Civic-minded people are needed to help build the country of their dreams. This is an important aspect to nation branding, which is not the work of the government alone, a group of students from South Africa and the US hears.Students from Rutgers University in the US and South Africa’s Unisa explore the display at the Nelson Mandela Foundation before the Brand South Africa master class on nation branding.Students were encouraged to become more civic-minded and involved by Sello Hatang, the chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, at an engagement hosted by Brand South Africa with communications and marketing students from Unisa and Rutgers University, in the US, on 17 March 2016.The gathering took place at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. Speakers from the foundation and Brand South Africa encouraged the students to play their part in creating the world they wanted. They also gave a tutorial on the philosophy behind nation building.Hatang set the tone for speakers who followed him. “What am I doing to build the country of my dreams?” he challenged the students to ask of themselves.Brand South Africa chief executive Kingsley Makhubela explained the difference between nation and product branding, saying the fundamental difference between the two was intent. A product created a designed identity where nation branding was about highlighting the best of who we were.He talked about international tensions and how conflict continued to shape perceptions about the world we in which we lived. It was the trial nations faced every day: how to shape a positive view of the country despite challenges. “What do you communicate? The challenges? Or the potential and values of the nation?”It was not a government’s concern alone. Citizens, including a country’s young people, had a responsibility to live the best values of their country. Makhubela reminded the students that it was their world as well and that they needed to become civically involved. Tension reshaped the world, but it was the passion of young people that remade the world.Brand South Africa speakers did not shy away from topical issues of the day. Dr Petrus de Kock, the general manager of research, explained that in an environment where bad news often shaped perceptions, it was the responsibility of Brand South Africa to counter this through research, and then share that research as widely as possible.The Rutgers students, especially, were visiting South Africa at a time in its history when the stream of negative news could, but should not, hide the facts about the strength of South Africa’s economy and democracy.He listed statistics about budget clarity, strength of the banking and financial systems, press freedom and independence of the judiciary to highlight strengths that were often overlooked.In his master class presentation on nation branding, Tshepiso Malele explained the rationale behind the idea. Every nation was unique and the purpose of nation branding was to distil that uniqueness and communicate it to as wide an audience as possible. The benefit was an enhanced country reputation and greater business and tourism engagement. He affirmed De Kock’s assertion that nation branding was not meant to be propaganda but information based on research and statistics. Ultimately, he said, a positive nation brand should benefit the people and institutions of the country.
Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma on Sunday said some security lapses were found on the part of Ryan International School and a case was registered against its management and the owner under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. “Action will be initiated against the school management and its owner,” said Mr. Sharma, after a brief meeting with senior district administration officials. He, however, ruled out revocation of the affiliation for the school saying that over a thousand students would be affected. On the demand for a CBI probe into the murder, the Minister said the government was ready for probe by any agency if the family was not satisfied with the police investigation. Mr. Sharma said the safety and security of the students was the responsibility of the school managements during school hours and strict action would be initiated if any laxity was found by any private school.Deputy Commissioner, Gurugram, Vinay Pratap Singh told The Hindu that preliminary investigation by a three-member committee had found several security lapses on the part of the school management. “Though there are closed-circuit television cameras on the school premises, they were missing at a few strategic points. Another major lapse was to allow the support staff to share the washroom with students. Also, there were some discrepancies related to the verification of the support staff. The things would be more clear after the detailed report expected on Monday,” said Mr. Singh.
An Aam Aadmi Party MLA in Punjab was allegedly assaulted by a group of people involved in illegal sand mining near Nurpur Bedi in Rupnagar district on Thursday, prompting Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to seek a detailed report on the incident.Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira alleged that MLA Amarjeet Singh Sandoa was attacked for trying to expose the ongoing illegal activities of the sand mafia.The AAP MLA and his gunman, head constable Sukhdeep Singh, were injured in the incident.“Both were taken to a civil hospital, from where Mr. Sandoa was referred to PGI, Chandigarh, for further check-up after he complained of chest pain,” an official spokesperson said.Three arrestedThe police have arrested three persons allegedly involved in the incident. The spokesperson said three relatives of Ajwinder Singh — the key accused from Baihara village — have been arrested. Ajwinder and another accused, Bachittar Singh, of Bhauwal village fled after the incident. Those arrested have been identified as Jaswinder Singh Goldy, Manjit Singh and Amarjit Singh, all residents of Baihara. One vehicle and two guns were seized from them.The Chief Minister has sought a detailed report from the Deputy Commissioner and asked him to ensure a free and fair probe.The two PSOs attached to the MLA have also come under the Chief Minister’s scanner for evidently failing to protect him and have been transferred to the police lines. “The Chief Minister has directed the DGP to investigate their role in the entire episode,” the spokesperson added.‘CM should resign’Reacting to the alleged attack, the AAP in Delhi said the Chief Minister should resign if he cannot rein in the mafia.AAP spokesperson Ashish Khetan said Mr. Sandoa had raised his voice against the sand mafia in the past as well. He said the Chief Minister had during last year’s election campaign promised to rid the State of the drugs, transport, extortion and mining mafia. “Instead, the influence of the mafia has increased. They are carrying out lethal attacks on MLAs,” he said.The AAP has demanded a new policy to put an end to illegal mining and also called for a White Paper detailing the loss of revenue caused to the State by illegal mining during the past 15 years.