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Cooperation on research and education

The final day of The King and Queen’s State Visit to South Africa included seminars on research and education, a guided tour of the Uitsig Clinic and a visit with young sailors at the Zeekovlei Yacht Club.

26.11.2009

First, however, The King and Queen began their day with a guided tour of Green Point Stadium accompanied by Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town Dan Plato.

Green Point Stadium

In 2004, South Africa became the first African nation to be awarded the FIFA World Cup football tournament, which will be held in 2010. The new Green Point Stadium now under construction occupies a beautiful location overlooking the harbour and will have a seating capacity of 68 000 for the World Cup.

The old Green Point Stadium is known internationally as the venue of the first of the 46664 AIDS charity concerts which assembled some of the world’s greatest artists in 2003. The number 46664 was assigned to Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment on Robben Island, and is used today by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in its campaign to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

Opened seminars on research and education

Later in the day, Queen Sonja opened two seminars on research and higher education at the University of Cape Town. About 22 000 students attend the university, of which 4 000 are international students from 97 countries, including Norway. The seminar on higher education focused on how to further enhance study conditions in the respective countries.

Since 1995, Norwegian and South African universities have cooperated extensively on research in areas such as medicine, energy, social welfare, physics and biology. The seminar on research explored new potential areas of cooperation, as Queen Sonja noted in her opening remarks:

- With the opening of today’s seminars, our two countries are entering a new phase in our academic partnerships, addressing topics such as climate change and environmental hazards, as well as medicine and public health challenges.

The Uitsig Clinic

The King and Queen then paid a visit to the Uitsig Clinic, a public health station, where they were given a guided tour and an introduction to the vital work carried out there. King Harald and Queen Sonja also visited a family associated with the clinic.

The clinic is one of 18 field stations affiliated with the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University. Established to combat the spread of tuberculosis, the centre is regarded today as a leader in research on tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS. The University of Bergen is one of many universities throughout the world involved in collaborative research projects with the centre.

Courage through sailing

The final official visit on The King and Queen’s schedule was the Zeekovlei Yacht Club, where young people from poverty-stricken areas learn to sail. Some of them participate in regattas, including internationally, and a few have found work in the sailing industry. Some also return and work as volunteer instructors for the project, which currently offers weekly classes to about 100 children between 8 and 18 years of age.

The sailing project is part of the MOT programme, founded by Norwegian speed skaters Johann Olav Koss and Atle Vårvik to promote a safe and secure environment which empowers young people to trust their own abilities. (The word “mot” in Norwegian means “courage”.) South Africa was the first country outside of Norway to launch a MOT project. The director of the MOT programme in South Africa, Wanda Møller, gave a presentation about several MOT projects for the King and Queen.

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