Preparing South Africa’s future leaders for the global stage

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Preparing South Africa’s future leaders for the global stage

May 19, 2011

20 May 2011, Cape Town: On the eve of the local elections, while South Africa was preparing to vote, some 250 bright young minds from 50 Western Cape schools gathered to compete for first place in the 19th Caltex/SAIIA Interschools Quiz. Filling a gap in the schools curriculum, the quiz shines the spotlight on international affairs and its impact on South Africa's foreign and domestic policies, while providing a platform for the critical skills development of tomorrow’s potential leaders. 

With first place trophy in hand, 18 year old Cai Nebe, captain of the Bishops Diocesan College team says the months of research, debate, workshop and analysis has not ended with the quiz. “Thank you to SAIIA and Chevron for organizing the annual inter-school quiz. This event really puts the important topic of international affairs on the radar for a large number of boys and girls in the Cape Town area for a few weeks of the year. Through the work we did in preparing for the quiz and with the input we received from Tim Hughes and Africa Melane on the night, we have come to a better understanding and knowledge of international issues and the importance of international relationships.”

Sponsored by Caltex, the marketing brand of Chevron South Africa, in partnership with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), the quiz was originally founded by Tim Hughes, Parliamentary Liaison Officer of SAIIA. “One of SAIIA’s key objectives is to engage more young people in our activities and the quiz is a great vehicle to incentivise them to do that. The learning domino effect of this initiative is also notable: we have had the same teachers get involved annually and each year they become more empowered to foster a culture of learning on global affairs through assisting their learners with preparations for the quiz,” he says.

For Chevron, supporting this initiative since its inception 19 years ago was an easy decision that fit with the business’ values. Suzanne Pullinger, Communications Manager at Chevron comments, “With our roots as a global energy company and our 100 year long commitment to the country, we have always understood our unique position as a local player on a global stage and the importance of international trade relations. Our ethos as a business has always been informed by investing in people and on harnessing human energy. This initiative has given us the opportunity to unleash the potential that our future leaders have to participate in world affairs as knowledgeable global citizens.” 

Continues Pullinger, “This initiative has given us the opportunity to unleash the potential that our future leaders have to participate in world affairs as informed and knowledgeable global citizens. It all comes back to education which is in line with Chevron’s Energy for Learning programme. This global initiative promotes formal education in preschools and basic adult education for a brighter tomorrow.”

Bishops Diocesan College, the 2011 Caltex/SAIIA Interschool Quiz winner, walks away with a R5000 cheque. Second place and a cheque R1666 per school was shared by Livingstone, Jan van Riebeck and Westerford. All participating schools receive SAIIA membership, books for their library from The Abe Bailey Trust, a commemorative keepsake from Chevron as well as an international affairs notice board. 

“We want to note that the prizes won are not ends in themselves for these learners. Their growing interest in international affairs, and the culture of reading the newspaper and keeping abreast of international issues is the prize I am most happy to have bequeathed,” comments Hughes. 

Also present at the event were South African Ambassador to Jordan, Dr. Boy Geldenhuys and Mr Christopher Trott, British Consul General.Concludes Pullinger: “The high level of competence in which the difficult questions were handled by the learners is a sign that our country has a promising future of leaders who will represent it expertly in global matters.”

“As a developing country that came out of international isolation almost two decades ago, South Africa has made great strides in bolstering its prominence in the global sphere. Our membership as the only African member state in the G20 coalition, the recently brokered membership into the economic power house of BRIC and our imminent leadership role as host of the 17th Congress of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change later this year all point to our role as a growing player in international affairs. And it all started with securing every citizens’ right to free and fair elections,” adds Hughes.