SPEAKER BIOS - in order of proceedings

WEDNESDAY, 25 August

Ahmed Cassim Bawa

Ahmed Bawa is the CEO of Universities South Africa.  Until 2016, he was Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Durban University of Technology. He also served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Durban Centre of the University of Natal (later to be the University of KwaZulu-Natal).

Prof Puleng LenkaBula

Prof P (Puleng) LenkaBula, Principal and Vice Chancellor , University of South Africa (UNISA) Prof Puleng LenkaBula is a trained Feminist Ethicist with a PhD in Social Ethics (2006/7). She is the new Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of South Africa since January 2021 and the first woman Vice Chancellor in the 148 years of Unisa existence and the 3rd Vice chancellor since the advent of South Africa’s democratisation.

Mahlubi Chief Mabizela

Mahlubi Chief Mabizela is a Chief Director responsible for the Chief Directorate: Higher Education Policy and Research Support in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), South Africa. The Chief Directorate’s (CD) main responsibilities are the development and implementation of higher education policies; measurement and analyses of research and creative outputs from universities; research support and the regulation and administration of private higher education sector.

Ms Orla Quinlan

Ms Orla Quinlan is the Director of Internationalisation at Rhodes University, South Africa and has worked in Higher Education in South Africa, since 2011. Ms Quinlan served as the President of the International Education Association of South Africa, IEASA (2019-2020), successfully leading the organization through a challenging period, in response to the COVD pandemic.

Dr Aldo Stroebel

Dr Aldo Stroebel is Executive Director Strategic Partnerships at the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. He serves as South Africa’s National Contact Point for the European Research Council, as Board member of the Water Research Commission, and as the co-chairperson of the Executive Support Group of the Global Research Council. He is a Foreign Fellow of the Ugandan National Academy of Science, a Senior Fellow of the Pan-African Scientific Council, and a founding member of the SA Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).

Dr Thandi Mgwebi

Dr Thandi Mgwebi is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Internationalisation at Nelson Mandela University. Prior to joining Nelson Mandela University, Dr Mgwebi was Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at Tshwane University of Technology, and before that Director of Research at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

Dr Farai Kapfudzaruwa

Dr Farai Kapfudzaruwa is a senior postdoctoral fellow in the Strategic International Partnerships office within the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship (CAS) at the University of Pretoria (UP) where is he responsible for the implementation of the African Global University Project (AGUP) – UP`s transformative internationalization initiative.

Professor Tawana Kupe

Professor Tawana Kupe is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria since January 2019. He holds a BA Honours and Masters degree in English from the University of Zimbabwe, and a DPhil in Media Studies from University of Oslo, Norway. Prof Kupe is the Africa Co-Chair of the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) since 2019 and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities was bestowed on him by Michigan State University in December 2019.

Dr Samia Chasi

Dr Samia Chasi is a practitioner-scholar in higher education internationalisation with more than 20 years of experience in this field. She currently serves as Strategic Advisor to the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) and is a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, South Africa.

Dr William Mpofu

Dr William Mpofu is a researcher at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg. His research interests are in Decoloniality, especially the province of the Philosophy of Liberation and methodology of undisciplinarity.  William Mpofu’s latest book is : Robert Mugabe and the Will to Power in an African Postcolony (2021), New York, Palgrave Mcmillan. 

Morgan Ndlovu

Morgan Ndlovu is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies at the University of Zululand. He is a decolonial scholar and the author of Performing Indigeneity: Spectacles of Culture and Identity, (Pluto, 2019)

Melissa Steyn

Melissa Steynhas been developing Diversity Studies as a field in Higher Education since starting Intercultural and Diversity Studies at UCT in 2001. She is the founding director of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WiCDS) in 2013. Since 2014 she has held the South African National Chair (SARChI) Chair in Critical Diversity Studies. She is best known for her publications on whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa.

