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Proud leader of ACEWATER-IIIhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10657Proud leader of ACEWATER-IIIDaniel Bugan<p>​​​Stellenbosch University (SU) will take the lead in a project worth 5 million euros (R100 million) to undertake research and capacity development with the aim of improving transboundary water resource management across Africa.  <br></p><p> The ACEWATER-III project was officially launched in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2024 and will be implemented from 2024 to 2028. Funded by the European Commission, the project will involve:</p><ul><li>scientific, technology and innovation research for increase Transboundary Water Resource Management; </li><li>human capacity development through short courses; </li><li>short-term mobility opportunities between partners; </li><li>research and skills exchanges; and </li><li>engagement with policy stakeholders. </li></ul><p> <strong>Wide implementation network</strong></p><p>The project will be implemented by SU along with 20 partner institutions in the AUDA-NEPAD Networks of Water Centres of Excellence, and the EU delegation to South Africa. The AUDA-NEPAD Networks of Water Centres of Excellence is a network of higher education and research institutions that conduct high-end scientific research and capacity development in the water and related sectors of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Member institutions are from South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso and Senegal. The body received its mandate in 2005 from the African Union through the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) and the African Ministers' Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST).</p><p> Dr Nico Elema, director of SU International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa, will be the project lead. He also facilitated the launch of ACEWATER-III along with the other AUDA-NEPAD network partners, AMCOW, the regional economic communities in Africa, and representatives of the European Commission in Nairobi. “SU has been contracted by the EU delegation to South Africa to lead this third phase of the ACEWATER project. Yet we are also working very closely with EU Water in Brussels and the EU Joint Research Centre (EU JRC) in Italy as we build on many years of science diplomacy," Elema says.</p><p>“Our job is to make sure that all the activities are implemented through our network partners in the various African countries," he adds. “Each one of them will undertake research and capacity development within the river basin organisations in their regions. The SU Water Institute will also contribute some research and training."</p><p><strong>Aiming for meaningful impact</strong></p><p>The aim is for the research and capacity development activities to have a meaningful impact on Transboundary Water Resource Management, Elema says. “We must have an impact on society in terms of our policy engagements and the knowledge that we generate. Through AMCOW, we work very closely with the ministers of water across the continent, so at the end of the day, we would like our research to have an impact on their policy decisions.</p><p>“It is also about joint learning," he continues. “We are all good at something, but not everything. If we, as a network, can bring our strengths together, we really can become excellent. With the very high level of stakeholder engagement involved in this project, we need to make sure that we have a positive impact on the African water and sanitation space."</p><p> Elema says even though ACEWATER-III project was only officially launched in April, the network partners have already started identifying the research projects and training they would like to undertake.​</p><p>​<br></p>
Forging ties across Africahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10655Forging ties across AfricaDaniel Bugan<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) International's Africa Partnership Development portfolio is making great strides in facilitating collaboration and capacity development among institutions on the continent. The portfolio, located in SU International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa (CCA), is led by Norma Derby.<br></p><p> <strong>Partnerships for Africa</strong></p><p>Derby's main responsibilities are to manage partnerships with the rest of Africa, facilitate student and staff mobility in Africa, and coordinate SU events with an African focus. “We manage partnerships by supporting faculties with new and renewable agreements, and undertaking and receiving delegation visits," she explains. The portfolio is also represented in the SU International working group for agreement development to keep abreast of developments and aligned with SU's partnership goals.</p><p>“Student and staff mobility, in turn, ensures capacity-building and exposure," Derby says. This normally takes the form of capacity development for African master's and doctoral students. “We also host events to commemorate Africa Day (25 May) and Africa University Day (12 November) every year. These are used as a platform for emphasising Pan-Africanism," she adds.</p><p><strong>A snapshot of recent and upcoming work</strong></p><p>Some of the more recent interventions that the portfolio has facilitated include:</p><ul><li>a delegation visit from the University of Luanda (Angola) and the subsequent drafting of an agreement between the two institutions' vice-chancellors to be finalised in June 2024;</li><li>two visits from the Institute of Finance Management in Tanzania, followed by the signing of a letter of intent in March 2024; </li><li>a delegation visit from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kenya in 2023, and a reciprocal visit by SU shortly thereafter; and</li><li>hosting students from Institut National Polytechnique (INPHB), Cote D'Ivoire, for the Intensive English Language programme in 2023.</li></ul><p>The months ahead will see:</p><ul><li>further collaborations to host students from INPHB and the University of Luanda for the Intensive English Language programme in June and July 2024; </li><li>SU staff members attending a conference hosted by the University of Luanda;</li><li>bilateral partners from Kenya, Namibia, Uganda and Ghana visiting SU to discuss their potential inclusion in the list of Semester Abroad programmes that SU students can choose from; and</li><li>collaboration with Tanzania's Institute of Finance Management to design a staff mobility programme for that country's government officials.​<br><br></li></ul><p><strong>Driving Africa's rise as key global stakeholder</strong></p><p>Derby says all interventions aim to foster Pan-African collaboration, promote the academic expertise of junior scholars across the continent, and develop a strong network of African academics. “This will contribute to a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce and drive Africa's rise as a key global stakeholder."</p><p>Other initiatives in the CCA that facilitate bilateral collaboration with partners in Africa include the <a href="/english/AfricaSU/Pages/Africa-Collaboration-Grant.aspx"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Africa Collaboration Grant</span> </a>and the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme. The former makes available grants for research visits, conference participation, the hosting of senior visiting scholars, and support for postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Between 2010 and 2024 a total number of grants awarded is 280.The latter fosters student and staff mobility across Africa by providing scholarship opportunities for postgraduates and development programmes for staff.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Disaster risk scholars engage at first Periperi U CARP workshop http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10358Disaster risk scholars engage at first Periperi U CARP workshop SU International <p><span style="text-align:justify;">T</span><span style="text-align:justify;">he Periperi U secretariat, situated in Stellenbosch University (SU) International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa, hosted its first workshop under the Climate Adaptation Research Programme (CARP) at Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The aim of the event, held from 30 October to 2 November 2023, was to help establish the CARP community, which offers early-career and established African professionals working in the climate adaptation field a platform to network, engage and collaborate.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Among the 70 participants were Tanzanian government officials, underscoring the importance of engagement between risk reduction practitioners and policymakers to address the continent's climate adaptation challenges. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Cross-border collaboration</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">CARP is run in partnership with the Humanitarian Assistance Technical Support (HATS) project at the University of Arizona and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Its intention is to support applied climate adaptation research in Africa, with a particular focus on the implications for disaster risk reduction policies and strategies.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Apart from Tanzania, countries represented at the workshop included South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Morocco, Rwanda and the United States. Participants included emerging scholars from the 33 CARP research projects taking place across ten African countries. The programme featured several discussion sessions, group activities, research poster presentations as well as field excursions to project sites focused on reducing flooding vulnerability and risk in Dar es Salaam. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>CARP expansion plans formalised </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The event also saw the Periperi U secretariat sign an agreement with the University of Arizona to expand CARP up to 2028. The expanded initiative, CARP-PLUS, with its additional budget of $2,05 million will provide more funding for vital climate change and disaster risk research, travel to major strategic events, and sponsorship to attend training across the continent.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The next CARP workshop will be held in 2024 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. <br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Strengthening Africa’s presence in global research arena — Prof Wim de Villiershttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10313Strengthening Africa’s presence in global research arena — Prof Wim de VilliersWim De Villiers<p>​​Africa Universities' Day was celebrated recently (12 November). In an opinion piece for the <em>Cape Times</em>, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University Prof Wim de Villiers writes that purposeful research collaborations will go a long way in addressing the formidable challenge to level up with Western research and restore Africa's rightful place in global scholarship and research excellence.</p><ul><li>​Read the article below or click <a href="https://storage.googleapis.com/marketiq/134B3CC/JRM-1700107499797_134B58D.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Wim De Villiers*</strong><br></p><p>“Confronting the challenges of our time differently and more purposefully."  With this apt expression at the launch of the Clusters of Research Excellence between leading African and European universities, Prof Ernest Aryeetey of the Alliance of Research-intensive Universities in Africa (ARUA), summed up the task at hand to ensure that researchers and scholars on the continent uphold and advance Africa's contribution to the world's generation of scientific knowledge.<br></p><p>Despite considerable growth over recent decades, Africa's share of global science production currently stands at 8 per cent. This is clearly insufficient for a continent of 1.3 billion people whose population is expected to almost double by 2050.<br></p><p>On this Africa Universities' Day, celebrated across our continent every 12<sup>th</sup> of November, we take a moment to reflect on the remarkable progress made in the field of higher education.</p><p>The 20 Clusters of Research Excellence (CORE), an initiative of ARUA and the Guild of European Universities, are focused on bringing the best enquiring minds together across scientific disciplines and continental boundaries to tackle some of the most intractable challenges of our time – from preparing the world to fight future pandemics better, to mitigating the devastating effects of climate change.<br></p><p>This collaborative approach for greater societal impact was amplified at the Times Higher Education's World Academic Summit held recently in Sydney, Australia, with the theme: <em>Collaborating for greatness in a multi-disciplinary world</em>.</p><p>Delegates from 50 countries explored how institutions can best collaborate both internally (across departments to accelerate transformative and translational research) and externally (to strengthen regional, national and global collaboration) to enhance the role of universities as key drivers of change within society.<br></p><p>A salient feature of the discussions at the Summit with reference to research collaboration is the challenge of establishing equitable partnerships in a deeply unequal world. Thus, transformative research and a wider endorsement of the Africa Charter for Transformative Research Collaborations enjoyed much attention as a means of finding practical solutions to the scientific challenges of our time and building capacity of the next generation of researchers for Africa and the globe.<br></p><p>At Stellenbosch University (SU), doing research “differently and more purposefully" across regional and continental boundaries has become an institutional ethos – underpinned by innovative thinking and significant investment in accelerating the skills capacity of our continent. <br></p><p>The launch of the billion-rand state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI) at our Tygerberg campus earlier this year is aimed at collaborative research that will exponentially boost the research capacity in biomedical sciences and holds the promise to revolutionise healthcare on our continent. <br></p><p>Genomic surveillance to control pathogen infections in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Belgium and Germany are well underway and our Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) is assisting 44 African countries with training and capacity building through their Genomics Service and Country Support.<br></p><p>Our researchers have joined forces with European and regional counterparts to respond to pandemic and epidemic pathogens such as COVID, HIV, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and cholera. <br></p><p>The quest to strengthen Africa's presence in the global research arena, is further underpinned by the Nobel in Africa Symposia where SU is partnering with the Stellenbosch Institute for Advance Study (STIAS) in an initiative that has a special focus on Africa and to nurture future generations of scholars and intellectual leaders on the continent. <br></p><p>The Nobel in Africa Symposia bring together some of the world's top scientists to deliberate on new research discoveries and developments in their field. The first symposium on Physics was held in October last year and was followed by and equally formidable symposium on Chemistry at the end of last month. The symposia, with a strong outreach element, are deliberately aimed at university academic staff and students with the objective to inspire the next generation of scholars on the continent.<br></p><p>There can be no doubt that purposeful research collaborations are powerful instruments to deliver greater, scale-able impact on the communities that we serve – locally, regionally and globally.  It will go a long way in addressing the formidable challenge to level up with Western research and restore Africa's rightful place in global scholarship and research excellence.<br></p><p><strong>*Prof Wim De Villiers is Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, South Africa</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
AI in Africa is about people, language and contextual innovation – and higher education can helphttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10305AI in Africa is about people, language and contextual innovation – and higher education can helpDr Jan Petrus Bosman<p>​African artificial intelligence (AI) is about people. As the Stellenbosch University (SU) representative in <a href="https://www.aheen.net/">AHEEN</a>, I was struck by the story of a data science intern in a Kenyan refugee camp. She worked with a refugee-led student support organisation and applied her data science knowledge and skills in the organisation and to the problems at hand. The feedback on her work was incredible and showed just how much difference a skilled graduate can make in even just a short time. AI in Africa should focus on our talented and resourceful people who can use their AI-related data science skills to bring measurable change where it is needed most.<br></p><p> African AI is about language. The <a href="https://deeplearningindaba.com/2023/">Deep Learning Indaba</a>, initiated by <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/vukosimarivate/?originalSubdomain=za">Prof Vukosi Marivate</a> of the University of Pretoria, and its grassroots AI projects, <a href="https://www.masakhane.io/">Masakhane</a> and <a href="https://lelapa.ai/">Lelapa AI</a>, develop large language models for African languages. The project is described as “a grassroots natural language processing (NLP) community for Africa, by Africans". Here, we see the power of language, which is such a defining feature of our diverse, multilingual continent. While existing large language models (such as ChatGPT) lean towards English and Western languages, these projects help establish an African language, thought and philosophy approach to the training of AI systems. Locally developed AI tools will better serve our African thinking and doing, feeding our insights into the global community. In this way, we can create a more decolonised future in which AI systems 'think through' isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans, Arabic, Swahili and the like to provide equal and just information, learning, services and opportunities to all African communities.</p><p>African AI is about innovation and contextual entrepreneurship. In his contextual innovation and entrepreneurship course developed for the agrisciences industry, Dr <a href="https://youtu.be/ZlkfsV8UYmU?t=397">Albert Strever</a> (SU) intentionally incorporated AI tools such as ChatGPT and QuillBot in the students' curriculum and learning activities. In the process, he invested in the students' AI literacy and prepared them for a near future where the question will not be whether humans will be replaced by AI, but whether humans <em>with</em> AI will replace humans <em>without</em> AI (<a href="https://hbr.org/2023/08/ai-wont-replace-humans-but-humans-with-ai-will-replace-humans-without-ai?