A German academic exchange delegation visit UP

Posted on April 05, 2024

A delegation from the German Ministry of Education and Research and the German Embassy in Pretoria recently paid a visit to the University of Pretoria (UP). The delegation included Professor Sabine Döring, Deputy Minister of Research and Education, and spent time touring UP’s Department of Zoology and Entomology. 

The visit aimed to bolster existing research collaborations with German academic institutions, focusing on sustainable development in developing countries through enhanced global knowledge exchange. This initiative involves partnering with institutions of higher education to foster academic networks and sponsor programmes, strengthening learning structures and promoting high-quality, up-to-date study programmes.

“It is vital to strengthen the collaborations between excellent South African universities such as UP and German universities and institutions," Prof Doring said. "Joint research projects play a significant role in addressing global challenges by developing innovative solutions and approaches that can be utilized worldwide. The partnership promotes excellence and mutual learning, which helps improve competitiveness on a global scale. A strong bilateral collaboration allows researchers from both countries to expand their international network, the building up of research capacities and the best use of research infrastructure."

Delegates arrived to a warm welcome at UP, greeted by Prof Flavia Senkubuge, Acting Vice-Principal of Student Life.

“We’re thrilled to have you here,” she said. “We want you to experience the vibrant environment where our students thrive and explore the spaces we’re passionately working in, such as the Department of Zoology and Entomology. In our language we say, ‘namukelekile’, meaning, ‘You are warmly welcomed.’” She also presented gifts to each guest.

“This moment serves as a vivid reflection of the robust connections we aim to cultivate as partners," Prof Senkubuge added. “With these esteemed German institutions and our pinnacle of research excellence, the German Academic Exchange Service, we eagerly anticipate delving into the rich tapestry of insights awaiting us. Prof Dr Sabine Döring articulates our collective anticipation, eagerly awaiting the enlightening discourse on student research. Why insects? Why hone in on the intricate world of bees? And crucially, how does this scholarly pursuit weave its threads into the fabric of our community, enriching it in profound ways?”

The students engaged in extensive research to illuminate the intricate relationship between honeybees and humanity. This endeavour delved into the symbolic parallels between the hierarchical structures observed in bee societies and those prevalent in human civilisations, as exemplified by the concept of a ruling monarch. However, the connection between bees and humans extends far beyond mere governance, finding its essence in the sweetness of honey itself, a ubiquitous elixir that enriches the human experience. Additionally, the utilisation of beeswax holds significance in various cultural practices, such as its use in providing illumination within religious settings like churches.

It is noteworthy that a considerable portion of the students involved in this exploration hail from the Department of Zoology and Entomology, many of whom benefit from the support extended by the German Academic Exchange Service, a prominent contributor to fostering academic pursuits. The main aim of their investigation was to explore avenues for bolstering existing partnerships, particularly between students in their respective home countries and educational institutions in developing nations. Integral to this endeavour is the aspiration to offer counsel to policymakers.

- Author Yolanda Rakobela

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences