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Updated 10:00 AM April 11, 2005




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Don't Miss: U-M, U. of Cape Town symposium
April 14-15

James Levinsohn, the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy and associate dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, knows firsthand the effects of affirmative action in South Africa.

Levinsohn, who has been teaching workshops at the University of Cape Town for the last six years, says, "Like the U.S., South Africa is implementing affirmative action programs in both higher education and in the labor market more generally," he says. "In South Africa, though, the programs are affirmative for the vast majority, not a minority, and seem more a part of a larger social transformation.

"That said, there are real challenges in South Africa as there are here, and sharing views and ideas is going to be exciting."

Levinsohn will be one of the presenters at an April 14-15 symposium hosted by U-M and the University of Cape Town, "Affirmative Action in Higher Education: The United States and South Africa."

Higher education and judicial leaders, scholars and analysts of each country will examine the similarities, differences and lessons to be learned.

The symposium will be co-convened by Levinsohn, David Featherman, professor of psychology and sociology, research professor and out-going director of the Institute for Social Research; and Marvin Krislov, vice president and general counsel.

"Affirmative action in South Africa is part of profound transformations of its core institutions following apartheid," Featherman says. "It is intimately tied to achieving social justice under the South African constitution and not just diversity, to pursuing world-class excellence as well as equal opportunity."

The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will convene 3-5 p.m. April 14 and 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 15. All sessions will be held in the Law School, Room 100.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Georgia, also will present an associated lecture titled, "From the Jim Crow South to South Africa: A Journalist's Journey," at noon April 14 in the Rackham Building.

A full list of panelists and detailed information on the symposium program, times and locations are available at

The symposium is sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Law School, Office of the Vice President for Communications, and Office of the Vice President and General Counsel.

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