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Unisa political scientist assumes leadership role in global association

Sanet Solomon, a lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences in the College of Human Sciences, has been appointed as the deputy president of the Africa branch of the prestigious International Association for Political Science Students (IAPSS Africa).

Image source: CoSE

Solomon (née Madonsela) is a PhD candidate at the Department of History and Political Studies at Nelson Mandela University. She currently chairs the Emerging Scholars Research Committee of the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS). Solomon is an internationally published author, a double cum laude graduate and a member of the International Golden Key Honour Society. Additionally, she serves as a reviewer for the Taylor and Francis journal Politikon. Her research focuses on Africa and the Middle East. Her latest academic publication is a book chapter on state capture that she co-authored with Professor Mark Swilling.

Sanet Solomon

Solomon recently sat down with Nnana Jege to talk about her recent appointment.

  1. What are the objectives and functions of the IAPSS?

The IAPSS is a global, non-profit, student-led organisation aimed at making a global impact in political science. It has been in existence for over two decades and has a global democratic student leadership. The organisation seeks to provide its members with a sense of responsibility concerning their role in improving their social and political environment. The IAPSS World Congress and the IAPSS Academic Convention, along with the organisation’s winter and summer schools and study trips, are aimed at equipping young political scientists with the skills and knowledge needed to materialise this objective.

The association is divided into various regions, namely Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania, the United States and Canada, making it accessible to all political scientists. The smaller regional bodies work in collaboration with different national associations or political science bodies. Members play a central role in voting for their leaders during the general assemblies, thus actively shaping the future of the IAPSS.

 2.      What are the criteria for one to serve in such an association?

IAPSS Africa consists of early career researchers and emerging industry professionals with a background in political science and associated disciplines. The region hosts members from across the continent whose interests intersect the diverse issues that embody the socio-political and economic gaps, as well as priorities, in African affairs. Its goal is to become a “powerhouse of human and material governance resources, and home to passionate Africans who will lead the next generation of change-makers globally.”

  1. What does this appointment mean to you as an academic?

My appointment as the deputy president of IAPSS Africa follows my term as the projects and events coordinator for the association. This appointment provides me with an opportunity to give back and to promote Africa and the African voice in political science. It allows me to prepare the political science fraternity for the next generation of political scientists. The continental dimension of the organisation allows for collaboration between political scientists and academics across the African continent.

  1. As an academic, what expertise are you going to provide to the IAPSS?

I will be utilising my past and present experience to assist the organisation. I will be leveraging my position as an academic, an internationally published author, a reviewer for academic journals and the chairperson of the Emerging Scholars Research Committee of the SAAPS. I see these different roles as mutually reinforcing. It means that I can also be a better academic for my students, specifically by involving my postgraduate students in IAPSS activities. I look forward to forging ties between Unisa – Africa’s largest university – and the African continent’s only continental political science student organisation.

  1. Has it always been your goal/wish to serve in the association?

My goal has always been to be of service. This position provides me with an opportunity to be of service as a political scientist by making a contribution, deepening debate and, hopefully, coming up with concrete policy recommendations given Africa’s multiple policy challenges.

  1. As a young Political Science lecturer, what are your political views regarding the state of our nation and youth unemployment?

South Africa is confronted with multiple challenges, which are not only political but also socio-economic in nature. These challenges are not only a result of domestic issues such as poor governance but also a result of international factors like the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which has contributed towards an increase in food and fuel prices. South Africa’s youth unemployment rate was 63,9% during the first quarter of the year and this is unsustainable. I do, however, believe that education can play a major role in finding a way out of some of these challenges and equipping the youth with the skills of tomorrow. I truly value the opportunity to facilitate this process.

  1. What do you want to achieve during your term as the deputy president of IAPSS Africa?

I want to expand the ties between the IAPSS and other national associations. I would like to strengthen the ties between the IAPSS and the SAAPS’s Emerging Scholars Research Committee. My positions as the deputy president of IAPSS Africa, the chair of the SAAPS Emerging Scholars Research Committee and a member of the SAAPS Council will allow me to facilitate the integration of South African politics into the broader continental body.

  1. Lastly, what would you want to be remembered for?

I would like to be remembered as someone who embodied a servant leadership style. I would like to share my skills, resources and expertise with the association to ensure that we positively contribute towards the development of future leaders and assist them in tapping into their potential.

* By Nnana Jege, Communication and Marketing Specialist, College of Human Sciences

Publish date: 2022/06/07