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4 November 2020
UWC UAE Virtual Engagement: Strengthening Ties & Modelling Representation

On 30 October 2020, the University of the Western Cape Alumni Relations Office and the newly re-introduced UAE alumni network hosted its first online engagement for their UAE alumni constituents, as well as other alumni from across the globe.

UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, and Director of Institutional Advancement, Patricia Lawrence, joined UAE Alumni coordinator Joseph Dennis in speaking of the rich history many alumni based in the UAE share with the University, as well as the long-standing relationship UAE alumni share with their alma mater.

“The UWC UAE Chapter network was established on 15 September 2014 at the St Regis Hotel on Saadiyat Island,” said Dennis. “That little island is that it is known as a location where turtles lay their eggs - and we were extremely excited about establishing this new baby of ours, which grew into a determined team who were passionate about what we were doing.”

The keynote address, delivered by Professor Burtram Fielding, offered an interesting look into the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic we are now living through - sharing insights not only from his work as UWC’s Director of Research and Development, but also as one of South Africa’s foremost coronavirus experts.

Prof Fielding provided a history of various strains of coronavirus, explored why this strain has affected daily human life the way it has, and discussed UWC’s efforts to address this topic, from investigating the genome of SARS CoV2 to communicating its impact in schools and elsewhere. Insights from his talk sparked various discussions around the feasibility of global lockdowns and predictions as to when life would return to ‘normal’.

“UWC has performed important research into the situation we are all facing,” Prof Fielding noted. “But I do not think it’s enough to just do the research. It’s what we do with the knowledge that results from that research that matters - and we actually do research that impacts the world.”

The UAE alumni chapter has always shared a close bond with the University, and we are hopeful that in its new iteration a continued and fruitful relationship will endure - despite the challenges of connecting in these times.

“The UWC UAE community has come together to strengthen ties and model representation of an institution we love, which enabled us to compete on this world stage,” said Dennis. “We continue to hold the UWC flag very high - and we hope to continue doing that in the future.”

Click below to watch the live recording from this webinar:

For more information on the alumni office and its various networks, please email: