Postdoctoral fellows celebrate diverse backgrounds and talents

UFS strip research


The Directorate of Research Development (DRD) at the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted its inaugural UFS Postdoctoral International Day.

Story and photos by André Damons

The Directorate of Research Development (DRD) at the University of the Free State (UFS) has recently recognised the invaluable contributions made by postdoctoral fellows at the institution by hosting its inaugural UFS Postdoctoral International Day on 13 September. 

With 184 full-time registered postdoctoral fellows, of which 65% represent the international postdoctoral community, the UFS can boast with a global community of postdoctoral fellows. This event was a perfect opportunity to celebrate their diverse backgrounds and talents.  

“This vibrant mix of cultures, religions, and countries served as the inspiration for the event, which aimed to bring everyone together and offer attendees a taste of the various cultures and cuisines from the countries represented.

“The DRD has committed to making the UFS Postdoctoral International Day an annual tradition. It serves not only as a celebration of diversity but also as a platform for showcasing the remarkable contributions and talents of the postdoctoral fellows who enrich the academic landscape at UFS,” says Ms Mandy Jampies, postdoctoral fellow co-ordinator at the DRD. 

Overwhelming response
The event, held in high spirits, also shone a spotlight on the remarkable talents of some of the postdoctoral fellows. Dr Joshua Nwabuife, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology, mesmerised the audience with his saxophone skills, while Dr Alba Gomez, from the Department of Chemistry, showcased her flair for flamenco dancing. Their performances added a touch of artistry and entertainment to the celebration.

According to Ms Jampies, the success of the first UFS Postdoctoral International Day was evident in the overwhelming response from both staff and the postdoctoral fellows who attended. Many voiced their enthusiasm for future editions of the event, emphasising the need for such gatherings to foster a sense of unity and appreciation for the diverse talents and backgrounds within the UFS postdoctoral community.
“In a world that often emphasises differences, events like these remind us of the strength that comes from embracing our diversity and celebrating the talents that connect us,” says Ms Jampies. 

Dr Matin Naghizadeh, from the Department of Chemistry, called the event memorable and said he hopes it will continue for the next few years “so that we can get to know the culture and customs of other countries closely”.

The event also got support from Prof Maryke Labuschagne of the Department of Plant Sciences and the NRF SARChI Chair in Diseases and Quality of Field Crops, who called it a great idea and opportunity. 

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