On photo: US Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II

On Tuesday, 16 April 2024, the University of Venda (UNIVEN) hosted US Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II
who delivered a Public Lecture titled “The U.S.-South Africa Relationship – Limpopo Rothe”. The Public Lecture took place at the Agriculture Theatre
Lecture Hall Building.
In his talk, the Ambassador discussed his visit to the University of Venda and the importance of education in the Republic of South Africa. He felt
at home and appreciated the gracious hospitality he received from the University. “Thank you very much for welcoming me to Venda and to this
remarkable part of the great country, Republic of South Africa,” said the Ambassador. He also underscored the importance of Thohoyandou in
Limpopo and the rest of South Africa to the United States of America. Brigety II believes that the relationship between South Africa and the United
States is unique, due to the shared values and history of the two nations. These principles, such as respect for human dignity and the notion
that everyone has a role in democracy, drive investments in both people and communities. He further discussed the principles and ideals that
link South Africa and the United States through the lens of their past, present, and possibly future investments in their bilateral relationship with
South Africa, which will have an impact on the Province of Limpopo. He stated that United States has supported 19 preservation and conservation
projects across South Africa, investing nearly 27 million rand. These projects include the Mapungubwe Cultural landscape, UNESCO World Heritage
Site, Mapungubwe archive, and map of the Mapungubwe collection. The partnership with the University of Venda demonstrates the importance of
education in promoting democracy and civil society. The Ambassador referred to his President Joe Biden who said, “The work of democracy is never
finished, democracy demands full and equal participation by all, all our citizens.”

Universities like UNIVEN play a crucial role in preparing young people to drive change and progress and he said “Higher education institutions should drive innovation
and serve as pillars of their communities. This is certainly the case here at UNIVEN, where even your motto, creating future leaders, demonstrates how the University
should be contributing to progress in society.” Their scholarship contributes to advancing shared objectives of inclusive economic development and building climate
resilience, particularly in rural areas like Limpopo. The US-South Africa Higher Education Network has seen connections between UNIVEN and its partners abroad
through the Fulbright Fellowship programme. Two recent UNIVEN fellows who are alumni of Fulbright programme, Professors Joseph Baloyi and Jude Odhiambo,
conducted research and advised graduate students in the United States, forming agreements between UNIVEN and their US host institutions, the University of Georgia
and Florida International University. Their support will enhance rural development and aid in climate change adaptation efforts. These scholars work in animal and soil
sciences as well as the faculty in student exchanges between Americans and South Africans which set their respective agreement. They are prime examples of what
educational and cultural exchanges between two democracies can achieve when we invest in our people and those principles and ideals that bind the United States
and South Africa together.

On photo: Prof Nosisi Feza

As South Africa celebrates 30 years of democracy, the United States stands with its students, emphasising the importance of full and equal participation in democracy.

On photo: Ms Ndalamo Hope Siaga when introducing the US Ambassador to South Africa

As a changemaker, Ms Ndalamo Hope Siaga, a UNIVEN student and SUSI alumna, stands out for her commitment to civic engagement. She led non-profit efforts to support
disadvantaged learners and founded the Western Media Foundation, promoting youth skills development in rural areas. As one of 20 participants from Southern Africa,
Hope attended workshops, civil rights courses, and lived with American host families to gain a broader understanding of civic engagement. Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Nosisi Feza, praised UNIVEN for hosting the US Ambassador and emphasised the strong relationship between the US and South Africa, particularly in providing scholarships to students. She appreciated the mutual engagement between UNIVEN and the US, demonstrating respect and understanding. She also acknowledged the presence of representatives from the Limpopo Premier’s Office, Mr Ndivhuwo Phathela, Director: International Relations and Mr Ndivhuwo Madzusa, Deputy Director: International Relations. When expressing a vote of thanks the University Registrar, Dr Joel Baloyi commended participants for their robust and vibrant engagement, highlighting the University’s
mission to produce graduates that are locally relevant and globally competitive.

Issued by:
Department of Marketing, Branding and Communication
University of Venda
Cell: 082 868 2218 or 082 868 1811

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