SU International
Welcome to Stellenbosch University




Erasmus+ mobility programme an eye-opener for SU staffer mobility programme an eye-opener for SU stafferDaniel Bugan<p>​His participation in the recent Erasmus+* staff mobility programme in Türkiye not only enhanced his professional development, but also made for a lifetime of memories. So says Sibusiso Lukhele, project coordinator in the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies.<br></p><p>Lukhele was one of two staffers who represented Stellenbosch University (SU) at the Erasmus+ event, which catered specifically for the professional development of support services staff. The programme, hosted from 13 to 16 May 2024 at Sabancı University in Istanbul, offered participants the chance to interact with peers from Sabancı as well as universities in the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia and Czech Republic. </p><p><em><strong>All-round educational experience</strong></em></p><p>The main thrust of the programme was to learn about the Turkish higher education system and how they prepare students for an ever-changing world, explains Lukhele. “For example, at Sabancı<em><strong> </strong></em>University, all students are required to take a community engagement module as a prerequisite for graduation. This sees them embarking on projects that can be implemented in different communities in the country."</p><p>Workshops aimed at professional development covered a range of topics, including the transformative power of artificial intelligence in higher education, making better decisions, exposing racist fallacies, and being agile in a dynamic world. “I found the workshop on communication with Gen Z particularly insightful," says Lukhele. “The session was facilitated by Gen Z students from Koç University [also located in Istanbul] and helped me understand how these postmillennials view the world. We learnt that Gen Zs prioritise their mental health and wellbeing, and value issues such as social justice and shared humanity. Since I interact with Gen Z students in my day-to-day work and am raising a Gen Z daughter, this has given me a better understanding of how best to communicate with these young people."</p><p>His interactions with the other universities' academics and support staff also developed his networking skills, Lukhele adds. “My networking skills have improved, which will help me build stronger relationships with different SU stakeholders." </p><p><em><strong>Sights, sounds and soccer</strong></em></p><p>Outside the formal programme, he also took the opportunity to fully immerse himself in the sights and sounds of Istanbul. “I decided to make the one free day on the programme my tourist day. I got off at the wrong train station. Just imagine being lost in a city with 20 million people!" he laughs. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I got to see so many different parts of Istanbul. Visiting all the tourist sites was great, but as a football fan, the best part was seeing all three stadiums where Türkiye's biggest football teams – Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Galatasaray – play.</p><p>“Another fond memory was the late sunsets," Lukhele says. “It was late spring, and the sun would only set at about 20:30, which allowed for some late dinners at interesting restaurants and cafes."</p><p>He has no doubt that the programme has added significant value to his professional life. “Participation in the Erasmus+ programme plays a crucial role in your development, and you get to learn about other universities. And in the process, you get to compare SU with other institutions and again realise that our university is truly world-class," he concludes.</p><p><em><strong>About Erasmus+</strong></em></p><p><em>Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission's Education and Culture Executive Agency. It provides grants for a wide range of activities, with a strong emphasis on international collaboration between partner countries, notably in the field of higher education. This opens up opportunities for global institutional cooperation and mobility for university students and staff. </em><em>Since the launch of Erasmus+, Stellenbosch University has had successful mobility exchanges with more than 25 institutions, including both existing and new partners.</em> </p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
CISU contestants shine at Chinese Bridge South African finals contestants shine at Chinese Bridge South African finalsCISU<p>​​In this year's edition of the Chinese Bridge competition for university students and school learners from across South Africa, contestants from the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) again achieved outstanding results. In each of the competition categories, CISU entrants ended among the top three.<br></p><p>The Chinese Bridge competition is organised by the Chinese embassy in South Africa and hosted by three different Confucius institutes and classrooms in the country. Participants showcase their Chinese language and performance skills. In the run-up to the event, participants from Stellenbosch University and schools in the Cape Winelands district received intensive training through CISU's outreach programmes, which are facilitated by teachers in the district. </p><p>The aim of the Chinese Bridge contest is to build a bridge between nations, fostering understanding and cultural exchange. Since its inception, over 1,4 million students from more than 150 countries have participated in the competition, which attracts over 100 million audience members annually. </p><p><em><strong>Raking in the awards</strong></em></p><p>In the competition for South African university students, hosted in Cape Town on 17 May, CISU's Jessica Grace Gascoyne Clarke ended in second place (<em>pictured in blue below</em>), while Ashiquah Norodien received an encouragement award (<em>wearing red</em>). Jessica will have the chance to travel to China later this year to observe the global finals.<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/409185562_1246176132989661_6074865305127832664_n.jpg" alt="409185562_1246176132989661_6074865305127832664_n.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:593px;" /><br></p><p><br></p><p>On 7 June, primary school learners got their chance to show their proficiency in Chinese in the South African finals in Durban. CISU contestants Kay-Lee Verna Pietersen, Akeelah Nikitha Adams and Shailo-Jay Halley Fritz, all from Rietenbosch Primary School in Cloetesville, delivered impressive performances (<em>pictured below with </em><em>teachers from CISU and Rietenbosch Primary</em>). Kay-Lee and Akeelah were named runners-up, while Shailo received an award of excellence.<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Picture2.jpg" alt="Picture2.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:733px;" /><br></p><p><br></p><p>CISU's competitors in the event for secondary school learners on 16 June, this time hosted in Johannesburg, were equally successful. With her outstanding performance, Mpemnyama Piko Hlobisa ('Cai Yi') from Makupula Secondary in Kayamandi (<em>pictured in red below</em>) scooped first prize and secured her place in the global finals in China. Carmen Paige Harris from Rhenish Girls' High School was awarded third prize, while Taliah Evelyn Demirah from Worcester Gymnasium received an excellence award (<em>flanking Cai Yi on the picture below</em>).<br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Picture3.jpg" alt="Picture3.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:760px;" /><br><br></p><p><em><strong>Uplifting our youth</strong></em></p><p>These excellent achievements by Stellenbosch University students and local school learners attest to the vast potential among our youth, the unwavering support provided by CISU staff, and the hands-on language training offered by Chinese teachers.</p><p><span style="text-align:center;">C</span><span style="text-align:center;">IS</span><span style="text-align:center;">U remains committed to nurturing and uplifting talented youth by opening doors to international education and opportunities abroad. Continued educational support on offer includes school preparatory programmes in Chinese language and culture, sponsored pre-degree language courses at 256 Chinese universities for high school learners and adults, as well as full scholarships at tertiary level with either Chinese or English as the language of instruction. The financial support accompanying these programmes is significant.</span></p><p><em>Photos courtesy of </em><em>CISU teachers.</em></p><p><br></p>
SU-UIC approves release of IEB’s international May 2024 examination results approves release of IEB’s international May 2024 examination resultsSU-UIC<p><strong style="text-align:justify;">​“</strong><strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>We (SU-UIC) regard this as a very successful examination sitting in this fourth offering</em></strong><strong style="text-align:justify;">"</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>~ Prof Sarah Howie, Director of the SU-UIC</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The <a href="">Stellenbosch University (SU) Unit for International Credentialling (SU-UIC)</a> is pleased to confirm the approval of the release of the Independent Examinations Board's (IEB) International Secondary Certificate (ISC) and Further Studies examination results conducted between 8 and 28 May 2024. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This May 2024 examination sitting was the fourth IEB ISC examinations to take place. The SU-UIC has been conducting the external quality assurance of the Further Studies subjects and the IEB ISC, Africa's first international school-leaving certificate since its inception in 2022. The SU-UIC found that the examination sessions were fair, valid, and reliable as well as being free from any irregularities that could have compromised the integrity or credibility of the examinations.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SU-UIC Quality Assurance Governance Committee, chaired by Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs at SU, confirmed the approval of the release of the results of the ISC and Further Studies examinations on 2 July 2024, after extensive and rigorous quality assurance processes. The external quality assurance processes, amongst others, included the verification of IEB's internal quality assurance processes, external moderation and approval of the examination papers, interrogation of the quality and standard of the examinations, verification of the resulting and certification data and standardisation of the results.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ms Confidence Dikgole, Chief Executive Officer of IEB, during Standardisation of the results expressed that <em>“We (IEB) take every step necessary to maintain credibility and reliability in the examinations</em>". Prof Sarah Howie, Director of the SU-UIC, shared this sentiment at the meeting held to approve the release of results, stating “<em>We (SU-UIC) regard this as a very successful examination sitting in this fourth offering</em>." </p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>International Secondary Examinations (ISC)</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The ISC, Africa's first international school-leaving qualification developed by the IEB, is rigorous and equivalent to South Africa's National Senior Certificate (NSC), allowing holders to gain admission to South African universities. The ISC is recognised by Universities South Africa and UK Ecctis as comparable to Australian, UK, and Kenyan school-leaving qualifications.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The ISC is offered in eSwatini, Namibia, and Mozambique. In May 2024, 91 learners from the three countries wrote the ISC examinations at six examination centres, achieving a 92.4% pass rate from 157 subject entries. Since its launch in 2022, the ISC has grown in offerings and number of learners. The ISC started offering examinations in May 2023 in addition to the November examinations. To date 116 learners have written the mid-year examinations, reflecting the need for an Africa-centred international qualification, that provides learners with an affordable and flexible alternative. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Further Studies Subjects</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">A total of 699 learners took the IEB May 2024 Further Studies examinations, compared to 423 in 2023. Further Studies courses in Afrikaans, English, Mathematics and Physics are regarded as challenging, enrichment academic offerings. These optional examinations allow learners to enhance their academic credentials before entering tertiary education, providing an advantage for local and international admissions and students' success.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This year, 696 learners sat the examinations for the first time, while 3 retook it to improve their scores. Impressively, 50 of these were Grade 11 learners. The cohort achieved an 80.33% pass rate across six subjects, with 56 learners scoring between 90 and 99%.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The IEB Further Studies courses are available to learners pursuing the IEB ISC in eSwatini, Mozambique, and Namibia, as well as the National Senior Certificate (NSC) in South Africa from both independent and public schools. A UK ENIC (Ecctis) benchmarking exercise found the courses comparable to UK A-levels, underscoring their global competitiveness.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
International Delegation Visit from Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) Delegation Visit from Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM)SU International <p>​​On Friday, June 28th, Robert Kotzé, Senior Director of SU International, welcomed a delegation from Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) to Stellenbosch. The delegation, led by Professor Datuk Ts Dr. Massila Kamalrudin, Vice Chancellor of UTeM, met with Prof. Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University. The meeting focused on exploring collaborative projects in international education, research, and innovation. The visit concluded with the signing of a letter of intent, highlighting the commitment of both institutions to future cooperation. The UTeM delegation included 14 members.​<br></p><p>To review see more delegations, visit: <a href="/english/SUInternational/su-past-visitors-log">SU delegation log</a>. <br></p><p>​<br></p>
GSL students in service to local community students in service to local community Daniel Bugan<p>​The learners at Nondzame Primary School in Pniel now have a fully fitted playground to enjoy thanks to a generous group of students who participated in the first-semester Global Service Learning (GSL) programme at Stellenbosch University (SU). Among others, the GSL class included students from the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).<br></p><p>GSL is an experiential learning programme offered by SU's Global Engagement Centre that enables participants to develop their global citizenship through community engagement and broaden their understanding of South African history and contemporary life. It is presented in collaboration with Boschendal Estate's Education portfolio, of which Excelsior Preschool and Crèche forms a part. From 19 February to 16 May, students attended class on Mondays and Wednesdays and took part in community engagement on Tuesdays and Thursdays.</p><p>A total of 21 students from America, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France and Finland formed part of the GSL class who volunteered at Excelsior Preschool and Crèche as well as at Nondzame and Pniel primary schools. They mostly served as classroom aides and office assistants, which typically involved reading stories, co-teaching short lessons, making posters, helping learners, chatting with them, and playing sports.</p><p>Rachel Erben, an AIFS student who studies Political Science at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Minnesota, United States, was one of the students who volunteered her services. “From the first day at Nondzame Primary School, it was apparent that the school wasn't receiving all the supplies or resources they needed," says Erben. “We started with the idea of helping in some way, whether it be a hands-on project or a donation. Some of the students volunteered to purchase some supplies, and I even worked on a book drive in March."</p><p>But it was the playground idea that really took off. “When we set out with the idea of raising some money for the school, we made sure to be very careful to talk to the teachers about what their school needed, rather than just assuming," Erben explains. “The principal, Ms Mthwa, explained how a playground would be positive for the children's development, as the school did not have any structure for the learners to play on. She told me: 'Even if you could get just a slide, that would be great.' I knew then that I wanted to aim higher than a slide. That's how the ball got rolling."</p><p>She continues: “All students in the GSL class, including those from AIFS, raised funds for the playground. We collected the money through PayPal, and relatives and friends sent us donations." In the end, the students managed to raise over R28 000, which gave them enough to build a playground and donate 175 books and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, art supplies, English/isiXhosa dictionaries and a soccer goal to the school.</p><p>The playground, which was officially launched on 10 June, comprises one main jungle gym structure with swings, a platform, ramp, slide and monkey bars. There is also a separate tyre swing for the older kids.</p><p>“For me personally, the GSL class was a way to immerse myself even more into the local community and get involved beyond the University," says Erben. “I also believe that we have a responsibility to learn about the community we're living in, to go deeper than the niceties, to find out about local issues and how they're affecting people. This class gave us a hands-on glimpse into the education system in South Africa."</p><p>Ellen Block, an associate professor of Anthropology at College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, accompanied her institution's students on their visit to Stellenbosch. “I'm so proud of these students for seeing a need and mobilising to do something about it," Block says. “They didn't do this for a grade or to get any recognition. They really just felt like they wanted to do something that would be of lasting benefit to the learners. Because the GSL class had students from all over the world, it was great to see donations come in from all quarters."</p><p>According to Janet Baxter, head of Education at Boschendal, this is the first year that they have been able to extend the experiential learning programme to include Nondzame and Pniel primary schools in addition to Excelsior Preschool and Crèche. “The GSL and AIFS student cohorts truly understood the importance of working at grassroots level, and how seemingly small gestures could have a profound effect on the learners and teachers they were assisting," Baxter says. “Over the years, the relationship between Boschendal Education, GSL and AIFS has grown in impact, and we look forward to continuing the work in the community with our partners at SU."​</p><p>​<br></p>
Matie Buddy programme helps international students settle in at SU Buddy programme helps international students settle in at SUAmeera Crew <p>​<span style="text-align:justify;">Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience. However, adjusting to a foreign country with unfamiliar faces and diverse cultures also presents some challenges. That is where the Matie Buddy programme, offered by Stellenbosch University (SU) International's Centre for Global Engagement, comes in. The cross-cultural buddy programme helps international students settle into life at SU, while affording local students valuable interaction with their peers from abroad.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The Matie Buddy programme is for students who are interested in cultural exchange and making connections with students from across the world," explains Kauthar Jardine, a third-year International Studies student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, who has been a Matie Buddy since January 2023. “Through these connections, one can build lasting friendships and help new students find a sense of comfort and community in Stellenbosch," she adds. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Matie Buddy programme is one of the ways in which SU practises internationalisation at home. The aim is to help local students develop intercultural awareness and skills, value diversity, and enhance their global understanding. These outcomes are clearly being achieved, judging from Kauthar's experience to date: “Not only do I meet amazing and diverse people from all over the world, but being part of the programme has also been impactful in my personal development," she says. “Many of the international students are French-speaking, and since I take French as a foreign language, this has also given me the opportunity to practise and improve my French language skills." