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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction: English Number of Credits Offered: 3
Eligible Population: Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Schar School of Policy and Government Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Global Health, Governance, and Development: Contemporary Issues

South Africa, Summer 2020

Cape Town city view

This study-abroad course examines the political, economic, social and security challenges confronting South Africa today, twenty years after its emergence as a multi-party democracy. These include poverty alleviation, black economic empowerment, education, land, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the environment. The course also explores South Africa in its regional setting, with specific attention to issues such as Zimbabwe, regional integration through SADC (Southern African Development Community), efforts at peacekeeping and conflict resolution (Democratic Republic of Congo), and South Africa as a continental power driving NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development). An examination of trade and investment issues affecting the country’s international position, including the country’s membership in BRICS, brings a global perspective.

Classes take place in Pretoria (on the campus of the University of Pretoria), with lectures by a variety of specialists, including academics and practitioners. Formal sessions are complemented by various site visits, governmental and non-governmental, to encourage a more comprehensive understanding of the multi-faceted issues affecting the country and society. The program aims to provide context for understanding the rapid change that South Africa has experienced during the past twenty years and the dynamic nature of the country as Africa’s powerhouse.

Students earn a Certificate of Completion from the University of Pretoria as well as 3 credits from the Schar School. 
Sponsored by Schar School of Policy and Government


This program is open to all graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and faculty members including those who do not attend or work at George Mason University.


