South African Cultural Observatory

UNESCO Chair at TUT is a first in Africa

BY 08.03.17

THE Department of Basic Education is establishing a UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Sustainable Development at TUT’s Faculty of the Arts.

This was announced at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) on Friday, 3 March. The Chair is the first of its kind for Africa and aims to mainstream the role of culture in sustainable development.

Making the announcement at the TUT Pretoria Campus on behalf of the Director-General at the Department of Basic Education, Mr Mathanzima Mweli, Dr Jenny Joshua, Manager in Mweli’s office, said the South African National Commission for UNESCO (NATCOM), which falls within the ambit of the Department, has been collaborating with TUT in its application for the UNESCO Chair since 2015.

“This collaboration culminated in the existing productive partnership between NATCOM, TUT and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). The three stakeholders were able to co-host one of the most successful international symposiums on cultural policy and sustainable development in March last year,” she added.

Joshua also highlighted other objectives of the Chair: It includes capacity building, creating platforms for dialogue, monitoring and evaluating cultural policy, fostering creativity, and enhancing academic engagement and cultural dialogue.

She said that the importance of the UNESCO’s University Twinning and Networking scheme (UNITWIN) and UNESCO Chairs Programme to tertiary institutions like TUT could not be over-emphasised. “It serves as a means of building the capacities of higher education and other research institutions through exchange of knowledge and skills in the spirit of international cooperation and solidarity. The Chairs Programme opens avenues for higher education institutions to work together with UNESCO (Paris) and contribute to the implementation of its programmes and the achievement of its Millennium Development Goals, such as the eradication of poverty, gender equality, cultural diversity, social inclusion and sustainable development,” she added.

Prof Lourens van Staden, TUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, extended TUT’s profound appreciation for the continued support that it has received from NATCOM and the DAC from the time of application for the UNESCO Chair to date. “Our sincere gratitude to those departments, organisations and individuals who have given their full endorsement of TUT’s bid for this Chair. These include the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the UNESCO Regional Office in Harare and the University of Hildesheim in Germany, among others. On our part, TUT wants to pledge its full support to the Faculty of the Arts as it begins to drive this Chair in an effective and productive manner,” he concluded. 

Joshua extended the sincere congratulations to TUT on behalf of the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, and Mr Carlton Mukwevho, Secretary-General of NATCOM.

Prof Mzo Sirayi, Executive Dean of TUT’s Faculty of the Arts; Prof Kennedy Chinyowa, Research Professor of the Faculty; and Patrick Ebewo Jnr, Coordinator of the TUT Arts Incubator, played a foremost role in the rigorous application process towards establishing the Chair at their Faculty.

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