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Unisa delegation warmly welcomed by the South African Ambassador to Thailand

On 12 June 2024, the Unisa delegation to the 2024 Global Sustainable Development Congress in Bangkok, Thailand, led by the Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Puleng LenkaBula, was courteously received at the South African Embassy in that country by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, His Excellency Darkey Africa, and members from his office, Lebohang Seshoka (First Secretary, Political) and Henry Fourie (First Secretary, Corporate Services).


Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, His Excellency Darkey Africa, and Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Puleng LenkaBula

In extending words of gratitude to the ambassador, the VC said: "We are very appreciative that in your tight calendar, you made time for us. It has become our tradition at the University of South Africa that, when we have delegations for research or scholarly encounters in different countries, we work with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to ensure that we draw on the insights and leadership of our ambassadors and high commissioners."

She continued: "Our commitment remains to ensure that we are a strong institution and a partner to scientific diplomacy that our country requires. We hoist the flag of South Africa and the role that higher education institutions play in the global arena. This is why it is also important for us to be here."


The Unisa delegation and members of the South African Embassy in Thailand

According to Ambassador Africa, there are several companies in Thailand that are investing in South Africa. "These companies," he said, "tell us that they want to turn South Africa into an automotive hub for the continent of Africa and Europe." He also highlighted the growing interest that Thailand has in partnering with universities in South Africa.

He continued: "As a mission are working closely with a number of higher education institutions in Thailand, such as Chulalongkorn University, who have requested our assistance to be linked to universities in South Africa for collaborative research projects in identified areas."


Ambassador Darkey Africa in conversation with Prof Puleng LenkaBula and Prof Solomon Magano

The embassy is also working towards formalising an agreement with Thailand, in terms of which qualified teachers will be sourced from South Africa to teach English proficiency to Thai locals under a signed agreement. Such an agreement would prove beneficial especially for an institution such as Unisa, as the largest producer of graduate teachers in South Africa.

"Professor LenkaBula, we have been told that the presentations from the Unisa delegation and from yourself as the head of the delegation at the Global Sustainable Development Congress, were well received, and we really want to congratulate you for that," concluded Ambassador Africa.

Read also: Prof LenkaBula unapologetic about leading and shaping Africa's sustainable futures  

By Dr Nozipho N Gumbi, Communication and Marketing Specialist (acting), College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Publish date: 2024/06/26

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