South African Ambassador Announces New Initiative with Norfolk State University

Ebrahim Rasool, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the United States, visited Norfolk State University on Nov. 24 to announce a new educational initiative between the university and officials in the country.

Speaking to more than 200 students, faculty, and guests at the NSU Student Center, Rasool provided details about a non-governmental organization called “Friends of South Africa” that stimulates educational partnerships between NSU and schools abroad. Participating schools include the University of the Western Cape, University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, WITS University and the University of Johannesburg.

“The choices for black young people across the world lie on such a narrow life edge,” said Rasool. “You’re not just here to fulfill your dreams…the fact of the matter is…we have a responsibility.”

The goal of the network is to facilitate study abroad programs between NSU students and South African students, promote research initiatives, create scholarly exchanges, and develop programs that will allow South African students to pursue degrees in the U.S.

NSU’s Geoffroy de Laforcade, director of International Studies in the Office of International Studies and Service-Learning, also announced that NSU along with Old Dominion University will host the Mandela Summer Democracy Institute next year where more than two dozen South African students will visit the U.S. and attend educational workshops at the two universities.

“Norfolk State has pursued bold and original initiatives in study abroad, and people are taking notice internationally,” said de Laforcade. “Our students are very excited too about the partnership.”