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7 November 2019
1st National PhD Conference in Development Studies

(Published - 7 November 2019)

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) hosted the 1st National PhD Conference in Development Studies in South Africa, organised by the PhD Forum of the Institute for Social Development (ISD). The conference gave PhD students the opportunity to enhance their capacities, maximise opportunities, network and collaborate with peers and faculties towards a successful academic experience.


The conference theme was ‘Social and democratic transformation at a time of rising inequality.’ While Professor Simon Bekker, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Stellenbosch, provided the keynote address, further debates were elicited on issues relating to social and demographic change across four thematic streams: 

  • Human mobility in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Food and Nutrition Security;
  • Social Protection and Livelihoods; and,
  • Poverty and Inequality.

Chairperson of the PhD Forum at the Institute for Social Development, and the conference convener, Mr Adeyemi Badewa, said this year’s event drew 80 participants - 40 of whom were PhD scholars and emerging researchers.

“This conference gave current and recently-graduated doctoral students across South Africa the opportunity to present their work to a larger audience, and in turn gain insights about the research carried out by colleagues and senior academics,” he said.

“It also gave participants opportunities to network with other academics in advancing professional relationships.”


Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support, Professor Pamela Dube, said: “This colloquium allowed academics and scholars to find solutions that can eradicate the inequalities we are confronted with. It is imperative that we encourage postgraduate students at the PhD level to hone their research and analytical skills in order to contribute to the knowledge economy.”

The Dean, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS), Professor Michelle Esau, congratulated the acting director of the ISD, Prof Dinbabo and Mr Badewa for giving scholars the opportunity to develop beyond the writing of a PhD.

“We need to continue to encourage our scholars to be the next generation of academic leaders,” she said.