Format: The Specialised Leadership Development Challenge entails selective leadership programmes that cater for high-achieving student leaders who show potential.

Goal: Advanced leadership development and exposure through specialised programmes. Leaders are channelled towards developmental opportunities, e.g. the Activator First-Year Conference, Global Leadership Summit (triennial GLS, hosted by the UFS), as well as participation in national and international leadership events, e.g. conferences, summits, and seminars.

Activator First-Year Conference 2020

Call for applications
First-years should be on the lookout for the call to attend the Activator Conference during July this year! We would like to invite and encourage you to apply for this awesome Kovsie opportunity through various student-life structures and communities. More information will follow.

What can you gain?
It will certainly be an unforgettable and valuable experience; an ideal opportunity to discover yourself, expand your leadership skills, build team spirit, and make new friends across the student community. Besides, we want to help you become the best leader you can be at the UFS and beyond!

What to expect
The conference programme will be fully packed, with the focus on meaningful talks, critical discussions, interesting learning activities, and loads of fun! First-year voices are important and should be heard!

Who can apply?
We are looking at hosting around 250–300 participants, with a balanced representation from the different student-life communities. Through your learning/student-life communities, you will be informed and recruited to apply, as we are searching for prominent, emerging first-year leaders.

What are the outcomes?
The objective is to lay the foundation for relationship building, to foster collaboration between students and structures, and to strive towards integration and unity, with the prospect of continued engagement and learning opportunities after the conference. This is where our future Kovsie leaders are developed and shaped!

Student Affairs A5 Activator Conference

Overview of the GLS programme

Hosted by the UFS in Bloemfontein, South Africa every three years, the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) developed as a reciprocal programme emerging from the former First-year Leadership for Change (F1L4C) programme. It provides the opportunity for students and staff from the UFS and its partner universities to engage in discussions and developments around shared objectives for leadership and social justice in higher education globally. The GLS is a collaborative project between the UFS Division of Student Affairs, the Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice and the Office for International Affairs.

The GLS iterations in both 2012 and 2015 focused on bringing together all 27 international host universities, as well as other interested educational stakeholders to the UFS to share their findings and experiences on how student leadership, social change and diversity impacts higher education institutions through multicultural and experiential global education programmes. The GLS, unlike most other interventions on leadership, provides a focus on the development of both students and staff around issues of critical global concern to the international community.

With the coming to closure of the F1L4C programme cycle in 2016, but with recognition of the value of the international partnerships, the UFS committed to continue hosting the GLS and the third summit took place during the July holidays of 2018. The aim was to strengthen the shared objectives amongst all in working towards social justice and to bring on board and build partnerships with universities from the African Continent.

Programme objectives

The main programme objectives include the following:

  • To exchange ideas and international experiences.
  • To address issues of racial inclusion and reconciliation in higher education.
  • To strengthen and expand relationships with international academic partners.
  • To explore new possibilities for participation in international research partnerships.
  • To enhance the international exposure of UFS staff and students.
  • To experience intercultural interaction and exchange on campus.

Programme structure and selection

The GLS constitutes a joint campus-based programme (faculty and departmental) for UFS and international staff and student representatives over two weeks. It includes amongst other components keynote speakers as part of the formal morning programme, and sessions consisting of documentaries, networking, panel discussions, dialogue sessions, activities, films and attendance and discussions of arts and drama productions, as part of the informal afternoon programme. A visit to the Qwaqwa campus and a varied elective programme of cultural and adventure tourism excursions completes the programme.

Spaces in the GLS team are usually limited to 40 to 60 UFS students; selected through a stringent process of applications, panel interviews and selection. The programme is open to undergraduate students from their second year onwards, whilst first years are not eligible to apply.

At the UFS we consider all our students as partners in building a proud university and society and in contributing on an African and global stage. The Global Leadership Summit is an important part of our effort to constantly pursue our mission of positive change impact at KOVSIES and beyond.

GLS Cover image Collage

The University of the Free State (UFS) hosts the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) every three years in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The programme focuses on bringing students and staff from the UFS and its partner universities together. The aim is to discuss shared objectives in the field of leadership and social justice in higher education and the global community.

The 2018 GLS is a collaborative project between the Department of Student Affairs, the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice, and the Office for International Affairs at the UFS. The event takes place from 8 to 15 July 2018 on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

The 2018 version of the GLS will once again probe deeply into the challenges and opportunities prevalent among all the higher-education institutions attending the event. The topics and discussions will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as staff members from the institutions listed below:

  • African SADC Countries: The University of the Free State; Central University of Technology; Sol Plaatje University; Stellenbosch University; Nelson Mandela University; University of Venda, The National University of Lesotho and the University of Zambia
  • Asia: The International Christian University (Japan); Mahasarakham University (Thailand)
  • The EU: The University of Humanistic Studies (the Netherlands); Amsterdam University College (AUC; the Netherlands); University of Antwerp (Belgium); Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU; the Netherlands)
  • USA: New York University; Mount Holyoke College; Edmonds Community College
Pink, Globe, Image

2018 GLS objectives

  • The GLS aims to be a collaborative learning event where thinkers, students, and staff from Africa, the EU, Asia, and the USA will explore the meaning of social justice and social inclusion in higher education and society. A variety of speakers will engage with these issues and will propose possible practical interventions.
  • The GLS strives to be a platform for students and staff to discuss the development of new programmes, projects, and research areas in the field of comparative global leadership, with specific reference to social inclusion and social justice. The development of competencies related to global intercultural development will also receive attention. 

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