Monday, 30 October 2023

FEBE fosters globalised and inclusive environment

FOSTERING UNDERSTANDING AND UNITY: The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment celebrated their second Annual International Day. FOSTERING UNDERSTANDING AND UNITY: The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment celebrated their second Annual International Day.

The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) recently celebrated their second Annual International Day, a day which broadens students’ and staff menbers’ horizons and affords opportunities for them to learn more about their contemporaries while forming a greater understanding of their place in the wider community.

The event brought together students and staff from various backgrounds, showcasing the global community we have built. The day was marked by a cultural showcase, and prize-giving for the best cultural performance and best dressed in cultural attire. Assistant Dean: Learning and Teaching, Prof Bingwen Yan, emphasised the significance of embracing internationalisation in the academic community.

Prof Stephan Sauter from Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Ravensburg, Germany. delivered a keynote address Sauter shared valuable insights into the role of internationalisation in the curriculum. His talk focused on the collaborative efforts of international student teams and their project, "E-mule." Sauter also discussed the importance of international students working together to solve problems and the tremendous value that diverse perspectives bring to these projects. His vision for a more interconnected and inclusive educational experience captivated the audience.

“One of the day's highlights was the cultural showcase, which celebrated the rich diversity within our institution,” said Prof Veruscha Fester, Assistant Dean: Research, Technology, Innovation & Partnerships. Attendees were treated to vibrant displays of African and Asian cultures featuring traditional clothing, art, and culinary delights. Traditional dances were enthusiastically performed, adding a lively and colourful dimension to the event. “This programme segment reminded everyone of the incredible mosaic of traditions that make up our global community,” said Fester.

She added that the event also recognised outstanding contributions from “our international community with awards for the Best Performance and Best Dressed". “These awards acknowledged the commitment and enthusiasm students and staff showed in making the event a success. The recipients of these awards demonstrated a passion for their cultures and a dedication to fostering understanding and unity among our diverse community.”

Fester reiterated the importance of internationalisation in “our institution”. She encouraged everyone to continue working together to promote cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and mutual respect. Fester reflected on her journey of constantly feeling anxious when told to wear 'cultural attire' because she does not have specific cultural wear to use as an opportunity to embrace all aspects of her heritage. Last year, she embraced her African roots, and this year, she embraced her Indian roots. She also encouraged everyone to know that each person's background and culture are essential to determine how they will impact the world as engineers. The audience left with optimism and renewed commitment to promote a global perspective in their academic and personal lives.

“The event was an overwhelming success, reflecting our institution's commitment to fostering a globalised and inclusive environment. The event showcased our international community's incredible talents, perspectives, and traditions and served as a reminder of the power of diversity in education and beyond.”

The event was also fully supported by the Language Working Group in Fundani and “FEBE appreciates this support and looks forward to more collaboration next year”.

“We look forward to continuing our efforts to promote internationalisation and celebrate the diverse tapestry of cultures that enrich our institution,” Fester remarked.

Written by Aphiwe Boyce