  • ITRN 702: Special Topics in Study Abroad

Program Dates*

May 18 - May 28, 2020


Program Itinerary*

Monday, 18 May 2020:
Individual Arrival/Check-in at Brooklyn Guesthouse (132 Murray Street
Brooklyn, Pretoria. T: +27 12 362 1728 C: +27 84 252 4626). From the JNB airport, take an Uber/taxi or the Gautrain from the airport to the Hatfield Station (
6:00pm                        Group dinner at Brooklyn Guesthouse
7:00pm                        Welcome and Orientation at Brooklyn Guesthouse
Tuesday, 19 May 2020:
From 7:30am             Breakfast at your leisure
8:30am                         Departure for the University of Pretoria (UP). Ten-minute walk; if you need special transportation please book in advance.
9:00am- 10:45am       Introduction and campus tour
10:45am- 11:00am     Coffee/Tea break
11:00am – 12:15pm    An Overview of the South African Political Landscape, Dr. Sithembile Mbete, Dept. of Political Sciences, UP.
12:15pm – 1:30pm     Free time: lunch break 
1:30pm – 3:00pm       An Overview of the South African Economy, Dr. Mabutho Shangase, Dept. of Political Sciences, UP
3:00pm – 3:15pm       Coffee/Tea break
3:15pm – 4:45pm       South Africa’s foreign policy, Dr Philani Mthembu, Executive Director, Institute for Global Dialogue
6:00pm                        Dinner at the Guesthouse
Wednesday, 20 May 2020:
From 7:30am              Breakfast at your leisure
7:45am Departure for Ukutula
Visit to Biobank and Conservation presentation at Ukutula by Dr. Willi Jacobs, UCC Founder & Director
Walk with the Lions and lunch
1:30pm depart for Pretoria, visit the Union Buildings
Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
Thursday, 21 May 2020:
From 7:30am             Breakfast at your leisure
8:30am                         Departure for the University of Pretoria (UP). Ten-minute walk; if you need special transportation please book in advance.
9:00am – 10:30am      HIV and AIDS in the context of South African health policy, Mr. Pierre Brouard, Deputy-Director, Centre for the Study of Sexualities, AIDS and Gender, UP
10:30am – 10:45am    Coffee/Tea break
10:45am – 12:15pm    Health policy in South Africa
Prof. Tessa Marcus, Faculty of Health Sciences, UP
12:15pm – 1:00pm     Free time: Lunch break
1:00pm                        Leave for afternoon lectures at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)
1:30pm – 3:00pm       Issues of migration and xenophobia in South and Southern Africa, Dr Ottilia Maunganidze, ISS
3:00pm – 3:15pm       Coffee/tea break
3:15pm – 4:45pm       South Africa’s Blue Economy, Mr. Tim Walker, ISS
Evening (6:00pm):      Africa Day Concert – Aula, UP, followed by a traditional ‘braai’ dinner with students from UP and Carlton University at the Brooklyn Guesthouse
Friday, 22 May 2020
From 7:30am              Breakfast at your leisure
8:30am                         Departure for the University of Pretoria (UP). Ten-minute walk; if you need special transportation please book in advance.
9:00am – 10:30am      South African Education, Mr Andre du Plessis, Faculty of Education, UP.  
10:30am – 10:45am    Coffee/tea break
10:45am – 12:00pm    Cultural and Heritage Policy and Debates, Mr Mike van Graan, playwright and artist in residence, UP.
12:00pm – 13:30         Lunch break. Lunch on your own
1:30pm – 2:45pm       Ensuring Food Security in South Africa and the Southern African (SADC) region, Dr. Nokuthula Vilakazi and Ms Elizabeth Mkandawire: Centre for Food Security, UP
2:45pm – 3:00pm       Coffee/tea break
3:00pm – 4:15pm       South Africa’s Approach to Security Policy, Ms Elizabeth Ferguson, Department of Political Sciences, UP
Saturday, 23 May 2020:        
From 7:30am  Breakfast at your leisure
9:00am Departure to Johannesburg 
Apartheid Museum (Bring student ID) 
Group lunch at Apartheid Museum 
Trip through Soweto. See an informal settlement, the Hector Pieterson Museum and Nelson Mandela’s house. Group dinner at Soweto Restaurant
Return to Pretoria 
Sunday, 24 May 2020:           
Check-out of the Guesthouse. Departure time 6:30am
Group flight to Cape Town, MN 121 JNB/CPT 9:10- 11:20am
2:00pm – 5:00pm Lunch and Walking tour of District Six with Prof Siona O’Connell
Check into hotel, the Portswood Hotel. (Portswood Square, Portswood Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa +27 21 418 3281)
Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
Monday, 25 May 2020:
From 7:00am  Breakfast at your leisure
9:30am – 11:00am      Conservation challenges in the context of development, Mr Ross Harvey, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
11:00am – 11:15         Tea/coffee break       
11:15am – 12:30pm    Energy policy in South Africa, Mr Saliem Fakir, World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), Cape Town
12:30pm – 1:30pm     Lunch break
1:30pm – 3:00pm       Land issues in South Africa, Prof. Ben Cousins and Dr Farai Mtero, PLAAS, University of the Western Cape        
Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
Tuesday, 26 May 2020:
From 7:00am  Breakfast at your leisure
Departure time TBC
Boat ride to Robben Island. Briefing and tour of the prison.
Cape of Good Hope Tour, including visiting Boulders Beach and the African Penguins
Evening: Free time (Dinner on your own)
Wednesday, 27 May 2020:
Morning free for visit to Table Mountain
12:30pm - Depart for farewell luncheon and final ceremony (certificates awarded).
Official programme concludes
Thursday, 28 May 2020:
Optional Day Safari Trip
Friday, 29 May 2020:
Individual Checkout
*The schedule may change or be modified at any time

Important Dates * Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost (Summer 2020): $4,500

Please review the information below to see the program fee details.

  • Tuition (3 credits)
  • Accommodations 
  • In-country travel to all program activities
  • All lectures and seminars
  • Group flight to Cape Town
  • Some meals
  • International Emergency Insurance
Not Included:
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Other transportation
  • Some meals
  • Personal spending

Program Payments

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Non-Mason Students: Non-Mason students must be admitted to the University and assigned a student number prior to making payments. Please submit the "Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form" during the application phase in order to begin this process.

Refund and Cancellation Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Refund and Cancellation Policy.

Application Deadline:

April 14th, 2020


Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Contact Information

Program Officer

Michal McElwain Malur

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2020 04/14/2020 ** Rolling Admission 05/18/2020 05/28/2020

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.