Dr Savo Heleta

Dr Savo Heleta is a researcher, analyst, educator and author with more than ten years’ experience in higher education, academic research, curriculum development, teaching, research supervision and internationalisation. His research interests range from decolonisation of knowledge; higher education internationalisation; conflict analysis and conflict transformation; post-war reconstruction and peace-building; sustainable development; higher education in post-war settings; international migration; xenophobia; to social justice advocacy and activism.

Valile Valindawo M. Dwayi

Member of senior management at Walter Sisulu University, South Africa. At present, he is the institutional Director and Head: Short Learning Programs. In his more than 15 years of senior management roles in university education, Valile has been directly involved in managing the following projects (USAID-TELP (2002-2005); DFID-HIV & Aids (2004-2006); NUFFIC NICHE & NPT Phases 2008-2012; 2013-2016; DHET Earmarked Grants (2006-2019). By August 2021, Valile will be responsible for the strategy direction for internationalisation of post-secondary education and training at WSU.

David Reiersgord

David Reiersgord started working in international higher education with AIFS, at Stellenbosch University, in 2016 after completing his MA (English Studies) at Stellenbosch University in 2015. He joined IES Abroad Cape Town in 2018 as Academic Manager, where he focuses on curriculum development, course coordination, faculty support and training, student advising and lecturing. He currently serves as Interim Centre Director in Cape Town. He has written book reviews and about South African history, culture and politics in the Mail & Guardian, Daily Maverick and Business Day.

Ms Susana Galvan See-Schierenberg

Susana Galván, originally from Barcelona, Spain, and a dual British and Spanish national, has devoted most of her academic and professional life to the learning of languages and working in the area of international cultural relations. Holder of a degree in Translating and Interpreting and another one in Modern Chinese Studies, and fluent in Mandarin, English, Spanish and Catalan, Susana studied in Barcelona and Leeds Universities, and later won scholarships to study at Beijing University, National Taiwan Normal University and Taipei University of Culture.

Dr Anja Hallacker

Dr Anja Hallacker has been the director of the DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg and a lecturer in the German Department of the University of the Witwatersrand since November 2017. She has worked in higher education systems all her life and takes pleasure and pride in supporting students and researchers.

Ms Huba Boshoff

Huba has over a decade of experience in internationalization of higher education and joined Nuffic Neso South Africa in June 2018. Before resuming her current position as Head of the South Africa/Southern Africa Office, she was Development and Partnership manager for the Orange Knowledge programme.

THURSDAY, 26 August

Jerome September

Jerome September was appointed as Dean of Student Affairs at Wits in May 2018 after joining the University as Deputy Dean of Student Affairs in February, of the same year. As Dean of Student Affairs, he has executive oversight for the student affairs portfolio which includes: campus housing and residence life, counselling and career development, campus health, student governance, leadership & development and  Wits Sport, and working collaboratively across the university on initiatives related to the student experience and student success.

Ms Taonga Phiri

Ms Taonga Phiri is currently serving as the Rhodes University Student Representative Council (SRC) Secretary-General. Previously, she served as the International Affairs Councillor on the same Council. Apart from serving on the SRC, she has also served as a house committee member for her residence. She is currently in her final year of her Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in Legal Theory and Politics and International Studies.

Simone Thomas

If passion were to be personified, it would probably be me, Simone Thomas!
I am passionate about education and natural textured hair. I am passionate about purpose and passionate about young people discovering theirs.
I am a proud product of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I completed my undergrad, National Diploma in Marketing and I am armoured with a BTech degree in Marketing. I completed my Master of Marketing  in 2020.

Buntu Mnyaka

Buntu Mnyaka recently graduated with his Masters in Conflict Management and Transformation at the Nelson Mandela University focusing on the influence of social conflict on social cohesion. he has served in various positions of the United Nations Association of South Africa Student Chapter. He received experimental training from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (RSA) focusing on Foreign Policy, Economic Diplomacy and Public Speaking.

Mats’olo Seloanyane

Mats’olo Seloanyane is an ambitious Chemical Engineering, Ph.D. candidate from the University of the Witwatersrand in her second year of study. From a very young age, she has always devoted herself to her studies, making sure she excelled in her academic work. Mats’olo holds a Masters’ degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Chemical Engineering, specializing in Petroleum Engineering.

