all participated in the conference, which took place at North-West University in February under the theme 2050 – Africa’s future on the horizon: Prospects and challenges for development.
Its aim was to mobilise young African graduate scholars on important challenges facing the continent such as climate change, energy and water supply security, governance, poverty, development, peace and security.
Delegates were encouraged to submit papers on issues that affect youth development in Africa.
AISA experts then reviewed the papers. The best papers will be published by AISA and made available in academic, government and political circles.
Fatoumata Keita from the Bamako University in Mali scooped the Best Research Paper award.
Keita’s winning paper provides concrete proposals on settling conflicts in the Sahel region, which lies between the Sahara desert in the north and Sudan in the south.
Marvellous Ndhlovu, a third year international relations student from the University of Venda, won the 2013 Africa Union Debate Challenge category.
The highlight of the conference came when AISA announced that, in partnership with the Guggenheim Foundation, it would be sending Ndhlovu, together with AU Debate Challenge runners-up Simphiwe Ngwane from the University of Witwatersrand, Lindelani Mukhovha from the University of Johannesburg and Naledi Modise from the North-West University, to the University of Cambridge.
The four will spend a month at the university in July, interacting with other students from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The University of Cambridge also provides a platform for emerging African scholars to ex- change ideas on how to resolve the challenges faced by African societies, uphold African value systems and work towards integrating the African continent.
On the local front, the Young Graduates and Scholars Conference provides a platform for young African scholars to communicate, have their work published, debate the challenges facing the continent and explore ways of uplifting it.
Winners in all categories walked away with a floating trophy and certificate.