July School launches in Cape Town

The inaugural LSE-UCT July School was held this summer at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, attended by 100 participants from more than 30 countries across Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. The two-week programme offered six courses focused on major social science issues, all with relevance to Africa today, including Africa and the global economy, the causes of poverty, and democracy and development in Africa. 

Philanthropic support for bursaries was a key factor in enabling many of the students to attend the July School. Bursaries from Standard Bank ensured that 26 students from Africa were able to attend, and this year they will continue to provide bursary support up to at least 2015. In addition alumnus Giacomo Bruzzo (BSc Philosophy 1994, MSc Economics 1996, MSc Statistics 1997) has given £7,000 for bursaries for residents of African countries who wish to attend in 2014. Meanwhile the Annual Fund is providing £75,000 over three years to enable LSE students to attend, with 21 current students supported this year.

Attendees came from as far as the US, Taiwan, China, the UK, Ireland, Turkey and Ukraine, as well as from eleven African countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. “What happened inside the classroom was only half the story of this programme,” said Ban Nadler, a Masters student from the University of Missouri, writing for the Africa at LSE blog. “The other half was a profound and wild introduction to an amazing African city, with a new squad of friends from around the globe at the helm.” 

He added: “At the end of the two weeks, I didn’t want to leave – I didn’t want to leave the class because I was learning so much, and I didn’t want to leave the town because I had grown to love it and felt at home. But this end is the beginning of new friendships, new adventures and a new way of thinking about the place where it all began: Africa.” 

Economic History student, Busani Ngcaweni, remarked: “The course was well structured and thought-provoking, with well-informed academics who challenged us to think beyond the literature provided.” Bryan Muller, who studied Urban Geography, said: “I would never have had access to these resources and information without the July School.” 

In addition to the July School, Cape Town hosted an LSE conference and reception on 11 July. The conference was entitled ‘Africa Euphoria: Who’s responsible for Africa new boom? And who can make it equitable and sustainable?’. With over 110 attendees from business, finance, government, civil service, international and non-governmental organisations, academic and the media, keynote lectures were delivered by LSE Professors Thandika Mkandawire, Chair in African Development, and Harry Barkema, Professor of Management.