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Nestled between breathtaking mountains in South Africa's Western Cape province, Stellenbosch captivates many visitors with its scenic natural beauty. This is one of the reasons why Alaskan Rachel Erben, a Political Science student at the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota, United States, chose to enrol as a semester student at SU. “I chose a university in Southern Africa because I wanted a different Study Abroad experience," Rachel says. “When I saw images of SU, I immediately fell in love with its natural beauty, and it's a bonus that I get to be close to a vibrant city like Cape Town." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Rachel was paired up with Kauthar after signing up for the Matie Buddy programme in response to an email invitation from SU International. Since her arrival in February 2024, Rachel has found the programme to be extremely useful in helping her settle in at SU and integrate with the student community. “I'm so glad I signed up for the programme because it's a great resource for international students coming to SU for the first time," she says. “One of my favourite parts about it is that your Matie Buddy contacts you before you even arrive in South Africa. Having Kauthar to answer any questions I had, made me feel like I was already part of the SU community." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Not all international students sign up to be paired with a local student during their time at SU. Rachel is quick to acknowledge that her experience would have been much different had she not met Kauthar. “Having a Matie Buddy immediately makes you feel welcome and at ease, since you have someone you can turn to whenever you need information or help. Had I not signed up and met Kauthar, I would have been unaware of so many things, and I wouldn't have made so many special connections with students from South Africa and the rest of the world," Rachel says. The Buddy experience has also helped Rachel manage her expectations about life at SU. “Although I did not have any negative expectations, having a Matie Buddy certainly reassured me and helped me to have realistic expectations about the semester ahead." </p><p>SU is expecting its next cohort of international students to arrive in mid-July. Until then, SU International will use the #myvirtualmatiebuddy campaign to share the resources and services on offer to make settling in at SU easier. Stay tuned!<br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
Reaping the benefits of responsive and responsible internationalisation the benefits of responsive and responsible internationalisationProf Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs<p>​​It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through the academic year. The last five months have been filled with many opportunities, achievements and challenges that have required us to reflect on lessons learned. ​Throughout the first semester of 2024. <br></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) has continued to position itself as a leading African university with a global footprint. To this end, we have adopted responsive and responsible internationalisation as our strategic approach to expand our work across borders, whilst remaining aware of our impact and own unique needs. This type of internationalisation requires sensitivity to social, cultural, economic and environmental factors, and the ability to adapt accordingly and remain accountable. This will remain our focus for the rest of the year, building on the successes we have achieved thus far.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the past months, our commitment to responsive and responsible internationalisation has seen us forge and foster impactful partnerships with higher education partners across the globe. We have also made further progress with integrating an international, intercultural and global perspective into our institutional operations and academic offerings in an effort to make internationalisation accessible to all our students and staff.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ultimately, we want to ensure that all members of the SU community benefit from an immersive internationalisation experience and acquire global competencies. This commitment also extends to our partners with whom we collaborate, ensuring that their students and staff who join us here in Stellenbosch also reap the benefits of augmented educational exchanges.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The stories covered in this newsletter will give you a sense of the work we do in this regard – expanding our footprint globally, positioning our university as a first choice for students across the continent and globe, and offering top-notch support and opportunities to our international students and staff.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">As we tackle the second semester, we will continue to cultivate partnerships with diverse institutions, while also capitalising on our involvement in multilateral higher education networks and consortia. We look forward to continue our journey together as partners and collaborators in the global higher education space. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Prof Hester Klopper</strong></p><p>Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Proud leader of ACEWATER-III 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>
SU part of deliberations at SASUF Research and Innovation Week 2024 part of deliberations at SASUF Research and Innovation Week 2024SU International <p>​<span style="text-align:justify;">​Twelve Stellenbosch University (SU) staff members participated in the sixth South Africa Sweden University Forum (SASUF) Research and Innovation Week, hosted in mid-May 2024 in Sweden.</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The event, which fosters collaboration between South African and Swedish academic institutions, was co-hosted by Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Malmö University – all situated in Sweden's Skåne region. More than 450 academics and university managers from 40 universities in Sweden and South Africa participated.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">SU's delegation was led by Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers and included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs, Prof Hester Klopper, along with distinguished researchers from various disciplines.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Sustainable development takes centre stage </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Specialised workshops and discussions on how to enhance collaborative research and innovation set the stage for the main event, the Sustainability Forum, which focused on sustainable development challenges and solutions. Here, SU researchers presented groundbreaking work in areas such as environmental science, renewable energy, health sciences, and social innovation. Their presentations highlighted SU's commitment to addressing global sustainability challenges through interdisciplinary research and international partnerships.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>The way forward for the network</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">With the SASUF network set to embark on its next phase from 2025 to 2030, the continuation of its work was a major point of discussion between the vice-chancellors of the participating institutions. It was agreed that new approaches would have be implemented to secure funding for the next phase. The AU-EU relationship will be drawn upon, which would potentially require inclusion of more countries in Africa and Europe, although this remains undecided. Funding from South Africa's National Research Foundation will require consideration of the country's <a href="">2022-2032 Science, Technology and Innovation Decadal Plan</a>, while STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) will also remain involved as a potential funding source.  </p><p>All participants emphasised that participation in SASUF not only strengthened research capabilities at their respective institutions, but also enhanced their ability to contribute to sustainable development globally. The exchange of ideas and expertise between South African and Swedish institutions remains invaluable.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
New unit creates “innately different” global learning opportunities. unit creates “innately different” global learning opportunities. Daniel Bugan<p>​​Stellenbosch University (SU) International's newly established Global Learning Unit has hit the ground running, giving direction to a number of global learning education programmes and initiatives that aim to advance SU's internationalisation agenda.<br></p><p>The Unit, which was launched in March 2024, falls under the Centre for Global Engagement's global education arm. Senior programme manager Sarah Richmond says the Global Learning Unit and its programmes are well aligned with the University's position on internationalisation and what it means to be an institution rooted in Africa, but with a global reach. “Many of the Unit's programmes are well established offerings that look at redefining what global learning means, both for international students coming to Africa, and for Stellenbosch students, who have an array of global experiences to choose from while completing their degrees," Richmond says.</p><p><strong>Won't get this anywhere else</strong></p><p>She adds: “Our Global Learning Unit looks at how we can create impactful and authentic global learning experiences for all students that pass through SU. We want to ensure that the experiences available to all students, both inside and outside the classroom, result in learning outcomes that are innately different from what they will get anywhere else."</p><p>In addition, the learning outcomes of the Unit's programmes are linked to the UNESCO chair in intercultural competence, housed in SU International's Africa Centre for Scholarship. The chair promotes an integrated system of research, teaching and training to advance intercultural competence. “The chair was established at SU to study and shape both existing and future narratives around what it means to be interculturally competent from an African perspective," Richmond explains. “A lot of what it means to be interculturally competent and responsible in internationalisation is currently defined by the global north, so the chair is intended to fill that gap, also in our design of global learning initatives."</p><p><strong>Ensuring that students integrate, participate and thrive</strong></p><p>The Global Learning Unit's programmes cover four main themes, namely student integration, student life and success, academic opportunities, and internationalisation at home. </p><p>Student integration involves both the integration of international students, whether semester or full-degree students, at SU, and the integration of local students with the international cohort. “Our role is to facilitate community-centred integration in a genuine way, such as enabling students to have a braai together and gather for events such as the Rugby World Cup, for example," Richmond says. “We keep our ear to the ground to identify areas where students feel excluded so that we can help them create a space for authentic integration."</p><p>Under the theme of student life and success, in turn, the Unit takes care of students' physical and mental health needs and also facilitates the International Students Society, which hosts integrative cultural events.</p><p><strong>Tailored academic opportunities</strong></p><p><strong> </strong>Students from abroad are offered various tailored academic opportunities in the mainstream and co-curricular space to equip them with a basic knowledge of South African history, politics, pop culture and the HIV/Aids pandemic. Special language courses presented by the SU Language Centre also enable international students to connect with the country and its people from a linguistic point of view. In addition, students are offered the opportunity to engage in volunteer programmes that follow a global citizenship-based approach to responsible engagement with vulnerable communities. </p><p><strong>Internationalisation at home</strong></p><p>Finally, the Unit's efforts in the field of internationalisation at home are aimed at offering an international experience to the many local students who are not able to study abroad. As Richmond explains: “The<strong> </strong>reality is that most local students might not be able to study abroad. It is expensive, even though SU International tries to support students through scholarships and travel bursaries. Many degrees' academic structure also does not allow for students to spend a semester abroad." </p><p>To overcome this, initiatives such as the Matie Buddy programme allow local students to be paired up with international students. Amani, the newly reformed African Student Board, also looks at integration, leadership and cultural immersion. “Moreover, various COIL (collaborative online integrated learning) initiatives with our partners make it possible for students who cannot travel to interact with international students and discover different perspectives," Richmond says. “Some of these are run by SU professors as part of the syllabus, while others are run in conjunction with the Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute and the Co-curricular Office."</p><p>Additionally, SU's membership of various international networks offers multiple online international opportunities. These include the Global Citizenship course hosted along with the INU network, and the Certificate in Internationalisation, for which SU is a tutor as a member of the EUTOPIA network.</p><p><strong>Fluid and innovative</strong><br></p><p><strong> </strong>“The purpose of the Global Learning Unit is to be fluid and innovative as we improve and revamp our flagship global learning programmes, and co-create new initatives with our students and academics," Richmond concludes. “We aim to expand all avenues of global connection to create the most impactful and transformative experience we can."</p><p> </p><p><br></p>
Forging ties across Africa 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>
SDG/2063 Impact Hub collaborates in search of sustainable solutions Impact Hub collaborates in search of sustainable solutionsSU International <p>​The SDG/2063 Impact Hub, located in Stellenbosch University (SU) International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa, champions collaboration among African researchers to unlock the continent's vast potential for a sustainable future.</p><p><strong>AC21 Legacy Symposium</strong></p><p>This was plain to see at the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10529" style="text-decoration:underline;">AC21 Legacy Symposium</a>, which the Hub recently co-hosted in Stellenbosch to mark the official conclusion of the work of the AC21 university network. The dynamic event brought together researchers, policymakers and students from across Africa and Europe.</p><p>The symposium delved into critical issues of particular relevance to Africa, with a focus on health and wellbeing, affordable and clean energy, as well as industry, innovation and infrastructure (sustainable development goals (SDGs) 3, 7 and 9 respectively). Discussions explored topics such as climate change's impact on primary healthcare systems, and natural dyes as a sustainable alternative for the textile industry. All sessions highlighted the urgent need for African-led research and innovation to address the continent's specific challenges and achieve a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future.</p><p><strong>Future17 </strong></p><p>Yet the AC21 Legacy Symposium is just one example of the SDG/2063 Impact Hub's dedication to fostering collaboration for a more sustainable future. The Hub's range of sustainability literacy programmes also include the F17 SDG Challenge short course. Launched at SU in March 2022, F17 offers students a unique opportunity to take part in a global sustainability education programme across disciplines and cultures. Using the SDGs as a framework, participants work collaboratively with partners and mentors assigned by the different participating institutions to search for solutions to real-world challenges. </p><p>The course is presented by the University of Exeter (United Kingdom), QS World University Rankings and a consortium of universities. Other partner institutions apart from SU include the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of São Paulo (Brazil), Auckland University (New Zealand), the American University in Cairo (Egypt), LUISS University in Rome (Italy), Arizona State University (United States) and the American University in Sharjah (United Arab Emirates). </p><p>Currently in its fifth student intake, F17 continues to tackle practical issues in an innovative manner through sustainability principles, as illustrated by the projects below. </p><p><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Sustainable dyes: Brewing up a better future for fashion</span></p><p>The fashion industry has a dirty secret: Synthetic dyes used in clothing production pollute water sources and pose health risks. A project carried out by the 2023 class of the F17 SDG Challenge brewed up a solution – using leftover tea leaves as a natural and sustainable dye alternative.</p><p>In an innovative project in collaboration with T-Hues, a Sri Lankan-based sustainable fashion brand, two SU students in collaboration with peers from Exeter, Sharjah, Cairo and Hong Kong found that black tea waste, which is traditionally discarded, could be reimagined as a valuable dye that is eco-friendly, safe, healthy and aesthetically pleasing. The aim is to replace up to 20% of synthetic dyes with natural dyes derived from black tea waste.</p><p>This certainly makes sustainable fashion everyone's cup of tea!</p><p><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Practical environmental education toolkits in Cameroon</span><span style="text-decoration:underline;">  </span></p><p>In another F17 group, students worked with the non-profit The Greens to solve challenges associated with education, sustainable cities and communities as well as climate action in Cameroon. The group designed an 81-page service-learning environmental education toolkit. Comprising 12 lessons, the toolkit is designed to be creative, cooperative and hands-on, providing learners with practical knowledge to tackle environmental issues. </p><p>“As an Earth Sciences student, I never imagined myself putting together learning materials for students in Cameroon," one participant said during the group presentation. “It was extremely rewarding and fulfilling being a part of a programme that allows us to make a visible impact towards sustainability, and it was nice to be of service to a country on our continent." </p><p>As these and the many other F17 projects show, sustainability is not confined to a single field of study. From fashion and education to technology and taxation, every discipline has the potential to contribute to a more sustainable future. </p><p>We are excited to welcome another passionate cohort of students for the 2024 edition of the F17 programme, scheduled for September to December.<span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">Apply now</a> and leverage your unique skills and knowledge for positive change.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Stellenbosch University and the University of Groningen strengthen their strategic partnership University and the University of Groningen strengthen their strategic partnershipCompiled in collaboration with Prof Vasti Roodt, Alison April, Anita Veldtmaat and Sarah Van der Westhuize<p>​​​From 7 to 12 April 2024, a delegation from Stellenbosch University (SU) visited the<span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span><a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;">University of Groningen (UG)</a><span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span>to strengthen the two institutions' strategic and comprehensive partnership. The SU delegation, comprising the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, three deputy vice-chancellors, deans and senior faculty, participated in a series of plenary sessions, individual and group meetings, and visits to UG's various cutting-edge research facilities.