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=dailyalert_notactsubs&deliveryName=DM287974">Prof Karim Lakhani</a>). Lecturers should become leaders in incorporating the AI insights of their disciplines into their own teaching, learning and assessment. And, of course, lecturers themselves should also <a href="https://www.edx.org/certificates/professional-certificate/stellenboschx-ai-in-higher-education">learn about AI in higher education</a>!</p><p> AI tools are now available to all higher education stakeholders (students, lecturers and support staff). By focusing on people, language and contextual (Africa-oriented) innovation, African higher education can contribute immensely from a global south perspective. There are a plethora of new social entrepreneurial ideas just waiting to be turned into reality with the help of our computer, data and machine-learning scientists for the benefit of society.</p><p>I conclude with the underpinning philosophy of the <a href="https://deeplearningindaba.com/2023/">Deep Learning Indaba</a>, which strongly resonates with me:</p><p><em> “We work towards the goal of Africans being not only observers and receivers of the ongoing advances in AI, but active shapers and owners of these technological advances."</em></p><p>​<br></p>
Networks taking internationalisation forwardhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10171Networks taking internationalisation forwardProf Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs<p>​In August, the International Network of Universities (INU) celebrated its 25<sup>th</sup> anniversary in Hiroshima, Japan. It was an auspicious occasion, more so for Stellenbosch University (SU), as it was the first coming together of the network under SU's presidency, which we will hold until 2025.<br></p><p>For me personally, it was an honour to preside over the occasion as INU President. INU counts among the most prestigious networks to which SU belongs.</p><p>The INU value statement reads as follow: “We value the development of globally engaged and socially responsible change agents who commit to understanding and addressing the complexities of global and local political, economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges."</p><p>Furthermore, INU believes that by working together, universities can drive meaningful change on various levels – locally, nationally, regionally and globally. This is grounded in the conviction that partnerships and networks are essential for universities to realise their institutional goals and objectives and drive change and progress in society.</p><p>This aligns and resonates with the SU Internationalisation Strategy, which sets a high value on networks such as INU. We endeavour to seek out such mutually beneficial networks where we are able to engage and partner with the world's foremost universities.</p><p>In fact, network engagement is part of SU's Vision 2040. To us, networks offer an innovative way of expanding our global footprint and taking internationalisation in higher education forward into the future.</p><p>Networks increase their members' global profile and enable our researchers and students to collaborate in many ways. This is why SU currently belongs to at least 34 networks, of which more than 12 are on the African continent and the rest abroad.</p><p>In future, SU will continue to play an integral role in global networks as a means of taking internationalisation forward.</p><ul><li><strong><em>Prof Hester C. Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs</em></strong></li></ul><p><strong> </strong></p><p>​<br></p>
“Looking back is looking forward…” - The next 30 years of internationalisation at SU.http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10170“Looking back is looking forward…” - The next 30 years of internationalisation at SU.Robert Kotze, Senior Director: SU International <p>​​​​Stellenbosch University is celebrating 30 years of internationalisation this year and SU International is preparing for an external peer review – lots of looking back happening… <em>Can looking back, be looking forward?</em></p><p> <span style="text-align:justify;">The review is focusing on our alignment with and contribution to SU's Vision and the SU Internationalisation Strategy and on what is in place to deliver our value proposition. It is giving us the </span><strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>possibility</em></strong><span style="text-align:justify;"> to provide a broad and well-informed snapshot of where we are on our journey of </span><em style="text-align:justify;">Improved consolidation, Enhanced alignment and Augmented moving forward</em><span style="text-align:justify;">, our base-line motto for post-COVID to make the most of the known and new </span><strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>possibilities</em></strong><span style="text-align:justify;"> for the </span><strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>people</em></strong><span style="text-align:justify;"> in SU International and the broader SU community, our </span><strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>place</em></strong><strong style="text-align:justify;">.</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The snapshot has already brought the following considerations to the fore:</p><ul><li>Newly established entities, like the SDG/2063 Hub, the SU Unit for International Credentialing, the SU Japan Centre, and our engagement with the GUILD of European Research-Intensive Universities are in support of the SU aspiration to be “a proud African knowledge hub that serves the continent through research, innovation and education." In its own right, each one of the entities also contributes to SU's sustainability, “a national asset that serves the diverse needs of our communities".</li><li>SU International is promoting the eight dimensions of the SU Internationalisation Strategy with wide-ranging <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong>: We are dared to build bi- and multilateral partnership for research collaboration to move beyond mere transactional engagements to stronger collaborative transformative programme development. There are also many <strong><em>possibilities </em></strong>for including Globally Networked Learning opportunities in our partnerships.