Equality and inclusive development dominated the talks on the first day of the 10th BRICS Academic Forum which kicked off in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Monday.
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Academic Forum, which runs from 28-31 May 2018 interrogates policies, research papers and finds ways to improve the lives of the people living in BRICS nations.
“The BRICS formation is one that is based on a progressive view of how the world should develop; and the world is in need of progressive ideas that come from issues of social justice and inclusion. So I’m hoping that the colleges here will look at this conceptual ideal and help us to generate concrete responses based on that,” says Naledi Pandor, South African Minister of Higher Education and Training.
Thought leaders including delegates from universities, government officials and BRICS Think Tank Council (BTTC) members are among the delegates at the four-day meeting.
Pandor opened the four day event with a keynote speech that urged delegates to find ways to address inequality.
“All the colleagues gathered here will probably agree that as part of the knowledge generating community we live in uncertain times,” says Pandor.
Pandor says knowledge and truth are threatened by both the powerful and wealthy and those who have been so marginalized.
“The BRICS partnership offers an alternative model of global friendship and solidarity. It needs to articulate a more optimistic and a more resolute narrative of inclusion and progressive values, a narrative that commits to addressing the needs and interest of the most vulnerable, a narrative that suggests the possibility of a block that can redress the imbalances that confront so many millions in our communities and the world broadly,” says Pandor.
Pandor questioned delegates on whether the decisions they had made have had a real impact on BRICS nations.
“It is vital to have the following questions answered? Have we achieved all we wanted to? Has our work had any impact on decisions taken by BRICS leaders? What happens to the papers that we publish from our meetings?” asked Pandor.
The opening ended with a gala dinner which saw delegates from BRICS member states celebrating their different cultures.
Delegates were challenged to go on stage during the dinner to show off their talents by singing, dancing or reciting a poem that represented their country.
The challenge revealed personalities of the diverse BRICS member states.
[Watch] South Africa, the host nation, open the challenge followed by China, India, Russia and Brazil.