Intercultural Week at Durban University of Technology

Durban, 25/02/2024: Durban University of Technology (DUT) recently had the honor of hosting its first Intercultural Week program, as part of a new partnership initiative with Flensburg University of Applied Sciences. The program, which ran from February 19-25, 2024, received significant support from various departments and units within DUT. The innobiz DUT Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Departments of Media, Language and Communication played a crucial role. Innobiz Cluster provided the facilitators, while students from the Media, Language and Communication Department actively participated in the cultural showcase and volunteered alongside exchange students and other DUT students.

The Intercultural Week program activities at DUT span a week and include cultural performances, workshops, seminars, exhibitions and tours that celebrate the diversity of cultures within the university community. It encourages students and staff to engage with cultures that are different from their own, promoting mutual respect and understanding. Furthermore, it is specifically designed to provide exchange students with a comprehensive exploration of the formal and informal economy in Durban. By combining theoretical knowledge and practical learning, it provides participants with a holistic view of the economic landscape in Durban and catalyzes meaningful cultural exchange in the process.

Day 1 of the program focused on the introduction to Durban and the economic context. The cultural showcase at the ML Sultan Campus provided participants with an immersive experience that showcased the rich wealth of traditions, languages and customs in Durban. This laid the foundation for the promotion of cultural diversity and emphasized the celebration and preservation of cultural heritage within the university community.

Day 2 was dedicated to exploring the formal economy of Durban. Participants gained valuable insights into key economic sectors and had the opportunity to visit prominent institutions. These visits provided first-hand insights into the operations and importance of these vital sectors, fostering an understanding of the diverse workforce and cultural dynamics within these industries.

Day 3, on the other hand, focused on exploring Durban’s informal economy and emphasized the importance of incorporating African and indigenous knowledge systems into education initiatives. Visits to various markets and discussions with city representatives highlighted the importance of indigenous knowledge in shaping development programs and the role of the informal economy in Durban’s retail market.

Day 4 centered around an online workshop, followed by focused discussions over the week. This session provided a platform for reflection and feedback and emphasized the importance of intercultural competence for future global leaders.

Day 5 and the following days were dedicated to cultural exchange and assimilation into the isiZulu culture. Participants were immersed in various cultural experiences with an emphasis on intercultural dialog and understanding.

Overall, DUT’s Intercultural Week program plays a critical role in promoting cultural diversity and developing intercultural competence among students and staff. By aligning with DUT’s Envision 2030 goals and internationalization initiatives at home, the program contributes to the university’s broader goals of fostering a diverse, inclusive and globally competent community.

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