State visit to South Africa: Education and research
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to open these joint seminars on higher education and research.
Since 1995 Norway and South-Africa have an extensive of cooperation in a variety of sciences such as medicine, energy and biology. The time has come to examine how we can consolidate and further develop this cooperation in the years ahead. Global challenges require global solutions. The financial crisis and, not least, global climate change are dramatic reminders of this.
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 tuberculosis project at Stellenbosch University is a brilliant example of applied research, where the results are made available for the benefit of the people. Together with the King, I look forward to visiting the tuberculosis project at the clinic in Tygerberg later today.
This morning we visited Green Point Stadium. It is an impressive arena for the 2010 Football World Cup, and I appreciate that this event will be of major importance for South-Africa as host country.
Education and research have something in common with football. As scholars and scientists, your “game” is to create a foundation for sustainable development and a knowledge-based economy. In the development of education and research you are human resources coaches; your job is to make your students and scholars good players who are contributing to the common goal. This can only happen when everybody finds his or her role in the big picture, equipped with the qualifications needed for successful performance.
But unlike football, the aim of research is not to beat competitors – but through cooperation to produce knowledge and insights of long-term value to mankind. Talent cannot grow in isolation. We need cooperation in order to develop our universities. Research is indeed something that cannot grow without the sharing of knowledge and ideas. Thanks to the high academic level of our institutions and the talents of our students and scholars on both sides, I am confident that you will find good solutions.
South-Africa is an important actor in the fields of higher education and research. Your country is not only a motor for regional development, it also makes a great contribution to world knowledge. It is therefore a privilege for Norway to continue – and strengthen – the many close ties and cooperation projects that have been established over the years.
I wish you all inspiring discussions. I feel confident that today’s seminars will lay a foundation for stronger cooperation between our countries in the future.