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2019 IPASA Symposium to Explore Philanthropy’s Role in Building Social Cohesion in South Africa

Categories: HEADLINES, Civil Action/Philanthropy, Advocacy
On 28 and 29 October 2019 the Independent Philanthropy Association of South Africa (IPASA) will be holding their annual Philanthropy Symposium with this year’s theme, “Social Cohesion: Towards Building Hope and Trust in South Africa”. It will focus on the role that philanthropy can play in enhancing social cohesion in South African schools, universities and communities, and how philanthropy could address the various fault lines in society.

The Symposium will be taking place at The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study -“The annual IPASA Symposium is a unique opportunity for South African philanthropists, social investors, grant-makers and givers to meet, to learn about new ideas and to engage with peers and experts in a meaningful way. Philanthropy has a unique and bold role to play in contributing to solutions to our multiple social and environmental problems. If it is to achieve such promise, we need to come together to be well informed, to self-evaluate and to innovate,” said Sarah Rennie, Chair of IPASA Council.

The opening speaker is Professor Jonathan Jansen, public intellectual, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State and Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Stellenbosch. He will examine philanthropy’s role in building social cohesion and how social cohesion can act as a catalyst for social change and development, followed by a panel discussion on the topic. “In my work in the nine provinces I have discovered over and over again that there is a powerful moral underground that holds together the social fabric of our society and which would tear apart without the enabling role of philanthropy,” commented Professor Jansen.

High levels of fake news and online bullying behaviour can contribute to a breakdown in social cohesion. The “Social Media and its Impact on Social Cohesion” session will explore issues such as social media and social stability, pre-detecting violence, identifying and responding to hate speech, detecting manipulation, fact checking and dialogue to bolster democracy in our institutions.

The last session on day one, “Social Cohesion in Higher Education: A Story of Deep Transformation”, includes a panel discussion led by Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation on inside and outside experiences and perspectives of Stellenbosch University in creating social cohesion at the university.

Day two of the symposium will examine fault lines in South African society and their impact on philanthropy. Three presenters will speak about their research and data outcomes that reveal key fault lines in South African society today. A panel of thought-leaders will then respond to the issues raised in the research, with focus on how philanthropy can engage with those fault lines to contribute to a growth in social cohesion.

This will be followed by case studies of building social cohesion in South Africa before the esteemed closing speaker, Professor Thuli Madonsela, Chair of Social Justice Research at the University of Stellenbosch Law Faculty, addresses delegates on the future role of philanthropy in South Africa in promoting social cohesion.

“If there’s anything we can learn from the poem, ‘The Cold Within’, it is that if we don’t want to perish together we must join hands to move our country and the world forward in ways that ensure we all prosper together,” commented Professor Madonsela.

Go to www.ipa-sa.org.za/events to register and view the symposium programme 
The IPASA Philanthropy Symposium takes place at The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study from 09:30-17:00 on Monday 28 October and from 08:30-15:00 on Tuesday 29 October 2019.

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