26 September 2023 | Story Lunga Luthuli | Photo Supplied
Imtiaz Sooliman
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, speaks at a University of the Free State Brown Bag Lunch, sharing insights on how postgraduate education can empower individuals to bring hope and change to those around them.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Centre for Graduate Support (CGS) recently hosted Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers Foundation, at a CGS Brown Bag Lunch. The Brown Bag Lunches are a series of informal talks aimed at providing guidance and inspiration to postgraduate students.  

The event served as a platform for Dr Sooliman to share his insights into how pursuing a postgraduate degree can empower individuals to bring hope and change to those around them.

He said his talk was inspired by his own journey: “After receiving a message from my spiritual leader in Istanbul, Turkey, at the age of just 30, I immediately heeded the calling and established the Gift of the Givers Foundation.”

He emphasised that success and progress are not possible without faith and spirituality, and that these were motivating factors in his work. “The foundation works to unite people with a common vision to make a real difference by serving mankind for the greater good.”

Dr Sooliman shared many of his experiences and insights with the audience. He said the foundation has provided critical aid to many disaster-stricken regions and has extended its assistance to the most vulnerable populations worldwide.

Creating hope 

The Gift of the Givers Foundation also provides support to the UFS No Student Hungry Programme, which delivers food parcels to needy students on the UFS’s three campuses.  

Dr Sooliman’s efforts have helped the foundation make a real and telling difference in the lives of people from all classes, political affiliations, and geographical locations

He encouraged students and academics in the audience to “view your pursuit of higher education as a means to gain knowledge, but also as a tool to cultivate empathy, resilience, and a sense of purpose”.

Event organisers said the University of the Free State continues to promote education and community engagement, and Dr Sooliman’s visit served as a beacon of inspiration for students and academics alike.

Dr Danila Wessels, Assistant Director at the Centre for Graduate Support, said, “Inviting Dr Imtiaz Sooliman to our Brown Bag Lunch event was a deliberate choice driven by our commitment to broadening the vision of UFS postgraduate students. We believe that postgraduate studies can serve as a powerful impetus for bringing hope to people, and Dr Sooliman's inspirational journey perfectly exemplifies this." 

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