Cross continental activity led by Wits School of Governance faculty member Geci Karuri-Sebina. (image: Shobha Chhatri)

In December last year, the first Complexity Global School (CGS) brought together students from South Asia and Africa to explore ideas at the intersection of complexity science and political economy. The School, which is part of SFI’s Emerging Political Economies program, was hosted by partnering institutions Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. 
Led by a diverse group of scholars in complexity, economics, and governance, the Complexity Global School focused on methods, models, and new frameworks for analyzing complex phenomena in various social, economic, and political spheres. One of the central aims of the program is to use these multiple lenses to reimagine the fundamental paradigms that organize political economies, fostering a deeper understanding of their complexities and empowering innovative solutions to address today’s most pressing challenges. 
“The CGS structure was complexity science put into practice. While discussions occasionally surpassed our understanding, they centered on invaluable topics, leaving us to delve deeper into those of interest," says Olufemi Oloba, student at Afe Babalola University in Aye, Nigeria. Oloba attended the School hosted in South Africa.
In addition to many of the lectures and activities, students found the opportunities to connect with scholars from around the world very helpful. Interactions over the two-week period fostered new and creative research groups, revealed networks, and required constant adaptation. Major themes emerged — and shifted — among the participants. Between both sites, a total of 17 countries were represented amongst 29 men and 32 women. Both cohorts had a wide array of participants ranging from practitioners to early-career academics.
“One activity of reckless idea generation challenged us to break free from the constraints of our academic training and explore unconventional solutions. This experience helped me understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in questioning dominant narratives,” says Somya Srivastava, student at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, who attended the School in India. Fourteen of the eighteen project groups that resulted from the 12-day intensive school had students from both sites.  
“By bringing together such an intellectually diverse body of students, with both local expertise and technical capacity, CGS really reflected what I think we’re trying to do here at SFI.  But maybe importantly, it took place outside of our traditional networks which is a boon for both the students themselves, as well as the institution in the long run,” says Travis Holmes SFI's Emergent Political Economies Program Manager and organizer of CGS. 

The application for the next Complexity Global School is now open.