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Diverse cultures meet under UKZN Skies

A warm mix of song, dance, artistry and the spread of knowledge on diverse cultures came to the fore at UKZNs Cultural Day on the Howard College which included Medical School, Westville which included Edgewood campus and Pietermaritzburg.
The event was  attended by the Regional Director of the Turquoise Harmony Institute, Mr Atilla Dag; General Manager of the Department of Arts and Culture, Dr Raj Govender; UKZNs Executive Director of Corporate Relations, Ms Nomonde Mbadi; the Director of UKZN's Relations and Market Support, Mr Len Mzimela, and the Executive Dean of Students, Mr Themba Khumalo. Staff and students also  attended.  
The Cultural Day  is an annual event celebrated in order to remind us to promote global cultural integration and unity among the UKZN community. UKZN hosts about 2500 international students  drawn from over 100 countries worldwide. UKZN also has partnerships with approximately 85 international institutions and boasts about 300 international academics jointly influencing UKZN communities globally.
This years theme, Embracing Diversity, was used to create awareness around xenophobia, a fear of what is foreign  and xenophilia, a fondness of what is foreign, with regard to people from different cultural backgrounds.
Events like these are important because, we get to engage with other students from different countries... and we get to form new friendships, said Ms Yidan Zhang, Financial Mathematics Honours student from the Peoples Republic of China.
During his address, Mr  Mzimela welcomed the PMB guests and said: Tell us about your part of the world. We are very keen to learn something from you.
In case you have not had enough time between your studies or lectures to explore this beautiful province; call in at the International Office and let us know how we can help you get a degree and get to know South Africa too in the process.
Cultural Day on all three campuses included a fun environment with song, theatrical dramas and cultural dances performed by the students. UKZN academics attended the event and shared their visions for developing a nation that embraces cultural differences.
During her keynote address,  Ms  Mbadi reminded all internationals that, even though they are away from home this was still their home. Mbadi also encouraged students to be mindful and respect other peoples backgrounds, We are many, we are different, we are spread over five campuses but we are one university. This is your home too, so go ahead and enjoy it, we do, said Mbadi.
She continued to emphasise the importance of creating a global interface with international Institutions of Higher Learning. It is critical that we continue to engage with UKZN academics in order to create collaborative teaching and learning initiatives thus exchanging knowledge that is crucial for sustainable growth and development in South Africa, she said.
Second year BCom student, Ms Nuria Cadete from Angola said, I love South Africa! It is a beautiful country to study, live and work in... I am happy to be sharing information about my country because it creates a culture of understanding and appreciation.
Mr  Khumalo further expanded on Mbadis words and encouraged students to develop an open mindset towards students from different countries.
Guest speaker Mr  Dag  gave students and academics insight into the activities of his organisation. The Turquoise Harmony Institute is a non-profit organisation that strives for the promotion of inter-cultural dialogue and tolerance among the people.
Cultural Day is a significant event in the sense that it develops universal values of freedom, justice, democracy and human rights. It also contributes to effectively tackling crises that affect human life such as poverty and civil war. By creating social harmony we can make a significant change, said Dag.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:02



Tuesday, 14 October 2014 07:56

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