Cape students impress foreign business investors

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A dinner-table conversation led to Herzlia pupils telling potential foreign investors in the hallowed “Old Chamber” of Parliament why they should believe in the future of SA. English teacher Gail Simon told Cape Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Bagraim how her students’ orals on the future of SA were so positive. Last week's trial was so popular that there’s another next week. Herzlia’s Director of Education, Geoff Cohen, told JR today that he was thrilled. “They did themselves and their school and families proud,” he said. READ MORE AND SEE THE PICTURES...
by ANT KATZ | Mar 16, 2016

A dinner table conversation between Herzlia English teacher Gail Simon and Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive council member Michael Bagraim resulted in what is slated to become a regular event due to its success.

Simon had mentioned at a dinner they both attended that English higher grade learners had to do an oral on the future of South Africa. “The golden thread that runs through all their talks is positivity,” Bagraim recalls Simon saying.

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RIGHT: Herzlia matric learners Robert Berman (speaking); Saul Levine (right); and one of the deputy head boys, Koena Nkhereanye, address potential US investors to the country, in the “Old Assembly” of the Houses of Parliament


Bagraim, a past chairman and president of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and now a DA member of Parliament, has for many years hosted incoming business groupings who are interested in investing or opening businesses in the country - one almost every week.

Their tour includes often a visit to Parliament and an address in the “Old Assembly” building, when it is available. The "Old Assembly" is world-renowned hangover of colonial architecture which is today used as a chamber for portfolio committee meetings.

Bagraim is the deputy shadow minister of labour and sits on Parliament’s Labour Portfolio Committee.  

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“As an innovative change,” says Michael Bagraim, he told teacher Gail Simon that he was hosting a party of 40 US businessmen the following week.

“We decided to let them listen to pupils from Herzlia” Bagraim told SA Jewish Report this week.

The visitors were a mainly Mormon group of business graduates doing post-graduate studies with Professor Brad Winn at the Utah State University. They were all interested in opening businesses in South Africa or Africa, says Bagraim.

Before taking up a fulltime position on the university faculty, Winn had done a stint as leader of the Mormon Church of South Africa.

Herzlia’s Director of Education Geoff Cohen, told Jewish Report that the school and pupils were thrilled. “They did themselves and their school and families proud,” he said. “We are hoping to be asked to do this regularly

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RIGHT: The US business delegation were enthralled by the students' positive outlook

“Each of the boys spoke for four minutes,” said Bagraim. “And each got a standing ovation from the Americans, that was longer than their talk!”

This first meeting had been so successful that he and Simon had agreed to endorse a similar idea for all future visits starting from next week.

Simon has decided to give grade 10 learners a chance this time. “Despite Herzlia being on holiday next week,” says Bagraim, “there was no shortage of volunteers to don uniforms and talk in Parliament.”

Hopefully, it will turn them into investment ambassadors for South Africa as well, he mused.



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