11 July 2018 Photo Johan Roux
GLS explores global view on gender and intersectionality
Students share their views on hard- hitting global issues

Race, gender, and inequality, a sharp focus in modern society, was discussed at the first session of day two of the Global Leadership Summit (GLS), on 10 July 2018. A panel discussion was led by Prof Ahmed Bawa, CEO of Universities South Africa and Prof Danie Brand, Director: Free State Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Identity and gender issues important to youth
During the panel discussion, Dr Yvonne L Terrell-Powell from Edmond Community College, Seattle, in the US, spoke on the expectations put on first-generation students as they enter the higher education space. “In the United States when I was a student, in predominantly black universities, the expectation was to be involved in civic and political engagements, and not to only study.” Intersectionality was discussed and how identity is used as a criterion for exclusion, marginalisation and the perpetuation of all forms of “isms” and disregard of minority groups such as LGBTIQ+ communities. Other panellists included Pura Mgolombane, Dean of Student Affairs at UFS, Dr Vivienne Felix, Director: Experiential Learning, New York University, Margo Van Muylder, a student from the University of Antwerp, and Dr Segun Obadire, Director of International Relations at University of Venda.

Delegates were entertained by an Arts and Social Justice Theatre Production Psalm 69 and a play named Cosmology and Culture; Patriarchy. A dialogue on the play ensued between the audience and members of the cast who discussed abuse of women and the disabled, and the role of men, with experiences shared from a global perspective.

Reconciliation and transformation give hope
The second session commenced with a panel discussion on reconciliation and transformation titled “Stepping up and committing to change: A vision for the youth in terms of socio-economic reconciliation and transformation”. The session was moderated by Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, alongside Dr Glen Taylor Senior Director: Research Development at UFS, with panellists from various sectors such as business, student leaders, human rights organisations and the Bloemfontein Business Chamber.
 
Ndaba Ntsele, Executive Chairman of Pamodzi Group and former UFS Council member and panellist spoke of the ability to overcome challenges that can hold one back. “You need to decolonise and detribalise yourself, see yourself first as a human being, never fear or feel that your background can hold you back.” Dr Glen Taylor, Senior Director: Directorate Research Development, spoke of the impact of research that is being produced at UFS. “Instead of the number of articles published, we need to ask what the impact is of our research in society.”

The summit is a joint programme between the UFS International Office, Student Affairs and the Institute of Reconciliation and Social Justice. It will continue with more panel discussions, robust engagements and more activities until 14 July. The programme includes an excursion to Kimberley and the Galeshewe township in Northern Cape. Delegates will have the opportunity to attend the annual Vrystaat Kunstefees/Free State Arts Festival which will be held on the Bloemfontein Campus from 10-14 July, as well as other African theatre productions.


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