The University of South Africa (UNISA) Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Puleng LenkaBula and the university management had a meet-and-greet brunch to warmly welcome Chief Dr Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice-President of the Republic Liberia, who delivered the keynote address at the university’s 2022 Founders Lecture on the evening of 02 December 2022. The Liberian Vice President was accompanied by prominent delegates from Liberia.
Introduced in 2003, this year’s lecture is themed: The Realisation of the African Renaissance through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA). It aims to encourage the university and its stakeholders to focus on critical issues in higher education at both global and national levels.
From the eye-catching view of the OR Tambo, 14th floor at the Muckleneuk Campus, the VC briefly explained the historical buildings around the area, including the Freedom Park and the Union Building.
Veep Howard-Taylor said she was honoured to visit the mega African university renowned for breaking boundaries and impacting lives. She remarked: “We look forward to having a robust relationship with Unisa to further the interests that have been part of our history.” She added: “I thank the VC and the Unisa family for inviting me to deliver the keynote address at the lecture, and I wish the university a happy 150th birthday in advance.”
Howard-Taylor explained that as the first female Vice-President of Liberia, visiting South Africa is another way of expressing how women lead in different instances. “I encourage women and men who have been supporting women’s empowerment to continue doing so. And, when women stand together, they achieve great things,” she said. Finally, Howard-Taylor congratulated the VC for the fantastic work that she is doing and added that she looks forward to a fruitful relationship.
The VC remarked that Unisa is honoured to have the Liberian first female Vice President as the keynote speaker for the Founders Lecture, a flagship university programme. She said: “I am thankful to the university management and knowledge communities for ensuring that the lecture took place delightfully.”
She added: “It was an opportunity where Africa imagined its future and looked at the possibilities and areas of collaboration.”
Relating to Unisa’s upcoming 150th birthday in 2023, the VC congratulated the University of Liberia (UL), which will celebrate 103 years next year. “It speaks to the indelible contribution of what knowledge can do for the society to emancipate itself from poverty, separation, racism, sexism or any ground that negates the humanity of others,” reiterated the VC. She continued: “This is the beginning of a beautiful history where we can work together to ensure that our countries contribute to the global arena to bequeath a world of humanity and civilisation.”
Appreciating the invitation, Dr Jonathan C. Taylor, Vice-President of Graduate Studies and Research at UL, said: “This marks an important beginning of a new relationship between Unisa and UL, and an opportunity to explore possible partnerships.” Taylor stated that Africa requires further human capacity building, a role universities play. He maintained: “Africa can be transformed through education; therefore, it is important to work together. We look forward to the Founders Lecture.”
Unisa’s Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Vice Principal: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation Portfolio, proposed a toast for, among others, the lasting relationship between Unisa and Liberia and to the hard work and dedication of women leaders like Howard-Taylor and the VC.
- By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement. https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/News-&-Media/Articles/Strengthening-relationships-to-transform-Africa