When Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye got the news that she has been invited to attend two prestigious global conferences she was naturally excited and proud. The two events to which she has been invited are the 8th annual meeting of the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum and the Young Leaders Programme special session.
Two big science organisations
Dr Qwebani-Ogunleye, who is a senior lecturer in the chemistry department and a project manager at traditional medicine unit at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), is widely seen as a deserving choice to attend the events. Her nomination has been endorsed by the country’s two most eminent science bodies: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the department of science and innovation (DSI).
The STS event is scheduled to take place online from 2-5 October 2021. The Young Leaders Program entails a dialogue between Young Leaders and Nobel Laureates, and will take place on Thursday, 30 September. Dr Qwebani-Ogunleye’s peers and admirers say they have no doubt that she will certainly enrich the discussions during the two events. She will join her other equally gifted and promising young leaders under 41 years old to participate and share their perspectives during the event.
The events are seen as ideal platforms for young leaders to build networks with the world’s top leaders and their peers. It is hoped that in the end this will subsequently be part of the emerging movement to resolve the new types of problems stemming from the application of science and technology.
Says Dr Qwebani-Ogunlye about the invitation: “I feel emotional, teary, excited, honoured and grateful. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am grateful to my family, mentors, coaches, colleagues, the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), ASSAf, DSI and all those who have come before us and left a trail for us to follow. This nomination and recognition also reflects the role that VUT is playing and can play on the world stage.”
Bridging the gap
Dr Qwebai-Ogunleye thinks she has been selected to the two global events because of her active participation in science projects, research and policy projects at the national and international level. The aim of the science projects is to bridge the gap between science and the community.
“Collective leadership facilitates the discussion of diverse perspectives. In 2018 at the closing function of TechWomen Fellowship in Washington DC, Jillian Scott, Director of TechWomen at the Institute of International Education. When our experience transcends borders, it opens minds. My take home from this event will include collaborations that transcend disciplines and borders and in so doing, enrich and complement each other in the context of science, technology, social upliftment and economic development of our country”, says Dr Qwebani-Ogunleye.
Launching a book
Her team at the traditional medicine entity will be launching a number of products that are of herbal origin to different market channels this September 2021. She has just launched her second book last month titled: 100 Nuggets: Pearls of Wisdom. “I have been wanting to write an inspirational type of book that would serve as a tool of enlightenment, empowerment and encouragement. What better time to write such a book than when standing in the dark, powerless and discouraged?