Prof Lynette Jacobs

Prof Lynette Jacobs, is a Comparative and International Education scholar at the University of the Free State in South Africa. She is one of the workgroup leaders in the iKudu project (co-funded by European Commission Erasmus+ Programme) that seeks to develop capacity for curriculum transformation through internationalization. The project is developing a contextualised South African concept of internationalisation of the curriculum, which includes COIL. In particular, her workgroup focusses on the relationship  between internationalisation, Africanisation and decolonisation.

Prof Nonceba Mbambo-Kekana

Prof Nonceba Mbambo-Kekana is the Director of International Affairs at the University of Limpopo, South Africa. She is responsible for internationalisation policy and strategy of the university. Her interest in internationalisation is leadership and development of meaningful partnerships. Prior to joining the Office of International Affairs she was the Executive Dean of Health Sciences. She was an international student early in her student life and has attended and presented at international conferences mainly on clinical education and curriculum development.

Ms Anisa Khan

Anisa Khan is Director for Academic Services within the Division for Internationalisation at the University of Johannesburg. She is responsible for partnership development, academic support for internationalization, the development of joint degrees and short learning programmes. She has worked in various roles across the school and post-school, higher education sector and in the NGO sector.  She is an experienced programme manager, environmental educator, teacher trainer, communications and partnerships manager.

Dr Amir Khalil

Amir Khalil is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Law, Faculty of Law and Public Administration, Birzeit University. His current position is the Director of the External Academic Relations Office, Director of the Grants and Contracts Office at Birzeit University. He is also a a research fellowat the Centre of Private and Economic, Faculty of Law and Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Khalil obtained his PhD in law from the Center of Private and Economic Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (Brussels, Belgium, 2013);

Mohamed Shahid Mathee

Mohamed Shahid Mathee is a senior lecturer in the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg. He graduated from Al-Azhar University in Egypt with a BA/Honours in Islamic law and Modern Civil Law. He obtained a Masters from the Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town and a PhD in Historical Studies from the same university. His current research focuses on the social and intellectual history of Timbuktu and Muslim West Africa working on marriage, divorce and paternity-dispute fatwas from the colonial era and Timbuktu’s twentieth-century chronicles

Serah Calitz

Serah Calitz is an educator and researcher with an interest in the cross- and transcultural frictions, collaborations, and negotiations that produce and circulate architectural knowledge.

Dineo Babili

Dineo Babili is a Junior Lecturer/Researcher and Academic Literacy Coordinator in the Academic Language and Literacy Development, Centre for Teaching and Learning, at the University of the Free State. Her research interests focus on the development of inclusive student engagement practices in higher education. Dineo also researches issues of inclusiveness for first year rural students, and the teaching and learning of Academic Literacy in rural contexts.

Ruth Roberts

Ruth Roberts was appointed as the first Director for Scholarships Management at the South African Department of Higher Education and Training in 2016. She has worked for the Department for over 12 years, previously in international relations, focusing on a range of bilateral and multilateral engagements in education.

Heloise Emdon

Heloise Emdon directs teams to develop program plans based on monitoring and evaluation. Heloise has 20 years of experience in international development programming, working as a sector specialist focusing on inclusive economies, especially in Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for Development.

Dr Katie Bryant

Dr Katie Bryant has spent more than 15 years working in the field of writing studies, coordinating writing centres in both Canada and South Africa, and helping academics and university students on both the African and North American continent develop their abilities to learn and write for their various disciplines of study. She is currently a visiting scholar at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT), located in uMlazi, South Africa, a township outside of Durban.

Dr Nathi Madondo

Dr Nathi Madondo has a multidisciplinary ‘know-how’ in terms of the ways of being and knowing in the disciplines. This ‘know-how’ had been enabled by his involvement in the academic support programmes for students enrolled for Accounting Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) at a University of Technology, Academic Learning in English offered for Bachelor of Education in a traditional University and Science ECP in a research-intensive traditional University, which aims to broaden access to higher education for students whose schooling left them ill-equipped for success.

