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Ubuntu Dialogues Program

Ubuntu Dialogues Partnership

The Ubuntu Dialogues: Museums and Communities Connect is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded partnership between the MSU African Studies Center and the Stellenbosch University Museum. The partnership is geared toward a) transforming the function and practice of the museum as an institution, both within Africa and around the world; b) establishing new and strengthening existing connections and cooperation between universities, museums, and communities; and c) developing a replicable framework for universities and museums across national and other divides to collaborate in producing dynamic sites for the co-creation and dissemination of knowledge and practice. The project includes three main components: virtual student dialogues, a seminar speaker exchange program, and a student internship program.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Check back soon for Spring 2021 events!

Past Webinars

In case you missed any of our past webinars, you can watch them here!

September 29, 2020

Unifier Dyer: Ubuntu and Women's Experiences as Epistemology

Rhoda Malgas: Ubuntu as Expressed in the Nature of Fynbos?

Virtual Student Dialogues

The student dialogues are conceived around facilitated virtual conversations among American students from underrepresented minority backgrounds and South Africa students from historically disadvantaged demographic groups. The dialogues focus on contemporary issues facing young people across the Atlantic. They provide participants opportunities to rethink national, racial, linguistic, and other boundaries and differences; to foster cross-cultural understanding; and to promote the resolution of real and imagined differences through dialogue. The dialogues comprise weekly 90-minute sessions scheduled for four consecutive weeks in October, and they involve 10 MSU and 10 Stellenbosch University students per year.

Seminar Speaker Exchange Program

The goal of the seminar program is to aid in transforming institutions through scholarship of engagement. The seminars take the form of transnational intellectual engagements focusing on institutional histories; the meaning of Ubuntu; Pan-Africanism; knowledge and institutional decolonization and transformation both as concepts and practice; and the place of South Africa in Africa and of the U.S. in the Americas. Seminar speakers are recruited from among academics, professionals, and advanced doctoral students in the fields of museum and heritage studies, public history, and other related fields in the Social Sciences and Humanities, from MSU and Stellenbosch University, partner institutions, and elsewhere in the U.S. and South Africa. A total of eight seminars are scheduled per annum, four each at Stellenbosch University and at MSU, to make a total of 24 over the three-year duration of the project.

Student Exchange/Internship Program

The internship program allows students from Stellenbosch University and MSU to gain practical experience working in cultural heritage institutions in the partner countries. Each year 10 MSU students and 10 Stellenbosch University students are recruited and placed as interns at partner institutions in South Africa and in the U.S., respectively. The internship program engages a wide array of campus and off-campus partners in providing participating students a robust global community engaged learning experience: Stellenbosch University Museum, Robben Island Museum, Lwandle Migrant Labor Museum, and Iziko Museums of South Africa; and the MSU Museum, MSU Library, Matrix, and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. At MSU, the students will be recruited from underrepresented minority groups enrolled in Museum Studies, History and African and African American Studies programs, while in South Africa preference will be given to students from historically marginalized backgrounds.


Michigan State University

Stellenbosch University