Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Botswana to be represented at a US based conference in early February

Botswana is to be represented at a US based conference in early February. The inaugural Mellon Mays Fellows Professional Network (MMFPN) conference will be taking place from February 6-8 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA.

As a member of this elite network comprised of scholars from various fields of study, Katlego K Kolanyane-Kesupile will be making history by presenting at the conference.

Kolanyane-Kesupile is, thus far, the only Motswana member of the MMFPN, having been accepted to join the equally exclusive, prerequisite Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship programme in 2009.

Kolanyane-Kesupile’s field of study is Sexual Diversity Studies and she will be presenting a paper titled: Balancing Arts, Activism and Passion in Botswana. Her field of study is not yet populated in Botswana yet Kolanyane-Kesupile is adamant that it will grow faster once more scholarly work is done in Botswana.

“Sexual Diversity Studies is not about brainwashing people to accept alternate sexualities but about understanding the complexity that is human sexuality,” she says, adding, “I feel it’s my responsibility as a young Motswana to openly share my academic successes to pave the way for others.”

Kolanyane-Kesupile graduated from Wits University, Johannesburg, with an Honours degree in Dramatic Arts but always had a passion for human rights advocacy. The combination of the two led her to focus her attention on ARTivism- using art for activism- with a particular interest in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) issues. She was accepted to be one of five Mellon Undergrad Fellows in 2009 which was when she first travelled to USA for academic research.

Kolanyane-Kesupile is the spokesperson for the Global Shapers Gaborone Hub and an active performer in Gaborone. This opportunity, she says, “isn’t something I take lightly; obviously I’ve done something right so far, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”

The MMFPN comprises of academics and professionals from around the world, and the conference marks the beginning of more knowledge exchanges and greater networking. She says she hopes Batswana will support her in her academic pursuits and encourage their children to explore unchartered fields of study.

The Global Shapers Community is a worldwide network of Hubs developed and led by promising young leaders who want to build on their achievements and entrepreneurial drive to make a positive contribution to their communities.

Nominated under the age of 30, Shapers form a multistakeholder community and come from a variety of backgrounds including business, government, civil society, journalism, social entrepreneurialism, arts and culture.

The Global Shapers Community is an initiative of the World Economic Forum and is independent, neutral, non-political and not for profit.

A World Economic Forum initiative, the Global Shapers Community is a global network of local communities led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a positive contribution to their communities. We call these local communities “Hubs”. Each Hub is required to work together and to undertake at least 1 project a year that has positive local impact.


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