The Building Bridges programme is the School’s strategic  dialogue and partnership platform. The programme has a  threefold purpose:

■  It plays a crucial role in providing a platform for academic researchers, policy makers, private sector, trade unions, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to share and engage on policy related information and research; to engage in dialogue on policy options and implementation challenges.
■  It stimulates partnerships between the School, our  students and our alumni, on the one hand, and public  governance constituencies in South Africa, Africa and  abroad, on the other.
■  It promotes intergenerational engagement, social  inclusivity and connectivity between policy makers and  their constituencies.

The Building Bridges team consists of Ms Mabel Nederlof Sithole and and Ms Penny Parenzee. In the early years of the programme, Building Bridges established a number of continental leadership programmes targeting emerging african leaders, social entrepreneurs and pioneered the Nelson Mandela School’s first women’s leadership development programme in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Leading in Public Life: Women, Influence, Power Programme. These leadership programmes now fall within the Executive Education programme. To learn more about the Executive Education programmes, click here.

Following the development of the School’s 5-year strategy, Building Bridges now has a focus on strengthening networks and promoting strategic engagements that drive our work on democratic governance, sustainable development and policy implementation.

Strategic engagements recently organised by Building Bridges include:

  1. The Democracy in Central and Southern Africa Conference (organised in partnership with the Kofi Annan Foundation, the Elders, UNDEF).
  2. The Africa Day Conference (organised in partnership with the UCT Vice Chancellor’s Office, the African Union -African Peer Review Mechanism)
  3. The AfCFTA and Transformative Industrialisation Series
  4. The Club De Madrid: Rethinking Democracy Challenge (In partnership with Club De Madrid)
  5. The UCT SDG Africa Summit, Lever 1: Building Ethical and Capable Institutions, including pre-summit workshops in partnership with (the Centre for Democracy and Development of Nigeria and Ghana; the Institute of Security Studies, the Afrobarometer, the African Peer Review Mechanism).

Finally, Building Bridges’ work is underpinned by sustained alumni engagement across all of the Nelson Mandela School’s programmes. In 2021, the School launched Mandela School Connect, to promote alumni engagement within the Nelson Mandela School’s community. To visit the Mandela School connect site, click here.

Meet our alumni here.