Dr. Heinrich Matthee, renowned political analyst and security affairs expert with more than 25 years of experience in this field, became the first holder of the honorary chair in security studies in the Faculty of Humanities at Akademia on Tuesday.
In his inaugural speech, Matthee touched on a kaleidoscope of security issues under the title “Explorers and decision-makers in political alternations” in which he responded to how we should think about security studies in Afrikaans and what we can do with them.
His speech touched on different security studies aspects which include an overview of the international knowledge community, an open visor of perspectives, Africa’s unique character of security studies, aspects of the security economy, armed forces and the diplomacy of security studies, forces and communities.
According to Matthee, the honorary chair offers an opportunity to challenge the basic assumptions of classical security studies in a unique African context in which different communities think differently about security.
According to Matthee, security studies in an African context must not only take into account cultural plurality, but also policing pluralism – a context within which “the police” with a monopoly of power do not exist, but rather a plurality of government, private and community actors who work together to ensure safety. Community and policing pluralism necessarily necessitates a greater focus on the diplomacy of security studies.
Matthee concluded his presentation with a focus on what he calls the heart of the matter.
“It is a fickle forest with deeper roots within which ordinary people become explorers and decision makers in a larger political order.”
Ultimately, the abstractions of security studies must be aimed at understanding and analyzing the world and reality in such a way as to make people’s circumstances safer.
During the event, this honorary chair’s three-year development plan was also outlined, which includes the following:
- The development and presentation of an honors module in community and security studies;
- the development and presentation of a short course in safety studies;
- the development and presentation of workshops in safety studies;
- the appointment of a research associate under this honorary chair;
- to investigate the establishment of an institute for safety and future studies at Akademia; and
- to conduct research on and training in negotiation and mediation in the community.
The honorary chair for security studies is the third honorary chair that Akademia is introducing. The NP van Wyk-Louw flagship honorary chair in cultural ethics is held by Carel Boshoff, and the honorary chair in educational leadership by Dr. Pierre Edwards. These honorary chairs are equivalent to an honorary professorship.
During the event, prof. Danie Goosen, academic head of Akademia, emphasizes how Akademia’s establishment of honorary chairs is a commitment to the age-old veneration of “the professor” – this in the spirit of the times, skeptical of the professor and his authority.
“This commitment is expressed, among other things, in our commitment to the office of the honorary professor, that is to say to that person who, in an even more experienced way than the professor, represents things like truth, wisdom and experience,” said Goosen.
According to Goosen, Matthee fully embodies these qualities.
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