Established in 2013, the SARDF is a society-driven initiative to promote better understanding and cooperation between Russia and South Africa in the context of the special relationship into which the two states have entered. As a non-political civil society organization, the SARDF seeks to enhance people-to-people interaction and official relations in a range of fields, including the economy, education, science, culture and politics.
The central theme of the 2016 conference is Towards 25 years of official relations between South Africa and Russia. Participants will have the opportunity to take stock of the progress made in bilateral relations in various areas over this period and to ponder the future of the two countries’ relationship. At the same time the state of inter-societal relations needs to be considered, as well as the prospects for a deepening of non-official interactions.
The first day of the conference, Monday, 28 November, will consist of four sessions devoted to political and diplomatic relations between Russia and South Africa, economic and technological links (including energy), socio-cultural ties, and environmental exchanges, respectively. Policy-makers, diplomats, business leaders, academics, writers and environmentalists from the two countries will be invited to speak at the four sessions.
On the second day two exclusively academic sessions will be held. Following a call for papers, ten submissions relating to Russia and South Africa will be selected for presentation. Papers relating to the two states’ membership of BRICS and how this influences their bilateral relations and multilateral engagements would be particularly welcome. Presentations on the African agendas pursued by Russia and South Africa, separately and perhaps jointly, are likewise encouraged. The selectors will also consider proposals dealing with other aspects of the two states’ official or non-official relations, or themes concerned with their respective domestic politics or international relations.
As with previous SARDF conferences, the organisers of the 2016 event intend publishing deserving academic presentations in a scholarly journal or in some other suitable format. Academic presenters are expected to give the SARDF the first right of refusal for the publication of their conference papers.
In line with another SARDF custom, the organisers will endeavour to subside – through sponsorships – the accommodation expenses of participants in the 2016 conference. This could include three nights’ accommodation at the Misty Hills Hotel. Arrangements will be made for cultural and social events, including a visit to Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng (near the conference venue) and a meal in Misty Hills Hotel’s famous Carnivore restaurant. Optional excursions to nearby places of interest (including Pilanesberg game reserve, Lesedi cultural village and the Sun City resort) for the day after the conference (30 November) will also be offered.
For inquiries, please contact the conference organisers, both attached to the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg:
Prof. Deon Geldenhuys, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Costa Georghiou, email@example.com
Issued on 17 February 2016