</li><li>There is continued high levels of interest from various stakeholders to visit SU to strengthen existing or to explore new <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong>. Within this stakeholder engagement, the extensive contacts during our own international visit add to the <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> for going forward. The big question here is: To what extent do we follow up and take matters further? </li><li>There is huge anticipation to see the outcomes of our first year of engagement with international student marketing platforms. How many “clicks" have translated into applications and admissions? How many will eventually register in 2024? Was it possible to increase our 4,2% international undergraduate registrations in 2024? Did it have an impact on SU's commitment to provide access to SA students?</li><li>The Africa bilateral partnership development portfolio is similarly faced by <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> regarding partnership mapping and development, moving the partnerships on the transactional ß à transformational continuum through including, for example, the UMOJA student leadership initiative, SDG/2063 perspectives and scholarship development into partnership augmentation plans. There might be even <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> to reframe some partnerships into <em>Thematic bilateral partnerships</em> for more focus,</li><li>Incoming Study Abroad (free movers) numbers have grown as a result of SU's interaction with SKEMA Business School. What is the scope, again <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong>, for growing this portfolio to ensure financial sustainability regarding outgoing mobility bursaries and maintaining, and even strengthening, the SU International service delivery platform?</li><li>We have moved forward regarding our Employment Equity profile. How do we translate that commitment to inclusion into a more diverse cohort of outgoing mobility students? Is it only about increasing the travel bursary amount?</li><li>The portfolio of short-term mobility programmes is significant. Growing the portfolio will need more capacity. However, there is a <strong><em>possibility</em></strong> to go beyond the number of programmes by integrating them within the overarching Global Education Programme to ensure that we contribute to our Global Student Learning Outcomes (GSLOs).</li><li>We have moved forward with creating internationalisation <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> for PASS colleagues. The notion of “being an internationalisation practitioner" is gaining traction. How do we continue facilitating wider understanding and embracing of internationalisation in the institution beyond SU International?</li><li>Regarding scholarship development, we can point to milestones – a solid roadmap illustrating progress. To what extent should we go beyond the capacity building of the PhD pipeline? How do we submerge the <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> into our Africa partnerships and our work in African multilateral networks?</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">The first part of the stocktaking, compiling the report, has already prompted the above possibilities. It informs our looking forward:</p><ul><li>Bringing all global education initiatives within the Global Education Programme will contribute towards i<em>mproved consolidation.</em></li><li>Further alignment of the new initiatives with SU's aspirations and further development of the international undergraduate student marketing initiatives within the overarching institutional student recruitment imperatives will ensure overall <em>enhanced alignment</em>.</li><li>“Sweet spot" development for each African partnership, a mid-term review of the Partnership Framework and growing the profile of our outgoing student cohort regarding inclusion will facilitate <em>augmented moving forward</em>.</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">The engagement with the review panel is forthcoming. This will further help us to learn and look forward to finetune our responses towards the already emerged (“looking back") <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> and to create an appropriate optical prism for <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> on the horizon.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">As SU International, we are ready to learn from the review process – from one another, from the review panel and from internal stakeholders. This will enable us to co-create new milestones regarding the <strong><em>possibilities</em></strong> for the <strong><em>people</em></strong> in SU International and the broader SU community, our <strong><em>place</em></strong>, all for the next 30 years.</p><p> </p><p>Robert Kotzé</p><p>21 August 2023</p><p> <img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/SUI%20stand%20wall%20250%20cm%20x%20400%20cm%20at%20half%20size.jpg" alt="SUI stand wall 250 cm x 400 cm at half size.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:851px;" /><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p>​<br></p>
SU’s Unit for International Credentialling to consult on Lesotho's Advanced Secondary Certificate http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10165SU’s Unit for International Credentialling to consult on Lesotho's Advanced Secondary Certificate SU International <p>​<span style="text-align:justify;">​The Stellenbosch University Unit for International Credentialing (SU-UIC) has entered into an agreement with the Examinations Council of Lesotho to consult on their new national qualification, the Lesotho Advanced Secondary Certificate (LASC).</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Examinations Council of Lesotho (ECoL), on behalf of the Lesotho education ministry, used to offer the Lesotho General Certificate of Secondary Education (LGCSE) in partnership with Cambridge University. However, when this partnership terminated at the end of 2022, ECoL decided to implement the LASC, a new school-leaving certificate that will provide learners with competencies comparable to international standards.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Although the LGCSE also served as a school-leaving certificate, its standard was comparable to Grade 11 in the South African curriculum. This served as an access barrier for learners who hoped to gain admission to higher education institutions in South Africa and elsewhere. The new LASC is intended to align with South Africa's National Senior Certificate and other, similar matriculation qualifications, enabling Basotho nationals to access a broader pool of universities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU-UIC is the external quality assurer for Africa's first international school-leaving certificate, the International Secondary Certificate (ISC), which the Independent Examinations Board introduced in 2022. This spurred ECoL to approach the SU-UIC to quality-assure the LASC, which Lesotho hopes to roll out in 2024.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to the agreement, SU-UIC will consult on the LASC during its development in 2023 and beyond. SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and the chief executive officer of ECoL, Dr Mokhitli Khoabane, signed the agreement in Stellenbosch in June. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">SU's support will help ECoL facilitate a significant paradigm shift in the Lesotho education system towards African relevance and responsiveness. Both stakeholders are excited to see the initiative take shape. <br></p><p>​<br></p>
UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Competence pre-launch 14-15 August http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10145UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Competence pre-launch 14-15 August Daniel Bugan<p>​​Stellenbosch University International (SU International) recently hosted two days of activities relating to intercultural competence, which culminated in the official launch of the UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Competence on the third day.<br></p><p> The chair, which was awarded to Stellenbosch University (SU) earlier this year, will be housed in the Africa Centre for Scholarship (ACS) in SU International. The Chairholder will be Dr Darla Deardorff, an SU-affiliated distinguished fellow from the United States, and co-chair Prof Sarah Howie, director of the ACS.</p><p> The two UNESCO Chair pre-launch events – a workshop and symposium on intercultural competences – took place on 14 and 15 August respectively. Prominent directors, researchers and academics from higher education institutions in South Africa, Africa and around the world as well as UNESCO chairholders and dignitaries were in attendance.</p><p> <strong>Intercultural competences capacity development workshop – UNESCO train-the-trainer story circles</strong></p><p> On the first day, Dr Deardorff, who is also the founding president of the World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence (www.iccglobal.org), facilitated the 'train-the trainer' workshop. The session featured a key intercultural methodology used by UNESCO, with personal stories shared in circles (UNESCO story circles) as a way to practise and develop intercultural competences such as listening for understanding, open-mindedness and empathy. The aim was to prepare participants to go out and facilitate this methodology themselves.</p><p> “UNESCO story circles are grounded in one of the first research-based frameworks around intercultural competence," said Deardorff. UNESCO piloted the circles in all five UNESCO regions around the world as well as online, having used the methodology to train United Nations staff globally. Deardorff noted: “Circles have existed in indigenous cultures for centuries, but it is the first time that these circles are being used for the purpose of practising and developing key intercultural competences." Over 30 Stellenbosch colleagues along with global partners of the University participated in the workshop.</p><p><strong>Intercultural competences symposium</strong></p><p><strong> </strong>The symposium on the second day comprised hybrid plenary sessions, including talks by top SU scholars, panel discussions led by SU's international partners, and presentations by UNESCO chairs.</p><p>In her welcoming address, Prof Hester Klopper, SU's Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs, said: “This symposium comes at the right time, not only in relation to our struggle for gender equality or peace, but also with regard to many other forms of injustice stemming from the us-versus-them mentality that we so often see. This mentality plays out in racism, xenophobia, homophobia, gender-based violence and, in the case of South Africa, the continuing legacy of colonialism, slavery and apartheid. These unfortunate experiences provide us with the opportunity to collectively search for a better future. I believe that the UNESCO chair will play an important role in promoting and integrating this system of research, teaching and learning."</p><p>Dr Deardorff's opening remarks emphasised the importance of intercultural competence on a global level. “Over the past three years as the world battled the Covid-19 pandemic, we were reminded of the power of human connection as we experienced isolation, confinement, social distancing, and even fear. The pandemic years provided an opportunity for us to reflect on what matters most, what binds us together, and what it means to be good neighbours. It emphasised that we are all in this together and that it becomes imperative for us to get along, and that is where intercultural competence comes in.</p><p> “Over 60 years of scholarly work has been done around the intercultural competence construct. Increasingly, we are also seeing research about social emotional learning, emotional intelligence, and discussions around empathy and compassion. This, coupled with conversations around intersectionalities with justice, equity, diversity, belonging and inclusion, brings to mind further questions that need more research, in which this UNESCO chair can play such an important role."</p><p> However, she bemoaned the fact that much of the existing work around intercultural competence has come from the global north. “That is why it is so important to have this UNESCO chair at Stellenbosch. With the chair being located in South Africa, we can work with scholars from across the continent around intercultural competence," said Deardorff.</p><p> The UNESCO chair provides an exciting opportunity to work with colleagues at SU as well as across institutions, said co-chairholder Prof Howie in her opening remarks. “The intention is for the chair to be a think-tank that comprises a team in a bigger collaborative effort. It is a means to advance research, training and programme development around intercultural competence. The overarching goal of this chair is to contribute to quality education by exploring the intersections of intercultural competence with gender equality, climate action and peacebuilding, with a special focus on Africa, to create a more just, peaceful and inclusive society."