A delegation from Unisa visited the United States of America during the month of June 2016. The purpose of this visit was to strengthen relationships with existing Unisa partners in America such as the African American Institute and the Association of American University Women African; cultivate new mutually beneficial relationships with foundations and other stakeholders in higher education and also to connect with the Unisa Alumni in the United States of America.
The delegation consisted of Dr Jackson Mphafudi, Chairperson of the Unisa Foundation Board of Trustees, Mr David Farirai (Director: Institutional Advancement), Mr Frankie Mojapelo (Deputy – Director: Institutional Advancement), Mr Paul Mohajane (Manager: Web Services) and Ms Lynette van Niekerk (Events Coordinator -Institutional Advancement).
The University has registered the Unisa Fund, Inc. which is registered as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in line of the US not-for-profit laws. All donations in the US made through this entity are fully tax-deductible according to the extent of the US law.
To enable US based alumni to make secure online donations, the Unisa Fund Inc launched an online giving platform. This will enable Alumni and other stakeholders to donate money towards any of the four priority programmes such as Student Access and Success, Plugged in students, Creating the Next Generation of Academics and Advancing Research & Innovation or to donate in kind. It will also allow alumni to update their personal details and to connect with other Alma maters in America.
The delegation met with various organisations and also held two alumni reception events, one in New York and other in Washington DC.
The alumni in event occurred on the 16th June which coincident with the 40th Anniversary of Soweto Youth Uprising. It was a befitting occasion for alumni to reconnect with their alma mater.
Both Cocktail functions were attended by Alumni and Stakeholders in the United States of America. Alumni and stakeholders engagements are Unisa’s way of reaching out to individuals and organisations in order to form sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Mr David Farirai, Director of Institutional Advancement shared with Alumni and Stakeholders in both occasions the current developments at Unisa especially the new Science Campus
He also stated that the Alumni play a very important role in their association with the University of South Africa. “We would like to connect and establish networks with our Alumni, specifically in the USA.” We want you to get involved, be it as tutors or mentors or by giving your expertise and support. Your involvement forms an integral part in the success of where UNISA will find itself in the next decade. He further appealed to the Alumni to contribute in making Unisa the African University shaping futures in the service of humanity.
“Mr Farirai further stated that UNISA boasts over 500 000 alumni represented in all spheres of life whether corporate or in the public sector, with over 35 000 new Alumni graduating each year from all over the world.”
He said the particular challenge that UNISA is facing at the moment is that the productive academics are reaching their retirement age, and we are not producing new scholars at the rate required to fill the gap created. As a University we need to produce more young African intellectuals. He called on the Alumni to take action and assist UNISA in producing these intellectuals.
“Mr Frankie Mojapelo, deputy director of Institutional Advancement shared with alumni and stakeholder challenges facing Unisa and higher education in South Africa following the #feesmustfall” campaign and insourcing. He stated that all the current students and prospective students wanting to study at Unisa, all share a common vision of having access to quality education and succeeding in their studies. He said it was therefore important for the University to source external funding to assist with this vision of providing learning opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students from across the land and the continent, particularly those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and rural areas.
Dr Jackson Mphafudi expressed his gratitude for the goodwill received at the Alumni event in New York “I believe it is a testament of your collective commitment to Unisa and you are to be commended for that. The South African Consulate in New York was also represented by Consul Barnard Legodi and Staff at this event.
The Washington event was attended by a smaller number of Alumni as in New York.
Alumni at the New York event hosted on 16 June 2016
Alumni at the Washington DC event hosted on: 23 June 2016
Compiled by Lynette van Niekerk, Events Coordinator – Institutional Advancement