02 November 2023 | Story Kekeletso Makau | Photo SUPPLIED
Heads of Diplomatic Mission breakfast
The UFS Heads of Mission Breakfast event attracted a distinguished delegation of foreign diplomatic missions.

The second Heads of Diplomatic Mission breakfast was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) in collaboration with the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) in Pretoria, South Africa on 26 October 2023.

The event served as an opportunity to position the UFS as a preferred partner for international collaboration in higher education, research, and innovation – following the success of the inaugural event in 2022. More than ten diplomatic missions were represented by distinguished foreign mission representatives who shared in the deliberations on this year’s theme, namely partnerships and collaborations.

The keynote address was delivered by the UFS Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Francis Petersen, with contributing presentations from MISTRA researcher Laurence Caromba, UFS Professor of Pharmacology, Prof Motlalepula Matsabisa, and Senior Lecturer from the Centre for Gender and Africa Studies, Dr Grey Magaiza. A key goal of Prof Petersen’s presentation was to highlight the benefits of reciprocal collaboration and co-creation of knowledge with international partners, including industry partners. Contributing presentations posited the UFS as a partner of interest in research, innovation, and technology in the international arena and showcased the value of university and diplomatic partnerships in support of the UFS Internationalisation Strategy and Vision 130

Caromba, a MISTRA researcher, reiterated the importance of collaboration between universities, research institutes, and the diplomatic community, further reaffirming the partnership value proposition entrenched in the UFS-MISTRA collaboration in co-hosting this year’s event. MISTRA, a renowned influential think tank, served as an excellent partner for the event.

The UFS currently boasts more than 100 vibrant international partnerships and is the incumbent coordinator of large EU-funded Erasmus+ projects among South African universities, with UFS researchers having co-authored more than 5 000 scientific publications with universities worldwide (2018-2022). 

An engaging question-and-answer session concluded with insights and further action items for continued engagement post the event. 

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