</p><p> Prof Howie added: “To do that, the chair has four objectives: The first is to curate and disseminate intercultural competence research and practice. The second is to engage in projects that are relevant to the African Union's Agenda 2063, where intercultural competences may be less robust as an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration to address gender equity, conflict/peacebuilding and climate action. The third is to strengthen the network of cooperation between the various universities relating to intercultural competence work. The fourth is to engage in institutional development and capacity development to strengthen intercultural competences among relevant stakeholders."</p><p> The three panel discussions at the symposium focused on the themes “Towards a better future in Africa", “Towards a better future globally" and “UNESCO chairs' contribution towards a better future globally" respectively.</p><p> <strong>Towards a better future in Africa</strong></p><p><strong> </strong>This plenary session consisted of three talks on the intersection of the UNESCO chair with gender equality, climate action and peacebuilding.</p><p><strong> </strong>In the first talk, Prof Amanda Gouws, incumbent of SU's SARChi Chair in Gender Politics, emphasised that intercultural competences need to be accompanied by a feminist ethic of care. “A feminist ethic of care has the following characteristics: attentiveness, responsiveness, responsibility and competence. A care ethic is relational and demands that we listen to the needs of those we care for. In a similar vein, intercultural competences should be located in relationality to enable us to understand the cultures of others and how we live in relationships with others. It belies the liberal notion of the autonomous individual because we are all members of communities, and we all live in relationality with each other. At the root of intercultural competences is the notion of ubuntu. It is only when we admit that we are all connected that we will be able to contribute to the prosperity of Africa."</p><p> The second talk featured Prof Guy Midgley, acting director of SU's School for Climate Studies, who spoke about climate action and said that the UNESCO chair would be valuable in bringing about a better future for Africa in the context of climate change. “Southern Africa is approaching an era of sustainable development, with a healthy population demographic and economic outlook, if managed correctly. But our social ecological systems in Africa are at extreme risk of climate-related impacts as well as inappropriate adaptation and mitigation responses imposed upon us by the rest of the world, especially with regard to land use.</p><p> “International funders severely under-allocate support to this region. Our region has to invest its own meagre resources to maintain a world-class contribution to global knowledge. It needs to be better rewarded because our science contributes to the global knowledge base on climate change and adaptation. Southern African science in particular contributes substantially to global knowledge on climate change."</p><p> The third presentation by Ms Sarah Richmond, senior manager at SU International, addressed the theme of peacebuilding and the key role of internationalisation practitioners in developing intercultural competence. “One of the main tenets of UNESCO's work is to create a new social contract, specifically with regard to education, diversity and understanding. And that is why we, as practitioners at SU International, are so excited to host this chair. With our very specific interculturalism, multi-diversity and education, we have the ability to engage with different students, curricula, organisations and institutions on the very basic building blocks of mutual understanding, which will allow us, along with the UNESCO co-chairholders, to build a better future for Africa, with Africa," she said.</p><p> <strong>Towards a better future globally</strong></p><p>Some of SU's international partners who had supported the University's application for the UNESCO chair and will also be collaborating with the chair spoke in the second symposium session.</p><p> Dr Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, a professor of Psychology and director of the Centre for Research on Global Engagement at Elon University, United States, said her centre's aims were well aligned with the objectives of the UNESCO chair, as they were also fostering collaboration, building partnerships and establishing best practices.</p><p> She specifically mentioned an American Council on Education initiative around mentoring, which she had led at Elon University. “Mentoring matters. It is a very important way in which we highlight high-quality undergraduate education. There has been a lot of research over the past couple of decades, and it has been proven that students who experience mentoring are much more likely to thrive and succeed in their jobs at a later stage.</p><p> “We also convened two different think-tanks, which were very useful in trying to understand the layering of educational practices. Three themes emerged as key to the participants: to increase access to mentored, globally focused undergraduate research, to augment intercultural learning, and to address knowledge gaps."</p><p> Mr Milton Nyamadzawo from the Institute for Economics and Peace in Harare, Zimbabwe, highlighted a collaboration with UNESCO in which intercultural competence played a part to address political instability. “The UNESCO initiative Enabling Intercultural Dialogue has been developed in partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace to address the intercultural competence dialogue knowledge gap and support more effective dialogue. Following the launch of the Enabling Intercultural Dialogue framework, UNESCO now hopes to continue to grow intercultural competence dialogue through a dialogue support facility. It also plans a series of pilots with various countries to aid capacity building and policy guidance," he said.</p><p> The session also featured Ms Orla Quinlan, a representative of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) and director of the International Office at Rhodes University. As a partner of the UNESCO chair, IEASA will help build an intercultural network in higher education across South Africa. Quinlan noted the important role of international education in developing students' intercultural competence. She stressed the need to integrate intercultural competence into higher education curricula and to support academics' professional development around intercultural competence.  </p><p><strong>UNESCO chairs' contribution towards a better future globally</strong><br></p><p><strong> </strong>The final symposium session featured the work being done globally in relation to intercultural competence by some of the international UNESCO chairs who had supported SU's chair application.</p><p> Prof Joanna Hughes, who holds the UNESCO Chair in Shared Education for Peacebuilding and Social Justice at Queen's University, Belfast, spoke about her work in shared education in Northern Ireland. According to Hughes, 'shared education' refers to a policy and practice that encourages and facilitates collaboration and the sharing of resources between schools from different religious and cultural backgrounds. The goal is to break down barriers between different communities, reduce segregation, and improve community relations. It is seen as a way to promote a sense of reconciliation and create a more inclusive and harmonious society in Northern Ireland.</p><p> “A number of educationists came together around 2004 to think about what they can do in the education system to try and provide opportunities to bring kids together, and this idea for shared education was born. Shared education is done through schools coming together in various partnerships, such as joint extracurricular activities, shared teacher development activities, and teacher exchanges," she explained.</p><p> Prof Marion Keim, incumbent of the UNESCO Chair in Sport, Development, Peace and Olympic Education at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), said she used her passion for sport as a tool for peacebuilding and development. She chairs the Centre for Sport Science and Development at UWC, which “is the only sport centre in Africa that does not focus on high performance or sports management, but on the concept of development and peace". In this capacity, she has initiated projects such as The Case for Sport, a study that explores the impact of sport on a country. “We have been able to prove that sport in the Western Cape brings more money into the province than tourism. This got politicians to pay more attention and to pump more money into sport and peace initiatives. This is an ongoing study that we are doing with the provincial government," said Keim. She added that they also started the Sport and Development Policy in Africa project with UNESCO in 2014, which maps African countries according to their sport policies.</p><p> Other international partners who took part in this session were Dr Jorge Gonzales, holder of the UNESCO Chair on Intercultural Dialogue at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and Prof Helena Marujo, the incumbent of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Global Peace Sustainability at Lisbon University in Portugal.</p><p>The UNESCO Chair in Intercultural Competence was officially launched at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies on 16 August, along with the UNESCO Chair in Complex Systems and Transformative African Futures held by Prof Rika Preiser and Ms Tanja Hichert.​<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Antibiotic-resistant sepsis still claiming newborn lives in Africahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10093Antibiotic-resistant sepsis still claiming newborn lives in AfricaCorporate Communication and Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​A new European-African collaboration to improve the way infections in newborns are treated was launched recently. The project, SNIP-AFRICA, aims to reduce mortality among neonates in hospital with sepsis in Africa, in an era of increasing antimicrobial resistance.<br></p><p>Funded by the European Union under the Global Health EDCTP3 Programme, SNIP-AFRICA will conduct an adaptive trial to identify the best drug regimens and doses for difficult-to-treat infections and sepsis, which threaten the lives of newborns in neonatal units in sub-Saharan African countries.</p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) will be involved in the majority of work packages. Professors Adrie Bekker and Eric Decloedt will be leading the working group aimed at accelerating African neonatal sepsis pharmacokinetic (how the antibiotic moves through and out of the body of the neonate) trials to optimise antimicrobial treatment for neonates. SU will also be facilitating African capacity building within the SNIP-AFRICA consortium to perform analytical quantification of antimicrobial plasma concentrations as well as training in pharmacometric modeling (using the measured neonatal drug levels to develop a combined mathematical and statistical model able to predict appropriate neonatal dosing) of these plasma concentrations to optimise dosing.<br></p><p>The SU research team involved, will benefit from R20 million funding<em>.​</em></p><ul><li>Read the international statement <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/SNIP%20AFRICA%20PRESS%20RELEASE.pdf"><strong>h<span style="text-decoration:underline;"></span>e</strong><strong>re</strong> </a>. ​<br></li></ul><div><span style="color:#111111;font-family:-apple-system, blinkmacsystemfont, "san francisco", "helvetica neue", helvetica, ubuntu, roboto, noto, "segoe ui", arial, sans-serif;text-wrap:nowrap;background-color:#f5f5f5;">Photo by </span><a href="https://unsplash.com/%40adroman?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText" style="box-sizing:border-box;background-color:#f5f5f5;color:#767676;transition:color 0.1s ease-in-out 0s, opacity 0.1s ease-in-out 0s;font-family:-apple-system, blinkmacsystemfont, "san francisco", "helvetica neue", helvetica, ubuntu, roboto, noto, "segoe ui", arial, sans-serif;text-wrap:nowrap;">Aditya Romansa</a><span style="color:#111111;font-family:-apple-system, blinkmacsystemfont, "san francisco", "helvetica neue", helvetica, ubuntu, roboto, noto, "segoe ui", arial, sans-serif;text-wrap:nowrap;background-color:#f5f5f5;"> on </span><a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/5zp0jym2w9M?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText" style="box-sizing:border-box;background-color:#f5f5f5;color:#767676;transition:color 0.1s ease-in-out 0s, opacity 0.1s ease-in-out 0s;font-family:-apple-system, blinkmacsystemfont, "san francisco", "helvetica neue", helvetica, ubuntu, roboto, noto, "segoe ui", arial, sans-serif;text-wrap:nowrap;">Unsplash</a>​<br></div><br>