In conversation with the NIHSS’ Prof. Sarah Mosoetsa

BRICS Journal is proud to announce its partnership with the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), the custodian of the South African BRICS Think Tank (SABTT). We caught up with Prof. Sarah Mosoetsa, the Institute’s CEO.

How did the SABTT come about?
The South African cabinet approved the establishment of a dedicated SABTT, which would serve as a national focal point for the country on BRICS-related matters. Initially, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) took overall responsibility for the co-ordination of the BRICS Think Tank Council (BTTC) and Academic Forum activities.

Following that, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) was appointed – on an interim basis – to serve as the SABTT host from 2013 to 2015, with the mandate of incubating the BRICS Think Tank on behalf of South Africa. After a ministerial committee report had identified the frameworks for the SABTT and the location of the SABTT, the DHET concluded that the SABTT should be located at the NIHSS.

Tell us more about the mandate and objectives of the NIHSS
The NIHSS is a statutory body distinctly set up with a purpose of building and dynamising the humanities and social sciences (HSS). Our mandate is to develop and structure the institutional and logistical framework for the envisioned higher education institution for the HSS.

Our strategic objectives include fostering international research collaborations between South Africa, Africa, countries of the Global South, including Brazil, India and China; to act as a dynamic broker between the worlds of knowledge and policy action on behalf of South Africa as the South African BRICS Think Tank; as well as manage all BRICS Think Tank-related activities on behalf of South Africa.

On 8 March 2016 NIHSS hosted its first SABTT Academic Forum. What came out of that initiative?
This event is one of the many BRICS-related initiatives outlined in the SABTT business plan. The hosting of the academic forum cluster workshops pay special attention to the five pillars of the Long-Term Strategy of BRICS (2030), thereby ensuring that SABTT implements the ideals of the BRICS Long Term Strategy.
The SABTT’s thematic areas of focus are in line with that of the BTTC which are: promoting co-operation for economic growth and development; peace and security; social justice, sustainable development and quality of life; political and economic governance; and progress through knowledge and innovation sharing.

The Academic Forum is about building a network of academics and researchers around the country who are working on areas aligned to the BRICS agenda.

Share your thoughts on the significance of the Institute’s partnership with BRICS Journal.
Shaping a particular agenda requires positive story-telling that is compelling, so it was absolutely a no-brainer for us to form this partnership with the BRICS Journal team, which prides itself on offering clearly focused content on economics, politics, arts and culture across the BRICS countries.

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