Future thought leaders for a world in crisis: An expert panel discussion Co-sponsored by the: Global Academy of Liberal Arts Universities (GALA)

Posted on May 21, 2024

One the first day of the Wits Postgraduate Orientation Programme (01 March 2024), a key event in the was held in the iconic Great Hall: a panel discussion on the world in crisis and what we are doing about it. The panelists included:
Dr Bernadette Johnson (Director: Transformation)-
Together with representing the programme for institutional transformation, her work articulates higher education and research with the planetary crises that threatens to overwhelm us.
Prof Hlonipha Mokoena (Director: Wits Institute For Social & Economic Research)-
Her scholarly work is politically and intellectually provocative, encouraging young scholars to confront uncomfortable, disturbing questions but simultaneously to find creativity and even joy in the academy.
Prof. Benji Rosman (School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics)-
Holds an ambitious vision of Africa’s future that inspires many students, and his scholarly work compels many to see the continent differently. His research envisages Africa as a potential leader of a new digital world.
Dr Renee Goretsky (Head: Pre-award support, Research Office)-
Alongside having cross-disciplinary training, has worked in research offices at Cape Town, Toronto and now at Wits evaluating countless research proposals at every level of the academy. Where does Wits’s research stand and where should our next generation of scholars set their focus?
Prof Richard Ballard (Senior Researcher: Gauteng City-Region Observatory)-
For many students, coming to Wits is also about moving to the City of Johannesburg for the first time. The crises of the city are challenging but the boundaries between the academy and the city are porous (or should be!). The panel discussion provides one vehicle for encouraging students to fully engage with the city as both a site for enquiry and as a vibrant home.
Postgraduate students from across all faculties will be invited to this hybrid event. More than 100 postgraduate students attended the panel and engaged on issues including climate change, Artificial Intelligence in teaching and research and opportunities for young scholars. A message of introduction and support by the GALA directors was streamed along with information regarding the GALA September Conference, which follows a similar theme. The students were treated to a lunch provided for by GALA after the discussion.