In the evening of Friday, 12 November 2021, the International Relations Department of the University of Venda (UNIVEN) held an Internationalisation evening event under the theme ‘fostering cultural diversity for collaborations during the Covid-19 era’. This evening event took place at the University Auditorium.
During the event, different African cultural attires and indigenous food were displayed to showcase and educate students about African cultural attire and indigenous food.
In his opening and welcome message, Senior Prof Georges Ekosse said Covid-19 has taught us that when one person is infected then we are all affected. Senior Prof Ekosse indicated that, distance is a thing of the past because technology has bridged the issue of distance. “It is now easy to talk with people who are located at different sides of the world at the same time. This was not possible in the past. Technology has brought so much change in our lives.” He expressed that; knowledge has increased; therefore, we all need to keep up with the world of today. On the aspect of Internationalisation, Senior Prof Ekosse advised attendees not limit themselves to only one part of the world. “Make use of the available opportunities while you are still at the University because once you leave the University, you might not get access to these opportunities.”
The Acting Director International Relations and Partnerships (IRP) Department, Dr Segun Obadire said this is a great opportunity for students and staff members to learn about various African cultures. He advised attendees to make sure that when they leave this University, they have learned something about other cultures. “We are all interconnected, and we need each other, irrespective of coming from different countries. South Africa is blessed with unique multicultural diversity and this diversity is an asset for our universities.” Dr Obadire concluded his talk by highlighting that for us to succeed we need to start working together. “It takes a collective effort to achieve an intended goal,” he concluded.
In her message of support, Director International Affairs at the University of Limpopo, Prof Nonceba Mbambo-Kekana spoke about collaborations. She said usually when we talk about internationalisation, we speak about working with organisations from outside Africa. Prof Mbambo-Kekana mentioned that those agencies from outside Africa fund African institutions for projects where they usually control the agenda. “We need to drive our own agenda; we need to get hold of and handle the African agenda and not be controlled, because of money that is brought by foreign agencies. We should on our own accord have events like this without funding from outside Africa.”
She said the University of Limpopo strives to strengthen its partnership with UNIVEN by supporting UNIVEN’s initiatives. “Remember before we produce graduates that are globally competitive, we need to be locally relevant first.”
When giving a message of support, UNISU President, Mr Joseph Mundadi, said this was a partnership between UNIVEN and UNISU. He said UNISU is happy that all international students are gathered as one to celebrate Africanism and show unity. “As Africans we have a mandate to develop our continent. “For us to be locally relevant we need to be one so that when we go international, we could compete with other graduates from outside Africa. UNIVEN students are the future leaders of African continent, and we need to work as one.”
Dr Wiseman Ndlovu presented findings from a pilot project that they have conducted, and this study was about Internationalisation, partnerships/ collaborations, and international versus local community at the University level. Some of his recommendations were that UNIVEN should consider establishing an incubation Centre, re-evaluate existing partnership, conduct feasibility studies and identify start-ups, including providing flexibility of degree programmes.
Director Community Engagement Prof Vhonani Netshandama gave a vote of thanks. She said the internationalisation engagement shouldn’t end there but should be “translated into practical activities.” She advised students to familiarise themselves with opportunities that are present at the University.
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Date: 16 November 2021