Prof Corli Witthuhn

Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector:  Research and Internationalisation

Hello, Kovsie staff and students. It is my tremendous pleasure to welcome you all to the second virtual iteration of the International Cultural Diversity Festival!

Amid all the challenges and disruptions caused by the pandemic, we have seen our institution rise and adjust to the fast-changing circumstances, moving its activities to the virtual space. This fast adaptation was essential to ensure that, as a university, we continue with our core business of learning and teaching, research, internationalisation, and engaged scholarship. Demonstrating the ‘care value’ through alternate strategies in the virtual space has become increasingly important to maintain a human connection with our UFS staff and students. Maintaining this connection has required us to rethink and be innovative. Today’s festival is an apt example of rethinking co-curricular activities for a virtual space!

Themed ‘Embracing Diversity in Virtual Spaces’, the 2021 International Cultural Diversity Festival – hosted by the Office for International Affairs (OIA) – will be commemorated virtually on 17 September 2021. The main event of the commemoration will be an intellectual conversation, which will attempt to unpack and answer questions such as:

  • how does our rich culture and diverse society interact within the virtual space?
  • does our diversity impact how we interact within the virtual space?
  • the importance of being cognitive of one’s diversity when interacting in virtual spaces.

Our panel members include Prof Katherine Wimpenny, Dr Grey Magaiza, Ms Reabetswe Mabine, and Mrs Bulelwa Moikwatlhai. The intellectual conversation will conclude with a reflection by the panel on how to strive for unity and growth within virtual spaces. Furthermore, the day will feature thought pieces, art exhibitions, musical compilations, and artistic expression pieces, which will all be shared on the festival’s webpage.

These diverse contributions and activities highlight the university’s commitment to internationalising the home curriculum of students and developing the intercultural competencies and global attributes needed to be global citizens and change agents in the 21st century! 

Welcome, and enjoy the festival.

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