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Fulbright Commission Visits UNIVEN

The Fulbright Specialists at the US Embassy, Mr Mareka Chabedi and Mrs Mamosa Makaya visited the University of Venda on Tuesday, 18 September 2012.

They were on campus to conduct information sessions. In the morning, they briefed Deans, HODs and other senior academic staff members at Council Chambers on the Fulbright Specialist programme, which facilitates 2 – 6 month scientific visits by US senior academics to universities worldwide, including South Africa. They introduced the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship program, which is a one-year professional development programme, and other Fulbright programmes offering funding opportunities for
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international mobility of senior academics were introduced. Mrs Makaya explained that those programmes promote educational and professional linkages between the U.S. and South Africa.

Questions and answers were entertained. The programme was facilitated by the Director of Community Engagement, Prof. Vhonani Netshandama who expressed appreciation for the great honour bestowed on Univen by virtue of the visit by the delegation from the Fulbright Commission. The Coordinator of the Univen Centre for Continuing Education, Dr Phillip Kutame promised in his vote of thanks on behalf of the senior academics that the Commission will receive more applications from the University in the future. The morning programme was concluded with individual consultations for senior academics.

In the afternoon, the delegation conducted a session for all members of the Univen community on Fulbright programmes. The Fulbright student programmes provide students the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree or undertake one academic year of research or non-degree study at a US academic institution. The flagship international educational exchange programme sponsored by the United States of America government, is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. It offers opportunities for postgraduate’ studies including PhD degree programmes suitable for staff and students. Mr Chabedi explained that the Fulbright programme participants also serve as cultural ambassadors and should be prepared to speak about their countries, cultures, and research to academic and community groups. The Fulbright programme provides funding for up to two years of study. The grants include limited accident and sickness benefits; provide the international travel for the grantee to go to and from a host institution in the United States awarded for a period of three to ten months. There was an exciting questions and answers time and questions were well responded to by the delegation. The final date for the submission of the 2013-2014 student programmes is April 2013. The facilitator of the afternoon session was the Chief Administrative Office in the Directorate of International Relations, Mr Segun Obadire. He emphasised that prospective applicants can go to the Directorate for any assistance concerning completing their applications.

In attendance was Ms Rachel Schmidt, who is a Fulbright Scholar from the University of Virginia, US and who is hosted by Univen for a period of 9 months to conduct research. She offered to assist students with the completion of their application forms. While proposing a vote of thanks, Dr Tshilidzi Mashamba, Deputy Dean of the School of Health Sciences, encouraged students to apply. The renditions by the Poetry Club provided the right cultural atmosphere for the session.

Amongst those present at the information session were the Dean of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, Prof. Jan Crafford; the Dean of Education Dr Peter Mulaudzi; Dean of Law Annette Lansink; Ms. Puleng Letuka from School of Law; Prof Agnes Musyoki and Dr Nethengwe from the School of Environmental Sciences; Prof Abiodun Olukoga from the School of Health Sciences; Dr Lindiwe Mulaudzi from Human and Social Sciences and many other senior academics. Individual sessions were also attended by Prof Gyekye Dean of Management Sciences and Prof Pascal Bessong from School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences.

Application forms are available on the US embassy website http://southafrica.usembassy.gov/fulbright_program.html. UNIVEN’s Directorate of International Relations is available to advise on the scholarships and assist with the application process.