<br></p><p>The week featured intense discussions on academic leadership in turbulent times as well as responsible internationalisation, framing the next phase of collaboration between the two universities. A major success of the SU-UG partnership, the high number of joint PhD students, was celebrated with presentations by current students and reflections by UG supervisors on their experiences. </p><p>One of the highlights of the week was a dinner hosted at UG's Energy Academy, which aims to foster transdisciplinary collaboration through public-private-academic partnerships. Discussions at the dinner centred on the three themes of energy transitions, digital transformation, and biomedical solutions, being key areas of cooperation between SU and UG.</p><p>The visit further focused on collaboration between the two institutions' transdisciplinary schools, developing research and science capacities, educational innovation and leadership, co-appointments of academic staff, fundraising, information governance, and institutional planning and policy alignment.</p><p>Apart from the strong bilateral collaboration between SU and UG, the two institutions also work together through multilateral networks, notably the recently established Africa-Europe Clusters of Research Excellence (CoRE) – an initiative of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities. Cooperation in the CoRE on Renewable Energy was a particular focus throughout the week's proceedings.</p><p>The visit also served the important purpose of developing concrete plans for the future. These include specific joint funding applications, scaling up the joint PhD programme, establishing a joint SU-UG Graduate School and project office, and ambitious 'moonshot' projects to address global challenges through public-private-academic partnerships.</p><p>Following the visit, SU and UG issued a <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10576" style="text-decoration:underline;">joint statement​</a> that summarises the outcomes and future directions of their collaboration. </p><p>Next steps include a series of follow-up engagements over the coming month to set clear targets and finalise plans. Additionally, upcoming activities through the SU-UG partnership include:</p><ul><li>a follow-up <a href="">summer school on inclusive teaching and learning in diverse classrooms</a>, hosted at UG; </li><li>a <a href="">summer school on polarisation</a>, which forms part of a pilot project to eventually develop the summer school into a minor at both SU and UG; and</li><li>participation in the Strategic Partnership Forum hosted by UG in May 2024.</li></ul><p><br><span class="ui-provider a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z ab ac ae af ag ah ai aj ak" dir="ltr" style="text-decoration:underline;">SU <a aria-label="Link Partner Institutions (" href="/english/SUInternational/partnerships-and-networks/partner-institutions-(2)" rel="noreferrer noopener" target="_blank" class="fui-Link ___1rxvrpe f2hkw1w f3rmtva f1ewtqcl fyind8e f1k6fduh f1w7gpdv fk6fouc fjoy568 figsok6 f1hu3pq6 f11qmguv f19f4twv f1tyq0we f1g0x7ka fhxju0i f1qch9an f1cnd47f fqv5qza f1vmzxwi f1o700av f13mvf36 f1cmlufx f9n3di6 f1ids18y f1tx3yz7 f1deo86v f1eh06m1 f1iescvh fhgqx19 f1olyrje f1p93eir f1nev41a f1h8hb77 f1lqvz6u f10aw75t fsle3fq f17ae5zn" title="" style="text-decoration:underline;">Partner Institutions (</a></span><br></p><p>​T<span class="ui-provider a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z ab ac ae af ag ah ai aj ak" dir="ltr">he article have been compiled in collaboration with Prof Vasti Roodt, Alison April and Anita Veldtmaat.</span>​<br></p>
AC21 Legacy Symposium paving the way for future learning collaborations on sustainable development goals Legacy Symposium paving the way for future learning collaborations on sustainable development goalsPetro Mostert<p>​​​AC21 Legacy Symposium paving the way for future learning collaborations on sustainable development goals.​<br></p><p></p><p>At its inception, the Academic Consortium21 (<a href="">AC21</a>) was established with the objective of unifying universities and facilitating meaningful dialogue about their impact on society. This year, the AC21 will conclude at the end of March. However, its legacy will continue, especially after the valuable seeds planted at the recent Legacy AC21 Symposium jointly hosted by Stellenbosch University and the Universities of Strasbourg in France and Freiburg in Germany from 10-12 March 2024. </p><p>Exploring international education and research collaborations on the United Nation's Sustainability Development Goals (SDG) 3 Good Health and Well-Being, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, and 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, delegates learned from leaders in the field in discussions on topics ranging from e-waste reusing solutions in the Congolese market, using bio-wastes of the cassava plant for production of high-performance bio-concrete, using jackfruit for biogas, to riverine hydrokinetic turbines, sustainable aquafarming, understanding energy poverty and developing ceramic water filters for people with no access to clean drinking water.</p><p>Since the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, people around the globe have formed partnerships and collaborations to collectively tackle some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today.</p><p>In her welcome address, Prof Hester Klopper (Deputy-Vice Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs) said that Stellenbosch University's membership in AC21 has provided an invaluable platform for collaboration and exchange. "Through this partnership, we have fostered meaningful engagement with universities across the Asia-Pacific region, nurturing bilateral relationships with esteemed institutions like Freiburg and Strasbourg, as well as NC State Raleigh in the USA, and Adelaide University in Australia."</p><p>"We are also delighted to witness high interest from universities within our African networks, fostering a legacy of collaboration across the continent. Institutions such as Makerere University (Uganda), Luanda University (Angola), University of Lagos (Nigeria), Universities of Cape Coast and Ghana (Ghana), Maasai Mara University (Kenia), and the University of Buea in Cameroon represent the wealth of academic excellence within Africa."</p><p>Attendees remarked on the symposium's attention-grabbing format: a 20-minute keynote address introducing each track, followed by 10-minute impactful presentations on various topics.<br></p><p>After an introduction to Strasbourg University and its impact in its region by Prof Tsamadou-Jacoberger (Vice-President for International Relations), Prof Bertrand Rose, representing the University's Industrial Engineering Department at its Faculty of Physics and Engineering, opened the symposium's first track on SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), taking the audience back to Henry Ford's production line in explaining the journey from lean to green, and then from green to safe.</p><p>The next track was introduced by Prof Melanie Arndt (incoming DVC from the University of Freiburg, following Prof Anke Weidlich, the Chair for Control and Integration of Grids from the Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATEC), opened the second track of the symposium with her take on Pathways to Net Zero Energy Systems under the banner of SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean energy).</p><p>Stellenbosch University covered the final track of the symposium with Prof Bob Mash, the Executive and Divisional Head of the Department of Family Emergency Medicine, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science on Tygerberg covering the final track, SDG3, with discussions around good Health and wellbeing. His talk led a panel discussion on Health, climate change, and primary health care.</p><p>It was refreshing to see how universities on the African continent embrace innovation around sustainable development goals and are in touch with the surrounding communities. Together, they find sustainable solutions for the challenges they face daily: hunger, poverty, energy, clean water, and more.</p><p>Dr. Kolawole Adisa Olonade, from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, painted the future of Africa along the theme of the rapid pace of urbanization in Africa – highlighting the constant need for housing, buildings, and infrastructure. Although urbanization is a worldwide phenomenon, they didn't look for a solution further than their front porch. In their search for potential biomaterials in their environment, they used the waste of their staple food — Cassava — to develop ash that could replace cement while enabling a possible 15 percent carbon emission saving.</p><p>They constructed a solid concrete structure from Cassava ash cement on their campus to prove their theory. But it didn't end there: They went back to the communities where primarily women harvest Cassava and were taught how to produce the ash, which they can now sell for additional income to the community. They closed the circle.</p><p>Dr Olonade's presentation was one of many that showcased the culture of innovation and collaboration that exists between universities and their communities. They use what they have readily available to innovate and give back to the community to prosper.</p><p>Delegates left the conference with valuable information and motivated to find solutions to help this world reach the 2050 net zero future goal.</p><p>The Symposium was hosted by Robert Kotze and his team at SU International and the programme coordinated by Corina du Toit at the <a href="">SDG/2063 Impact Hub</a> at the Centre for Collaboration in Africa (at SU International). Keep an eye on SU International website and social media for more information on this legacy event. The event was a runner-up to the release of the latest <a href="">Sustainable Development Annual Report 2022/2023</a> produced by the Hub that was released in the same week.<br></p><p><br></p><p> ​</p><p><br></p>
