On the 27 June 2012, The Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism and Democracy (CANRAD), Centre for the Community School (CCS) and the Centre for Integrated Post-School Education and Training (CIPSET) hosted a lunch time and evening dialogue with political sociologist of education, Carlos Alberto Torres, Professor of Social Sciences and Comparative Education and Director of the Paulo Freire Institute (UCLA).

His empirical research focuses on the relationship between culture and power, the interrelationships of economic, political, and cultural spheres, and the multiple and contradictory dynamics of power among and within social movements that make education a site of permanent conflict and struggle. 

The Lunch time dialogue held at the South Campus themed, “Neoliberal Commonsense and The Challenge to South African Universities” addressed the emergence of neoliberalism as it has dramatically altered the notion of common sense in education. Several of his iconoclastic theses outlined the overall implications of the process of neoliberal globalization for Higher Education. He concluded by proposing that the universities recreate a utopian model that allows them to move forward, and propose socialization mechanisms of these utopias to society.

 The evening dialogue held at the Missionvale Campus Conference Centre was themed “Paulo Freire in contemporary times”. Paulo Freire a Brazilian educationalist was perhaps one of the most influential thinkers about education in the late twentieth century. Prof Torres introduced the work of the various Paulo Freire Institutes (PFI) worldwide. These institutes aim to bring together scholars, activists and teachers inspired by Freire’s pedagogy to foster advancement and re-invention of Freurian educational theories. 

Prof Torres adopts Paulo Freire’s perspective that there is a need for educators to create a free, safe and open space to develop critical thinking which he refers to as “happy thinking”.