At the heart of the planned collaboration initiative are political reconciliation and conflict resolution. On Thursday, June 30, Prof. Dr. Werner Reinhart, president of Europa-Universität Flensburg (EUF), Prof. Dr. Ralf Wüstenberg, director of the Wasatia Graduate School, and Prof. Dr. Robert Vosloo, professor at the theological faculty and a senior researcher at the Beyers Naudé Center for Public Theology, signed a "Letter of Intent" formalizing the close collaboration of the Beyers Naudé Centre for public theology and the Wasatia Graduate School on issues of political reconciliation and conflict resolution in the areas of research, knowledge transfer, and fostering reconciliation in the public sphere.
"I am very pleased with this cooperative initiative," said Prof. Dr. Werner Reinhart. "It adds a significant non-European perspective to our European view of reconciliation – a socially relevant and unfortunately increasingly topical issue. And it increases the internationality and interdisciplinarity of conflict and democracy studies -- a critically important field for us."
The Wasatia Graduate School hopes that the collaboration will motivate its doctoral students to engage with conflict resolution from the countries of Israel, Palestine, Albania, Zimbabwe and Northern Ireland. Both fellow's program and the Interdisciplinary Centre of European Studies (ICES) will also be enriched by researchers from South Africa. The initiative enables professors from Stellenbosch University whose work focuses on political reconciliation and conflict studies to spend parts of their research semester as scholars in residence at ICES/with the Wasatia cooperation.
"South Africa in general, and the research institute named after the anti-apartheid fighter Beyers Naudé, continue to be one among the most important interlocutors in international conflict research," explained Prof. Dr. Ralf Wüstenberg on the occasion of the signing. "So we are very pleased to be able to incorporate South African expertise into the doctoral curriculum of the Wasatia Graduate School. This adds another significant perspective to the trilateral core from Israel, Palestine and Germany. And we are delighted to have a doctoral student from South Africa."
Prof. Dr. Robert Vosloo also emphasized the benefits of the agreed cooperation: "The cooperation with Flensburg is very special for Stellenbosch University and the Faculty of Theology, especially because of the questions that arise around the necessary connection between justice and reconciliation. For those of us who deal with the issue of reconciliation in South African society on a daily basis, the chance to work in a societal comparative way and to learn through students and scholars of the Wasatia Graduate School how other societies experience and research this issue is especially interesting."