SIAN 2024 delegates dissect dos and don’ts of internationalisation in higher education. 2024 delegates dissect dos and don’ts of internationalisation in higher education.Daniel Bugan<p>​​​The intricacies of internationalisation in higher education came under the spotlight at the Stellenbosch International Academic Networks (SIAN) 2024 meeting hosted by Stellenbosch University (SU) International from 13 to 15 March.<br></p><p>SIAN is an annual gathering of SU's international partner universities. This year, more than 100 delegates from 70 university partners across 27 countries attended.<br></p><p>“Since its inception in 2003, SIAN has matured into a significant network dedicated to bringing together our partners to share experiences, build partnership capital and foster personal connections," said Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, in his welcoming address. “I wholeheartedly support all efforts to explore potential for collaboration because that is the only way we will be able to address the complex issues that society faces today." And with Africa's population expected to almost double by 2050, there is enormous opportunity for growth and collaboration in higher education on the continent, he added.<br></p><p><strong>Four cornerstones for successful African collaboration</strong></p><p>While it has a global reach, SU remains firmly rooted in Africa. This saw the first session of the meeting explore trends in international higher education on the continent, featuring speakers from both SU and fellow African institutions.</p><p>In his talk, Dr Nico Elema, director of SU International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa, identified four cornerstones of successful collaboration between African partners. “The first is context. Africa is not one country; the continent is massive. Support local and regional initiatives within larger African programmes to drive the African agenda," Dr Elema said. “The second is equitable partnerships that drive local research and capacity development. In the African context, an equitable partnership means 100/100. Only then can we find common ground to move forward."</p><p>He continued: “The third cornerstone is institutional commitment to create an enabling environment for African science academies, universities and research institutions to thrive. Here, we need to answer some tough questions: How mature are our national science systems? How autonomous are our higher education institutions really? Are we solely relying on external funding from the Global North? The fourth and final cornerstone is personal commitment. Remain Afro-optimists and engage with other colleagues on the continent. Support Africa's established and emerging researchers, mobility exchanges, think tanks and capacity development programmes."​</p><p><br></p><p><strong>New African-based school-leaving qualifications unlock higher education opportunities </strong></p><p>SIAN delegates also heard from SU's Unit for International Credentialing (SU-UIC), whose work includes quality-assuring external school-leaving qualifications administered in and for Africa. </p><p>“The cross-border movement of people has become more diverse and complex and is increasingly affecting education opportunities and systems," said Prof Sarah Howie, director of the ​Africa Centre for Scholarship. “From 1960 to 2015, international migrants increased from 93 million to 241 million. Immigration rates in countries as diverse as Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Malaysia and South Africa are two to three times above the global average." This is why the SU-UIC is working with both the South African Independent Examinations Board (IEB) and the Examinations Council of Lesotho to ensure homegrown yet high-quality school-leaving qualifications that offer access to higher education at top institutions on the continent and further afield.</p><p>With the IEB, the Unit quality-assures the International Secondary Certificate (ISC), which is comparable to the United Kingdom's AS-levels and the Australian Senior Secondary Certificate. Also benchmarked nationally by Universities South Africa (USAf), the ISC has been found to be on a par with South Africa's National Senior Certificate, and students who pass it with merit could apply to institutions worldwide. The ISC is currently offered in Namibia, Mozambique and Eswatini.</p><p>Consultations with the Examinations Council of Lesotho, in turn, are aimed at quality-assuring the new Lesotho Advanced Secondary Certificate. Preparations for the implementation of the qualification are under way, including the training of quality assurance officers and the review of syllabi, sample papers and processes.</p><p>“The SU-UIC's focus is more on quality enhancement than mere conformity to standards," said Unit coordinator Mia Andersen. “We are moving beyond a compliance culture as we collectively try to navigate this complex and dynamic world of internationalised education."</p><p><strong>Internationalisation at African partners</strong></p><p>Delegates from other African institutions also shared their internationalisation strategies. According to Meryem El Alaoui from Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR) in Morocco, their internationalisation strategy aligns with the goals of the Kingdom of Morocco, the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, as well as King Mohamed VI's plan to strengthen relations with other African countries. “To this end, our integrated strategy includes encouraging students and staff to participate in mobility programmes. We have also developed joint degrees with our partners, as well as English-focused courses. In addition, we try to recruit international students – 10% of them are currently from sub-Saharan Africa – and we integrate internationalisation at home through different activities."</p><p>Elaborating on the University of Namibia's internationalisation strategy, Dr Romanus Shivoro said: “Our strategy rests on the pillars of global partnerships and networks, a diverse international student and staff body, international research activities, and being a responsive industry partner. We have developed key partnerships with countries from Africa, Asia, Europe, as well as the Americas. Internationalisation is key to us, and we hope to explore further partnership agreements through this SIAN event."</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Reflecting on responsible internationalisation</strong></p><p>In a session devoted to responsible internationalisation, Robert Kotzé, senior director of SU International, stressed the importance of knowing, understanding and working with your institution's context. “At SU, for instance, we understand that our institution is rooted in Africa, with a global reach. That is the context that determines how we think about internationalisation, and how we engage with it," he said.</p><p>“If your institution is pursuing responsible internationalisation, your internationalisation policy, strategy and understanding should also speak to the values that your institution aspires to," he added. Again referring to SU as an example, he said internationalisation at SU was informed by a purposeful commitment as guided by the University's Vision 2040 and Strategic Framework 2019-2024. “We aim for comprehensive internationalisation, integrating an international, intercultural and global dimension into all aspects of the University, based on SU's values of excellence, compassion, accountability, respect and equity. We also aim to advance quality research and innovation, learning and teaching in service of society. In this way, we hope to be an internationally recognised research-intensive institution rooted in Africa, with a global reach."</p><p>Responsible internationalisation also requires institutions not to lose sight of local and national imperatives, Kotzé concluded. “In South Africa and at SU, we have a responsibility to address inequality and improve our employment equity profile. Therefore, our recruitment of international students and staff must not hamper our employment equity efforts. We also have more work to do to offer socioeconomically disadvantaged students opportunities to participate in mobility. Currently, fewer than 5% of students participating in outgoing mobility are from disadvantaged backgrounds."​</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Reimagining being an internationalisation practitioner – opportunities for support staff</strong></p><p>Internationalisation goes far beyond academic exchanges, however. Every university stakeholder, including those in the professional administrative support services (PASS) environment, can and should be an internationalisation practitioner. To explore this further, three partner universities discussed how they joined forces to facilitate mobility opportunities for their PASS staff.</p><p>According to Lidia du Plessis, programme manager for Staff Internationalisation at SU International, when SU in 2018 introduced its Vision 2040 and Strategic Framework 2019-2024, mobility programmes were still only meant for academic staff. “As SU International, we had to reimagine staff mobility, and that is when I approached one of our partners, Lund University in Sweden, and we initiated the blended international programme for PASS staff," she explained. “The programme, which ran over six months, was a combination of online sessions and in-person mobility weeks at both Lund and SU." Through this unique programme, participants were able to develop intercultural skills, foster inclusion, discuss internationalisation in diverse university fields, share best-practice examples, and engage in job shadowing.</p><p> </p><p>The opportunity then arose for a trilateral staff development programme when Northwestern University in the United States joined forces with partners Hamburg and Stellenbosch universities. Running since 2022, the programme ends this year. Each university is afforded an opportunity to serve as host and choose a theme that plays to their strengths. Each partner selects five participants. First up as host, SU presented the 2022 event under the theme “Inclusive internationalisation competences". In 2023, Northwestern chose the theme “Alumni engagement and development". The Hamburg-hosted event this year will conclude the programme. Positive spinoffs from the programme include the development of an online intercultural competency programme hosted by Northwestern, new connections between and within partner institutions, the ploughing back of new knowledge at home institutions, and staff's personal development and growth.</p><p>Northwestern's Kim Rapp, assistant vice-president of International Relations, confirmed that the trilateral staff development programme had strengthened institutional partnerships with SU and Hamburg. “One of the things I really like is that Northwestern is now well known among the staff at Hamburg and Stellenbosch, which raises our visibility. New relationships also developed between staff outside of our respective international offices." Internally, the programme also fostered collaboration between Northwestern's own units, with staff learning about one another's departments and roles, she added.