News & events


Fostering Peace and Continuous Cultural Change in South Africa’s Higher Education: High Impact Practices for Diversity and Inclusion Epistemology

26 November 2015
12:30 - 14:00

Dr. Alphonse Keasley
Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Sylvester Bongani Maphosa
Chief Research Specialist, HSRC

Date:  26 November
12:30 – 14:00
Venue:    VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

What is it that we know and we can know about positive change and peaceful relationships? Dr. Alphonse Keasley and Dr. Sylvester Maphosa bring their peace education, community capacity development, leadership, and implementation science research to the matters of diversity and inclusion in South Africa’s higher education. The aim of this discussion is not to offer a silver bullet to the challenges of transformation in South Africa but to stimulate scholarly reflection on the information, attitudes, values, and behavioral competencies needed to resolve vitriolic conflicts around diversity and inclusion without violence and to build and maintain mutually beneficial, harmonious relationships.
There are many approaches to diversity and inclusion, many of which are based on ideology, practical experience, and good intentions. What is lacking are practices based on research that can be operationalized into evidenced-based procedures. Three interrelated theories underlie effective peaceful relationships of diversity and inclusion, viz. social interdependence theory (dealing with the nature of cooperation and competition), constructive controversy theory (dealing with political discourse and creative problem-solving), and integrative negotiations theory (dealing with mutually beneficial agreements). It is the combination of moving from competitive to cooperative relationships among parties involved in a conflict, in which political discourse and creative problem-solving takes place and mutually beneficial agreements are established and sustained, that consensual positive peace is established and sustained.
Creating socially significant outcomes is an active process that can be done on purpose, studied in practice, and supported by governments and funders. Continuous social change grounded on intersectionality thus open up the possibility of seeing and understanding more spaces of cross-cutting interests. Positive outcomes for diversity and inclusion are therefore obtained when interventions are implemented using effective implementation strategies within an enabling context modelled along the following pillars, which: give voice to diversity in regional, national, and international contexts beyond traditional comprehension; effectively communicate the importance of equity, inclusion and diversity with formal and informal stakeholders and constituents within and outside higher education; advance diversity, inclusion and equity to the broader contextual landscape; use scientific research to foster critical engagement; encourage inclusive teaching and learning practices; identify and apply multiple sources of delivery methods to reach diverse and complex audiences; nurture leadership regarding appropriate and effective responses to bias incidents; and, is grounded on awareness and understanding of the various national laws, and policies.

The seminar may be attended in Pretoria, Cape Town or Durban

RSVP: 25 November 2015 by contacting Sam Lekala @ 012 316 9753 or

Cape Town: Carmen August (021) 466 7827,   12th Floor, Plein Park Building, Plein Street, Cape Town
Durban: Ridhwaan Khan (031) 242 5400,   1st Floor, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor
Pretoria: Arlene Grossberg (012) 302 2811,  1st  Floor, HSRC Building, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria