13 September 2021 | Story Bulelwa Moikwatlhai | Photo Supplied
Ms. Mosa Moerane; UFS officer: Kovsie support services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world into a new normal, with no tips on how to navigate it, nor an end date in sight. We have all found ourselves learning, piloting, evaluating, and repeating the process. Fortunately, one can now say that we have somehow found a balance; however, in this balance, a lot of variables are emerging. One of these is how our diversity impacts the way we interact when we use virtual spaces. As a university, we serve people of diverse cultures daily – hence, as an office, we wanted to explore this variable further. Furthermore, as an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to contribute knowledge about teaching and learning in virtual spaces.  

The purpose of the International Cultural Diversity Festival is to have intellectual engagements; to learn from experts as well as peers (educate); to teach one another (information sharing); to have social cohesion and to celebrate the diverse cultures through artistic expressions. All of this will be done under the theme ‘embracing diversity in virtual spaces.’ Some of the topics include practising cultural sensitivity; how to incorporate diversity, honour, respect, and your cultural background; social media communication with people of diverse cultures; the psychology of human behaviour and cross-cultural networking in virtual spaces; as well as how the UFS strives to embrace diversity in virtual spaces.

Date: 17 September 2021
Topic: Embracing diversity in virtual spaces
Time: 10:00
Venue: 2021 ICDF 

Facilitator: Ms Mosa Moerane


Prof Katherine Wimpenny
Professor of Research in Global Learning at Coventry University

Dr. Grey Magaiza
Head of Community Development at the UFS and Program Director in the Faculty of Humanities at the QwaQwa campus 

Ms. Reabetswe Mabine
Marketing and Communication strategist: UFS Postgraduate School

Mrs Bulelwa Moikwatlhai
Coordinator: Internationalisation at Home and Inbound Student Mobility

Biographies of panellist

Prof Katherine Wimpenny, PhD, leads the research theme ‘Global Education: Learning without Boundaries’ in the Research Institute for Global Learning, Coventry University, UK. Prof Wimpenny’s research focuses on contextualised and comprehensive internationalisation at the interface of decolonisation of education practices, embedded in the broader context of curriculum transformation. She is researching a diversity of learning spaces (digital – especially Collaborative Online International learning, face to face, blended, formal, and non-formal) that interweave to impact educational opportunities, which can serve to connect international learning communities, as well as to connect the university to its locale.  Prof Wimpenny has a substantial track record as principal and co-investigator on large-scale international education research projects and disseminates her work widely through a range of publications/media.

Dr Magaiza is a social scientist with an interest in community development, particularly participatory, bottom-up approaches to social change. He uses his interest in inclusive development approaches to not only theorise sustainable change, but also to critically reflect on the role of science and knowledge in community change. As a scholar of community development, he has used this knowledge with student structures such as Enactus to look for ways of using business principles to improve communities. Dr Magaiza is also coordinating the UK-USDP project that currently has 10 staff members enrolled as PhD students at the UFS, Univen, and the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. 
He is currently the Head of Community Development at the UFS and Programme Director in the Faculty of the Humanities on the Qwaqwa Campus.

Being multi-faceted often makes it difficult to discover your voice and place in this fast-paced society; this is, however, not the case with Reabetswe Mabine – also known as Rea Mabine – who embodies authenticity and self-determinism. From pageantry to leadership and business, she positions herself as someone who is grounded and wants to achieve success on her terms. 
Rea Mabine is a marketing and communications strategist who runs a branding and marketing consultancy that helps start-ups and small businesses to launch and position their businesses competitively within their industries, using effective marketing and communication strategies as well as strategic brand development. 

- She is a friend of ‘The Network’ – a show on City Radio, which is an online radio station where she gives her expert opinion on topics about digital marketing, social media, and legal aspects in the marketing field. 
- She is the former Youth President of Phenomenal Women Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an organisation aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship among young females in South Africa. 
- In 2018, she was recognised as Young Woman of Achievement by the Free State Heroines Awards Ceremony. This award recognises a young female who portrays outstanding involvement with youth-related initiatives and shows excellence in her pursuits. 
- She is a Play Your Part, Brand SA ambassador.
- Rea Mabine co-produced, co-directed, and co-presented a television show that aired on national TV and received an award for the best traditional TV programme at the nationally renowned South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA). 
- Rea Mabine was a top-10 finalist for Miss Heritage South Africa in 2016, and the first-ever to be crowned Miss Heritage Free State.

Despite her achievements, she stays grounded and is always looking for the next challenge. Rea Mabine is also passionate about professional and career development for women; initiatives that empower women are very close to her heart.

Mrs Moikwatlhai is passionate about student life and integration; internationalisation; the development of students’ international and intercultural competencies, as well as ensuring that all UFS students have an international experience during their studies at the UFS. She achieves this by developing co-curricular activities that help to improve students’ experiences at the UFS. As the university’s expert on internationalisation at home, she uses her knowledge to improve first-year experiences in her capacity as a member of the UFS First-Year Experience (FYE) Committee. Mrs Moikwatlhai is also the university’s expert on student mobilities, coordinating and managing the UFS’ first virtual mobility programme. Additionally, she coordinates and manages the UFS’ flagship integration programme for local and international students in the Umoja Buddy Programme. 

She currently leads the University of the Free State Internationalisation at Home and Inbound Student Mobility portfolio in the Office for International Affairs.

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