</p><p>Hamburg University's objective with participating in the programme was to facilitate the internationalisation of staff at all levels, develop intercultural competencies, strengthen strategic partnerships, and increase visibility of partnerships and their work within the university. So said Eva Leptien, manager of Partnerships in Hamburg University's Department of International Affairs. “Staff exchange programmes are one of the building blocks of our internationalisation strategy," she added. Leptien also used the SIAN meeting as a platform to announce the theme for the 2024 trilateral staff development event, namely “Integrating sustainability across higher education institutions". ​</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Being intentional about partnerships</strong></p><p>The final session focused on universities' partnership portfolios, and best practices in managing those. Speakers from Leipzig University, the University of Groningen and SU delved deeper into the topic.</p><p>Marie Plinke of Leipzig University said that her institution's process to structure their partnership portfolio included the “adaptation of existing university agreements into appropriate formats, intensification of active existing university partnerships, and reduction of the administrative burden". She made the key point that the identification of active international partners could help guide and inform strategic decision-making by university management.</p><p>SU International's Sarah van der Westhuizen, director of the Centre for Global Engagement, shared the lessons that SU had learned from being an active partner in a strategic partnership. “Through being an active partner, a specific working process was identified that could be applied to other strategic or comprehensive partnerships," she said. She added that an alignment of funding and collaborative instruments at both partners was essential for a successful partnership, as were joint ownership, shared evaluation measures, and discussions about equity.</p><p>“In an increasingly complex world, partnerships, including strategic partnerships, are essential for maintaining and enhancing the quality of education and research, and to ensure a joint approach towards solving small and grand societal challenges," said Anita Veldtmaat of the University of Groningen. She also emphasised the need for internal seed funding as a key requirement for partnership success.</p><p>In addition to the formal sessions, the SIAN meeting also included workshops on building institutional capacity for international higher education and responsible internationalisation in Africa. At a Study Abroad fair, SU students were able to connect with potential foreign study destinations. A visit to SU's Ukwanda Rural Clinical School in Worcester and an excursion to the V&A Waterfront were the perfect way to finish the programme.</p><p>​Images from the <a href="">SIAN 2024.​</a><br></p><p><br></p>
ADA Summer School empowers tomorrow’s scholars Summer School empowers tomorrow’s scholarsCorporate Communications and Marketing<p>​​February was a prolific month for the African Doctoral Academy (ADA) at Stellenbosch University (SU). Over the course of three weeks, the ADA welcomed PhD students and academics from 15 African countries who participated in the Academy's Hybrid Summer School. On offer this year was 16 different courses of which five were new – including one on artificial intelligence and scientific research. <br></p><p>The courses were presented by a group of highly skilled local and international academic experts from countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and America. Several successful ADA scholarship holders from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Mauritius and South Africa attended the Summer School, as well as delegates from the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Energy.</p><p>The ADA Summer School strives to provide comprehensive training in impactful research design and methodology, along with opportunities for academic readiness and career advancement. The courses are designed for doctoral students and prospective PhD candidates, their supervisors and researchers.</p><p>Irene Mutuzo, a PhD student in organisational psychology from Makerere University in Uganda, was full of praise for this year's doctoral school. “I've recently switched over from the corporate world to academia and at the start of my PhD journey, I felt a bit overwhelmed. The past two weeks have been amazing. I've learnt so much and I've acquired skills that I believe will enable me to work smarter and faster. I've also met incredibly intelligent and inspiring mentors." </p><p>His experience at the doctoral summer school was very enlightening, said Bathromeu Mavusa, a PhD student in political science at SU. “I was initially very sceptical about artificial intelligence, but Dr Sonja Strydom completely changed my mind in her lecture. I learned that AI can be a valuable tool in academia, offering support and insights rather than replacing human intelligence. It's crucial to strike a balance between human intellect and AI assistance. The discussions on power relations and ethical considerations surrounding AI were eye-opening, especially regarding its implications for the Global South." Additionally, he found the Mixed Methods research course particularly beneficial as it expanded his understanding of research methodologies, Mavusa said. </p><p>The opportunity to connect fellow delegates from various African countries and beyond with international and local presenters during the ADA Summer School has been invaluable, fostering a sense of academic fellowship and collaboration, said Dr Natalie Kowalik, ADA Programme Manager at the Africa Centre for Scholarship at SU. </p><p>“These experiences will hopefully not only propel individual academic trajectories but also contribute to the collective advancement of scholarship across Africa and beyond," Kowalik noted. “The ADA's doctoral schools have sparked considerable interest, yet delegates often face financial challenges. In response, the ADA this year offered its first full 'hyflex' course (a format that allows students to choose between attending classes in person, remotely, or through a combination of both), showcasing the ADA's commitment to offering impactful doctoral training, catering to delegates unable to travel. The Mixed Methods course received immense positive feedback from delegates – in-person as well as those joining online."</p><p>On 5 February the ADA and the Postgraduate Forum for Southern Africa (PGFSA) hosted a joint event which culminated in the official relaunch of the PGFSA. The event took place at the Wallenberg Conference Centre at STIAS, under the theme “International Trends in Postgraduate Education and Fostering Research Collaboration Across Africa and Beyond". </p><p>Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs at SU, offered a warm welcome to local and international guests. The guest speaker at the launch event was Prof Gina Wisker from the University of Bath in the UK who gave an insightful presentation about trends in doctoral studies internationally.</p><p>A panel discussion facilitated by Dr Henriette van den Berg of the PGFSA focused on international trends in postgraduate education and ways of fostering research collaboration across Africa and beyond. </p><p>The ADA's Hybrid Summer School was concluded on a high note when Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies at SU, gave an inspiring guest lecture on the strategic imperatives of fostering research collaboration. Moyo challenged the ADA summer school participants to use their newly acquired insights and networks to find innovative solutions for challenges such as poverty, inequality, unemployment and corruption.</p><p><strong>PHOTO: Ignus Dreyer</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
Beyond Boundaries: Stellenbosch University's Winter Camp in China Boundaries: Stellenbosch University's Winter Camp in China CISU<p>​The 2023 Winter Camp to China, jointly organised by the Confucius Institute at Stellenbosch University (CISU) and Xiamen University, embarked on a transformative fourteen-day expedition in December. There were 16 students and one teacher who participated in the camp.<br></p><p>The Winter Camp were hosted by the China Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC), which plays a key role in promoting the development of international Chinese language education and strengthen Chinese-foreign humanistic exchanges. As such, the overall aim of the visit was to meet the needs of overseas youths to learn Chinese language and culture, and to stimulate their enthusiasm for learning.</p><p>Upon their arrival, the group was welcomed by Xiamen University's  vice dean of Chinese International Education, Gen Hu​</p><p>​<strong>Immersed in both education and culture</strong></p><p>With the theme of "Minnan Heritage", this winter camp covered Chinese language learning, cultural lectures, research experience and other contents, and the campers experienced the charm of Minnan culture from a close distance.</p><p> They visited Beijing and the cities of Xiamen and Quanzhou in Fujian Province for cultural exchanges and study tours, like Chinese food culture, instrument(Guqin), historic building Kulangsu Islet and so on. Visits to iconic landmarks such as the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall in the snow complemented the experience.​</p><p><strong>Valuable takeaways</strong></p><p>The winter camp in China served as a transformative journey for participants, reshaping perceptions, and deepening cultural appreciation. Here's a synthesis of insights from the diverse group:</p><p>Johnne-Leigh was captivated by iconic landmarks like the forbidden & summer palaces and the Great Wall. His misconceptions about the Chinese were dispelled, highlighting the nation's genuine warmth. Shieka's admiration for the Great Wall and the efficiency of Chinese transport systems underscored the nation's blend of ancient wonders with modernity. Maxine De Lange's enchantment with China's architecture was a common sentiment, with many participants echoing her shift in media perception after experiencing the country firsthand.</p><p>Nina's deep dive into Chinese instruments and culture resonated with others' experiences of confirming positive pre-visit views. Hylton and Chelsea both acknowledged the stark contrast between media portrayals and the vibrant realities they encountered, emphasizing the camp's role in fostering global understanding. Jessica Clarke and Maysoon found immense value in the camp's diverse experiences, with Jessica particularly highlighting China's cleanliness and safety. Kevin Syfert and Tamzin recognized the nuances often overlooked by media, such as China's eco-initiatives and rapid development. Lastly, Thomas's emphasis on Chinese hospitality and the genuine cultural immersion the camp provided was a sentiment echoed by many.</p><p> Overall, the camp emerged as a pivotal experience, with participants unanimously advocating for its transformative impact and considering future engagements with China.​</p><p><br></p>
