New African-European MA programme in Cultural Relations to be launched at UP in 2013
By Dr Stephan Mühr
Posted on 05 July 2012
The study of a foreign language comprises much more than the acquisition of communicative competencies. Foreign-language programmes are shifting towards including aspects of cultural competence, particularly at the academic level.
A growing need for intercultural mediators in multilateral governmental, non-governmental and business-related institutions has developed in the global arena. Sound language competence combined with knowledge of international affairs, cultural studies, history and a critical understanding of different cultural systems is a sought-after skills set in the rapidly expanding fields of international and cross-cultural affairs.
Since 2009, the University of Pretoria has collaborated with the top-ranking German University of Konstanz and their National Centre of Excellence: Cultural Foundations of Integration, to develop and implement the new programme. For this purpose, funds were made available by both these institutions, as well as by the German Academic Exchange Service.
In order to develop a truly interdisciplinary programme, representatives from multiple departments in the faculties of Humanities and Law were involved in the implementation of the programme, among others Ancient Languages, Anthropology, English, History, Modern European Languages, Philosophy, Political Sciences, Religious Studies, Visual Arts and the Centre for Human Rights.
Although the main focus of the master's programme is the mini-dissertation, it also includes learning interventions that will equip students with the tools and skills required to conduct independent research of an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary nature in any one of five fields of specialisation.
Further information will be made available in the months ahead.