“The University of Venda (UNIVEN) has a rich history of producing graduates that have occupied influential positions in various public and private sectors across the globe,” these are the words of the UNIVEN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Nthambeleni during the launch of the UNIVEN-HBUT Future Leaders Academy. The launch of this Academy is a collaboration between UNIVEN and Hubei University of Technology (HBUT) in China.

Prof Chen Zicaia (left) and Prof Bernard Nthambeleni (right) shaking hands after signing the MoU

his Academy will play an important role in shaping capable, responsible leaders who contribute to society’s progress. The signing ceremony and the launch of this Academy took place at the Uni-versity of Venda, Thohoyandou on Thursday, 27 June 2024.
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal told the audience that UNIVEN focuses on developing and im-plementing new academic programmes in key fields of Engineering: Mining, agricultural, water, agro-processing and construction technology; Health Sciences: Optometry, dentistry, and physio-therapy; Emerging Area: Disaster management; African and foreign language and cultural studies.
He stated that the Academy will be the academic programme arm of the Green Technology Con-fucius Institute (GTCI) where full degrees, exchange and short programmes will be coordinated.

Prof Nthambeleni indicated that the establishment of this Academy will indeed benefit South Africa as it will provide training opportunities and new skills sets, that ordinarily will not be offered in the South African education and training system.

The Academy will work hand in hand with all our faculties, the IPQA and other national bodies for unique programmes development.
He informed the audience that the Chinese Director and lecturers are eager to learn local lan-guages as well because this would enable them to communicate and even teach Chinese language better.
Prof Nthambeleni said, “I do hope the UNIVEN language department will leverage on this opportu-nity to roll out short courses in Tshivenda or other local languages for the benefit of our Chinese and other nationalities within and outside the campus.” When welcoming the HBUT Vice-President, Professor Chen Zicai and members of his delegation to UNIVEN, Prof Nthambeleni said “Your visit today solidifies our partnership which has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few months.

We recognise your sacrifices and support of your delegation in making sure that the collaboration between our universities succeeds. The many achievements in the establishment of our joint Green Technology Confucius Institute (GTCI) were made possible because of your unwavering support. Our world is increas-ingly interconnected and the importance of building and naturing relationships across borders cannot be overstated.”
Prof Nthambeleni reported that GTCI at the University of Venda (UNIVEN) could be described as vibrant from its launch on 05 December 2023 to date. On its inaugural Chinese language class, approximately 3000 applications including staff and students were received but only 300 could be accommodated in the class-rooms. He further reported that the Limpopo Premier’s Office staff participated and completed with the first batch of Chinese language course.

Prof Chen Zicai, Vice-President of Scientific Research and Cooperation at HBUT remarked that, as HBUT, they cherish this partnership because UNIVEN is HBUT’s strategic partner. He said since 2019 (when the first MoU was signed), a lot has been accomplished under this partnership. To-wards the end of his remarks, Prof Chen Zicai wished this Future Leaders Academy a bright future and thanked UNIVEN for the full support and commitment in this partnership.

he Director International Relations and Partnerships, Dr Segun Obadire gave a high-level over-view on the conception of the “HBUT-UNIVEN Future Leaders Academy.” He said UNIVEN and Hu-bei University of Technology are taking a step forward by launching and signing the agreement to develop the Academy Unit.

Prof Natasha Potgieter, Prof Eric Maluta and Dr Mutshinyalo Ratombo gave quite impressive feed-back from the Hubei University of Technology visit.This was followed by a signing of the Agreement on Joint Establishment of UNIVEN-HBUT Future Leaders’ Academy between the University of Venda, South Africa and Hubei University of Technol-ogy, China. The signing was facilitated by Adv Eric Nemukula, Director Legal Services.At the end of the signing ceremony, UNIVEN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Bernard Ntham-beleni and HBUT Vice-President of Scientific Research and Cooperation, Prof Chen Zicai unveiled the Plaque on the UNIVEN-HBUT Future Leaders Academy that was held at the GTCI.

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