Speech therapist overcomes mental health challenges after years of struggling therapist overcomes mental health challenges after years of strugglingCorporate Communications and Marketing (Hannelie Booyens)<p>​​​​​When Firdous Sulaiman walked across the stage to get her degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Therapy on Tuesday (12 December), it was a triumphant conclusion to years of struggling. Having had to repeat three years of her studies at Stellenbosch University (SU), a car accident in 2020 became a catalyst for major change in her life. While receiving therapy for post-traumatic stress after the accident, Sulaiman was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia. <br></p><p>The subsequent interventions and support Sulaiman received radically changed her life. From feeling despondent and doubting that she was ever going to graduate, she ended her final year as one of the top students in the class of 2023. This remarkable turnaround and Sulaiman's tenacity to keep going after failing three academic years, earned her a Rector's Award for Excellence in Academic Resilience in October this year. </p><p>Receiving the award meant the world to her because it recognised the perseverance and drive it took to achieve success, Sulaiman says. She always yearned to receive a medal or certificate, she adds. “It's with great happiness that I'm now able to say that when it mattered most, at the end of my undergraduate journey, I received recognition that trumps all the previous awards I wished I'd received. My uncle told me something quite profound as he congratulated me on the Rector's Award. He said anyone can be recognised for achieving top marks and distinctions, but it takes a special person to be awarded something specifically for their character."</p><p><strong>Getting help</strong></p><p>Sulaiman recalls that at the end of matric a parting message pained her: “You have so much potential". “I never had it easy at school. I always had to work hard beyond my capabilities and never saw the results I expected. All I ever heard was that I had to pull up my socks because I could perform so much better. When you have mental health issues, it looks like you're lazy, as though you're not taking studying seriously. I would do my best and give 110%, but it was never good enough. Because I didn't show the typical signs of being dyslexic – I've always been a good reader – teachers couldn't understand why I didn't perform better." </p><p>Only after the dyslexia diagnosis did Sulaiman realise that being a fluent reader does not mean you fully comprehend what you're reading. </p><p>The therapist Sulaiman saw after the accident, Karin Huyssen, advised her to get help from SU's support structures for students with disabilities. “She referred me to the Disability Unit, and she recommended that I get special assistance such as extra writing time during tests and exams." Huyssen also wrote to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at SU to advise how they could accommodate Firdous' special needs in the classroom. Huyssen recommended a speech therapist who specialises in treating autistic patients. The Disability Unit funded the sessions which helped Sulaiman navigate exams and other academic challenges.</p><p>She also started seeing an educational psychologist, Lamees Chetty, at the Tygerberg campus. Sulaiman credits therapists and lecturers, along with the unwavering support from her parents, with helping her through her struggles and motivating her to get back on track after making a difficult decision to interrupt her studies in 2020. </p><p>“I had been pushing my body and mind beyond its limits for four years. I didn't allow my mind the rest it needed, I didn't take care of my sensory needs and debilitating anxiety but ended up using it as fuel to push myself. It took a lot of counselling and education to convince me why an interruption to my studies was the best move forward. Educating myself on my diagnosis and my needs was a major game-changer which impacted not only my academic life but also my relationships with family and friends," Sulaiman explains.</p><p>Until she started taking medication for anxiety, Sulaiman thought it was normal to feel nauseous every day. “Apart from medication, what worked for me was seeing specialists and getting special concessions from the faculty. A specific lecturer was designated for me whom I would see once every two weeks to address any issues. I had extra tutorials with the module coordinator once a week which made it easier to maintain my academic focus." </p><p>Sulaiman also found inspiration in a support group for autistic and neuro-divergent students to help them navigate challenges. Better understanding her needs enabled her to forgive herself for not performing as well as other students over the years. </p><p><strong>Becoming an advocate for mental health</strong></p><p>Small adjustments changed the trajectory of her life, such as taking care of her sensory needs. “In classes and during exams I was allowed to take time out when I felt overwhelmed. The results of these changes were amazing. Last year was the first year I didn't need to repeat any modules. This year, my lecturers were shocked that the student who had always been struggling had become one of the top clinical achievers in class," Sulaiman laughs.</p><p>She says it's difficult to describe what graduating at the end of 2023 means to her. “I was so used to constantly struggling that it feels unreal to do so well." Being celebrated for her achievements is a novel but wonderful feeling, Sulaiman admits.</p><p>Over the past two years, she has become an advocate for mental health awareness, also at home where she advised her parents to get help for her younger brother who was struggling at school. “He has also been diagnosed with dyslexia and autism and since he started getting therapy and accommodations were put in place for him, he's now a straight-A student," Sulaiman says proudly. </p><p>Being neuro-divergent has made her a better speech therapist, she believes. “I'm able to personally relate to patients who struggle with disabilities. I don't need to mask when I'm around them, I can just be myself." Although she is keen to eventually do research about how to best accommodate the needs of autistic patients in speech therapy, Sulaiman now looks forward to taking a break from academia to start working as a speech therapist. </p><p>“I am so fortunate to have truly fallen in love with speech therapy through finding myself. Within my community, I have identified a lot of misunderstandings and miseducation regarding mental health. Parents often only start seeing it as something to be addressed once it impacts their child's academic performance. In many instances speech disorders are a result of underlying neurological, physical, or psychological differences. As a speech therapist I'll be able to identify warning signs and advocate for intervention where appropriate. I also plan on providing education and promotion to communities that are most at risk," Sulaiman says. </p><p>As she celebrated graduating with friends and family, she reminded loved ones of a famous Albert Einstein quote: “It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I have stayed with problems longer."</p><p><strong>PHOTO: Stefan Els</strong></p><p>​<br></p>
Disaster risk scholars engage at first Periperi U CARP workshop 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>
2023 SU–Lund staff development programme draws to a close SU–Lund staff development programme draws to a closeSU International <p>​<strong>2023 SU–Lund staff development programme draws to a close</strong><br></p><p>Following a group of ten Stellenbosch University (SU) staffers' visit to Lund University in Sweden in September 2023 as part of a first-of-its-kind mobility programme for support services staff, a Lund delegation reciprocated in November, travelling to Stellenbosch for an in-person engagement. </p><p>According to Lidia du Plessis, SU International's programme manager of Staff Internationalisation, the six-month bilateral mobility initiative focuses on the professional development and continuing education of professional administrative support services (PASS) staff. The programme offers PASS staff a chance to learn new skills and have an international experience while interacting with peers. </p><p>Activities of the blended programme kicked off in June with an online session, which offered both SU and Lund participants an opportunity to get to know one another before their in-person visits.  </p><p><strong>Innovative and inspiring </strong></p><p>“The programme provides an international opportunity to develop support staff and contributes to SU's core strategic themes of building purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks and being an employer of choice," says Lidia. “Seeing its impact on not only the participants, but also the environments they come from inspires me to keep developing opportunities for PASS staff to take part in international mobility and to expose them to their peers globally."  </p><p>Dr Pär Svensson, senior advisor for African Partnerships at Lund University, is equally satisfied with the programme the two institutions have created jointly. “The Lund-SU programme is unique in giving support staff the chance to internationalise and job-shadow colleagues at another university overseas," he says. “It is innovative in combining digital and physical mobility to establish long-term friendships." </p><p><strong>Valuable lessons learnt</strong></p><p>Melissa Siegelaar, learning and teaching support officer in the office of the dean of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS), was one of the Stellenbosch staffers who job-shadowed her Swedish peers. “The visit to Lund University was a great learning experience," she says. “The lessons that I learnt were not necessarily specific to my role in EMS, but will help me do my job better and more efficiently overall."</p><p>The programme concludes on 4 December 2023 with a final online reflection. </p><p><br><br></p><p>​<br></p>