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ACU Ambassadors Summit

09 Dec 2020

Join us on 9 December for our second ACU Ambassadors (formerly ACU Champions) Summit - Virtual Engagement and International Student Exchange.

This will be a great opportunity for you to meet ACU colleagues and ACU Ambassadors at universities across the Commonwealth. 

The Summit will launch the Durban University of Technology (DUT)-ACU Toolkit for Virtual Engagement for International Student Exchange – a hands-on guide for containing practical advice for university staff setting up new virtual international student engagement activities.

Virtual Engagement for International Student Exchange covers a range of activities through which students can gain intercultural and international competencies though inter-institutional connections (including  virtual exchange, virtual courses, virtual events, virtual internships, virtual research projects, and ‘COIL’ (collaborative online international learning) more generally.

Attendees will:

  • Get tips on how to use the new DUT- ACU Toolkit for Virtual Engagement for International Student Exchange.
  • Hear from the ACU, DUT and Coventry University on why and how virtual student international exchange enhances student experience, along with advice for running international student engagement activities.
  • Interact and learn from fellow ACU Ambassadors at other universities to discuss virtual student mobility and start the journey of possible new virtual student exchange partnerships.

There will also be a specific discussion area for medical school staff looking to develop a virtual exchange partnership with other ACU members, which could be supported by a bid into the ACU Virtual Medical Student Mobility Grant scheme.

How to register

To accommodate different time zones, two (identical) Summits will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, 9 December. Please register for one of the following sessions by Wednesday 25 November:

08.00-09.30 UTC, 9 December 2020 
15.00-16.30 UTC, 9 December 2020 

All ACU Ambassadors should receive an email invitation. If you are an ACU Ambassador and you have not received this by 19 November, please contact us.

This Summit will include break out discussion rooms, as follows. Preferences will be collected on registration:

  • DUT Virtual Mobility Toolkit Q&A session: Ask colleagues from DUT questions about virtual student engagement, tips and tricks, and how to utilise the Virtual Student Engagement Toolkit
  • ACU Ambassadors: Discuss with peers your current virtual engagement activities, challenges and opportunities, and explore areas for future collaboration
  • Student & Virtual mobility staff: Discuss with peers your current virtual engagement activities, challenges and opportunities and explore areas for future collaboration
  • Medical School staff: learn more about the ACU Virtual Medical Student Mobility Grant scheme and meet peers at other institutions to explore potential partnership opportunities


Divinia Jithoo

Divinia Jithoo

Durban University of Technology, South Africa

Divinia Jithoo is a specialist in international education at the Durban University of Technology International Education and Partnerships office. Ms Jithoo is skilled in global short learning programme development, study abroad and exchange, international academic advising and events, and operations management. With experience in international virtual engagement and the core COIL team at DUT, Ms Jithoo is currently completing a PhD in higher education with a focus on international collaborative research.

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Picture Of Dr Lavern Samuels (002)

Dr Lavern Samuels

Durban University of Technology, South Africa

Dr Samuels is the Director of International Education and Partnerships at Durban University of Technology (DUT). He is the Senate Representative on the University Council at DUT and the former Chairperson of the Institutional Forum.  Previously the Academic Head of the Department of Dental Sciences and Environmental Health, Dr Samuels served as Deputy Dean and Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

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Lucy Shackleton


Lucy is a higher education consultant currently reviewing strategic engagement for the ACU. She has a background in influencing policy across science, higher education and international relations, and has led European and international engagement for Universities UK. She has also held positions as Director of London Engagement King’s College London and Private Secretary to the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Faye Taylor

Faye Taylor


Dr Faye Taylor is Deputy Director of Partnerships and Head of Membership at the ACU. She works with Commonwealth governments and multilateral international organisations on higher education and research development priorities. She oversees the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, an intergovernmental agreement that covers student mobility programmes offered across the Commonwealth. She also manages the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships scheme, supported by a GBP 16 million endowment fund jointly created by Commonwealth governments. 

Who can attend?

This event is for ACU Ambassadors and up to two of their colleagues. Invited are:

  • ACU Ambassadors
  • A colleague with responsibility for student mobility, virtual mobility, or internationalisation at home
  • (If relevant) a colleague Medical School staff with a remit for student/virtual mobility

Become an ACU Ambassador

ACU Ambassador (formerly named ACU Champions)  should have an international remit (for example, international office, partnerships) at an ACU member university. ACU Ambassadors help facilitate stronger communication between the ACU and your university.

If you're interested in becoming an ACU Ambassador, read the Terms of Reference.

View all ACU events