Main content

Brain Drain: Can We Stem the Flow?

How can we stem the brain drain of talent from countries who desperately need to retain their brightest and most dynamic people?

The Forum is in Cape Town, South Africa, as guests of The British Council at the Going Global Conference. As globalisation enables the transit and relocation of people ever more quickly and easily, what impact is there on countries who desperately need to keep their skilled labour and what are the issues that need addressing? With Quentin Cooper to discuss the Brain Drain is professor Olusola Oyewole from Nigeria, Dr Jo Beall, from the British Council, professor Tao Xie from Beijing and Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo, from Unesco.

(Photo: a human brain in a glass box. Credit: Getty Images)

Available now

41 minutes

Last on

Wed 18 May 2016 01:06GMT

Jo Beall

Dr Jo Beall is Director Education and Society and a member of the Executive Board at the British Council. Jo’s past roles include Professor of Development Studies at the LSE in London and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Cape Town. She is a specialist in international education, international development, and cities in fragile and conflict situations. Her work has taken her to Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with extensive periods of research in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and South Africa.

Xie Tao

Xie Tao is Professor of Political Science at the School of English and International Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University. His research interests include the United States Congress, public opinion, U.S.-China relations, and Chinese foreign policy. He has published extensively in Chinese and English journals and writes regular columns for Economic Observer, an influential Chinese newspaper.  He is the author of U.S.-China Relations: China Policy on Capitol Hill and Living with the Dragon: How the American Public Views the Rise of China.

Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo

Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo is Head of the Southern Africa regional office in Zimbabwe, Africa.  She was until recently the Deputy Director/Senior Program Coordinator of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and was   formerly a research specialist on Women's Education at the UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg.

Olusola Oyewole

Professor Olusola Oyewole is the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. He is also the President of the Association of African Universities and served as the Project Officer of the World Bank project on “Quality Assurance for African Higher Education systems” at the Association of African Universities (2006 – 2009).

He was the Head of the Department of Food Science and Technology (1992-1999), the Director of the Equipment Maintenance Centre and prior to his coming to AAU, as the Director of the Research and Development Centre at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.

The British Council and ‘Going Global’

The British Council was founded to create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. They call this work cultural relations.

The British Council works in more than 100 countries, connecting millions of people with the United Kingdom through programmes and services in the English language, the arts, education and society. The British Council believe these are the most effective means of engaging with others, and has been doing this work since 1934.

In these ways, the British Council builds links between UK people and institutions and those around the world, helping to create trust and lay foundations for prosperity and security around the world.

Going Global is the world’s largest open forum for education leaders to debate international higher and further education issues and challenges, and to discuss collaborative solutions.  This year, 2016, it was held in Cape Town, South Africa.

The ‘Shakespeare Bible’ Returns to Robben Island

The ‘Shakespeare Bible’ Returns to Robben Island
Shakespeare is also very resonant with the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and many others on Robben Island.  

While the rest of the world was observing the 400-year-anniversary  of William Shakespeare’s death on 23 April, 2016, many South Africans  marked this significant day with the return of the legendary  ‘Shakespeare Bible’ to Robben Island, by its original owner, ex-political prisoner Sonny Venkathrathnam. The book, which is an edition of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, was sent to Venkathrathnam by his family during his internment in the 1970s: prisoners were allowed to have only one book on the island. Prison wardens were suspicious of the book, which was confiscated but later returned, when Venkatratham convinced a sympathetic warden that it was “the Bible by William Shakespeare”.  Eventually, he covered it with Diwali greeting cards to disguise its significance. The book remains one of the most significant documents to be kept on Robben Island, partly because it served as a platform from which prisoners discussed such moral issues pertaining to the struggle against apartheid as loyalty, betrayal and assassination. Six months before Venkatratham’s release in 1977, he asked his 32 fellow prisoners in the single-cell section, which included the most senior members of the liberation struggle, to select their favourite passage and sign their name next to it, including Nelson Mandela. While it is widely known abroad and was part of a major exhibition at the British Museum called “Shakespeare: Staging the World”, the book has had little recognition in South Africa. Marking the book’s return on 23 April, children participating in Educape’s Shakespeare Schools Festival travelled with Venkathrathnam to Robben Island where in collaboration with professional actors, they recited some of the chosen passages from the book.

Photo: Pages from the 'Robben Island Bible' (The Complete Works of Shakespeare) including a written entry by Nelson Mandela.Photo credit: Roy Reed