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Vice-Chancellor Message – 25 August 2023

Dear UJ Community,

This has been an eventful week on the political front, at least from a South African perspective. South Africa hosted the BRICS summit, a meeting for major emerging national economies. Six additional countries will join Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to form the expanded BRICS Plus group of countries. Across the Limpopo River, Zimbabweans headed for the polls this week to cast their votes for a new government. Both events have far-reaching implications for our country because of the emerging world order characterised by increasing political realignments and geopolitical relations.

UJ hosts Chinese delegation

On the sidelines of the Summit yesterday, my team and I were honoured to host Mr. Shen Haixiong, Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and President and Editor-in-Chief of China Media Group (CMG), and his delegation. This was for the Annual BRICS Seminar on Governance and Cultural Exchanges Forum. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and cultural activities by the University of Johannesburg Confucius Institute.

UJ experts in the media

It was pleasing to listen to some of the experts from our University sharing their insights on the BRICS Summit and the Zimbabwe elections across various media platforms. To listen to Professor Siphamandla Zondi (Director of our Institute for Pan African Thought and Conversation) discussing the BRICS summit on 702, click here. Prof Patrick Bond (a Distinguished Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Change) spoke on various media platforms, including Moneyweb and the Mail & Guardian, about the justification for the expansion to the BRICS Plus. Prof Chris Landsberg (SARChI Chair International Relations) also weighed in on the subject. On the subject of the Zimbabwe elections, Prof Tapiwa Chagonda (Director: Centre for Data Ethics) weighed in on this subject (to watch, click here).

Brazil Minister delivers public lecture at UJ

Still on politics, our university was honoured to host the Minister for Racial Equality in Brazi, Her Excellency Anielle da Silva. She delivered a public lecture titled A Diasporic Perspective towards Education and South-south Cooperation at the Ubuntu Chambers, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. I wish to thank our Faculty of Humanities, the Division for Internationalisation and the Transformation Division for organising such an important and successful event.

Recognition for women leaders

Last week on this platform, I mentioned that four of our staff members were nominated in the Top 10 HERS-SA Higher Education Women Leaders Awards. These inaugural awards annually celebrate extraordinary women leaders who make a positive impact in and outside their universities and inspire, motivate and lead others to achieve their best. I have since been informed that as many as fourteen of our staff were nominated. Ten out of the fourteen UJ nominees have been shortlisted as finalists for the Top 5 awards. The winners will be announced in Cape Town on 7 September 2023. To read the complete list of the UJ finalists, click here. Well done to all colleagues, and best wishes in the finals.

Accolades for Prof Mouri

Please join me in congratulating Prof Hassina Mouri, who has again been recognised for her research work in Medical Geology. Prof Mouri is one of 10 awardees for the second edition of ΥπIA (Hypatia International Award). The awards recognise researchers who have contributed or are contributing with their research to the progress of scientific knowledge and the improvement of life. The Hypatia International Award ceremony will take place in Florence, Italy, on 16 October 2023. Well done, Prof Mouri. Thanks for flying the UJ flag higher!

Double our Future Impact Campaign

In December last year, our University launched the Double our Future Impact, a campaign to assist as many as 10,000 students with their 2023 registration fees. This is an extension of the University’s funding drive to help the so-called Missing Middle, who are students who face financial exclusion. The campaign has yielded R6.3 million from the UJ community and donors. Please remember to Donate Now!

Donate and win big!

Still on our Double our Future Impact Campaign, our Fund-Raising team has introduced an exciting innovation for people to contribute towards this noble cause. Your generous donation now comes with a whopping prize. You now stand a chance to win a HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro valued at R26 999, or a HUAWEI Watch GT2 valued at R6 999. To enter, simply donate R100 or more towards the Double Our Future Impact Campaign by clicking here. Remember that all donations made towards the campaign will help the University settle registration fees for students who cannot pay their registration at the start of the 2024 academic year. Donate and win big!

Donations must be made no later than 27 September 2023 to qualify for the competition. Multiple entries increase your chances of winning. Winners will be announced at the UJ Staff Day on 29 September 2023. They will be contacted and will be required to produce identification to claim the prize. For competition T’s and C’s click here.

Walking for a bright future   

Since launching the Missing Middle fundraising campaign, our Uninveristy has held two Future Walk events, contributing to the overall funds we raised through various campaigns. This year, on Saturday, 30 September 2023, our UJ Sport division will bring back the Future Walk event to raise funds for our qualifying students. I urge you to please register in large numbers to support this vital cause. Please register to participate in the UJ Future Walk here.

High Tea with the VC

I wish to thank everyone who attended the hybrid ‘High Tea with the VC’ book discussion this past Friday. It was an intriguing discussion with Nicky Verd on her book, Disrupt Yourself or be Disrupted: Escape Conformity, Reinvent Your Thinking and Thrive in an Era of Emerging Technologies and Economic Anxiety. Nicky did not disappoint, sharing her insights as a leading thinker on driving innovation through personal disruption and a human-centric digital transformation consultant focused on people and culture. If you missed the discussion, you may watch it below:

Kea a leboha, ngiyabonga, thank you, baie dankie!

Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi: Vice-Chancellor and Principal 

Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time zone.

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