Dr Muntuwenkosi Chili

Dr Muntuwenkosi Chili has over 14 years working in the Higher Education from three institutions in South Africa. My academic career started in 2006 at the University of Zululand as a Chemistry Lecturer and later Senior lecturer. I hold a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Zululand.I have further developed myself by obtaining a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Management and Development Programme, Leadership Development Program and Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education for Academic Developers from various Universities in South Africa.

Lebethe Malefo

Director: Study Abroad
Division for Internationalisation
University of Johannesburg
Lebethe Malefo joined the University of Johannesburg in 2012 as Director: Study Abroad. This entails the development and management of all institutional mobility programmes (virtual and physical). He in this capacity been an institutional coordinator for EU funded projects EU-Saturn and EU-Inspire and various Erasmus+ collaborations.

Dr Lavern Samuels

Dr Samuels is the current Director of the International Education and Partnerships (IEP) Directorate at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). He is the Senate Representative on the University Council and is the immediate past Chairperson of the DUT Institutional Forum. Dr Samuels is also the Vice-President and Chair of the Directors Forum of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA).

Jody Felton

Jody joined the team at the International Academic Programmes Office of the University of Cape Town in 2012. Jody completed his LLB Bachelor of Laws at the University of South Africa in 2013 where he developed an interest in alternate dispute resolution, particularly mediation. During his time at UCT he worked across various portfolios, including the administration of scholarship programmes within the African continent as well as fulfilling his role as the Student Housing and Wellness Administrator for international students at UCT. 

Kwazikwenkosi Biyela

Kwazikwenkosi Biyela completed her Masters in Population Studies at the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University if KwaZululu-Natal. She lived most of her life in a small rural town but moved to Durban to complete her postgraduate studies. Her research focuses on the experiences of migrant students.

Cornelius Hagenmeier

Cornelius Hagenmeier is a higher education and legal professional who is rooted in the German and South African jurisdictions.  Since 2017, he serves as Director of the Office for International Affaries at the University of the Free State and is the Coordinator of the iKudu project. Prior to this, he was based as the first Director of International Relations at the University of Venda.

Michelle Stewart

Michelle Stewart is President of the European Association for International Education (EAIE) and Director Internationalisation (Humanities & Social Sciences) at the University of Strathclyde. She has worked in higher education for over twenty five years. Michelle has a strong commitment to partnership development and student mobility. At the University of Strathclyde she established overseas links in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. Michelle has served on external boards including: Operating Board Education UK Partnership; Chair, Scottish Universities International Group (SUIG); Chair, British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Association, (BUTEX). Michelle’s term as President of the EAIE is from September 2020 to 2022.

LaNitra Berger

LaNitra M. Berger is an award-winning scholar, educator, and social justice advocate working towards making higher education accessible to low-income, first-generation, and minority students. Her scholarly interests are in art and social activism in the African and Jewish diasporas. For over 15 years, her work as an educator focuses on creating and expanding education abroad opportunities for underrepresented students, particularly in international education.

Maria Leonor Alves Maia

Maria Leonor Alves Maia, architect full professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE), Brazil, is the immediate past-president of the Brazilian Association for International Education – FAUBAI [2018- 2021].
Since 2012 she has been active in the field of internationalization of Higher Education. From 2012-2020 she served as Dean for International Affairs at UFPE, being responsible for the implementation and management of international programs and activities which includes study abroad and exchange programs; international students and scholar services, internationalization at home and the implementation of Brazilian Virtual Exchange (BRAVE) program.
Maria Leonor is a researcher of the Brazilian Scientific Agency CNPq and has participated actively in conferences around the world.

James Otieno Jowi

James Otieno Jowi is the Principal Education Officer at the East African Community (EAC) where he coordinates the development and implementation of regional education programs. He is also currently the Acting Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission.As Principal Education Officer at EAC, he is responsible for Harmonization of Education Systems of EAC, Mutual Recognition Agreements, EAC Centres of Excellence, TVET Harmonization among others. He is the founding Executive Director of the African Network for Internationalization of Education (ANIE).