International philanthropist invites SU choir and Rector to Japan

The Stellenbosch University (SU) choir with their conductor André van der Merwe, seen during a performance. PICTURE: MARK CLOETE

Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers and 50 members of SU’s choir are off to Tokyo, Japan, where they will participate in the ISPS Sports Values Summit-‑Special Edition on Wednesday August 9.

Professor De Villiers and the choir were invited by His Excellency Dr Haruhisa Handa, a renowned international philanthropist who is known for his longstanding commitment and contributions to public service and charities across the world.

Dr Handa’s support of various causes over several decades spans the arts and education, access to healthcare, disaster relief, empowerment of disabled individuals through sports, HIV/Aids education in Africa, promotion of democracy, religious tolerance and many other fields.

Notably, Dr Handa serves as the co-founder and chancellor of the University of Cambodia with His Excellency Dr Kao Kim Hourn, the incumbent Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Dr Handa has also been a major supporter of multiple universities in the UK, China, the US, Australia, Japan and South Africa. Handa’s International Sport Promotion Society (ISPS Handa) will be hosting the ISPS Sports Values Summit-Special Edition 2023.

The summit will bring together sporting legends Dan Carter (former All Black rugby player), Nacho Figueras (one of the world’s greatest polo players) and Steve James (Royal Australian Navy veteran and Invictus gold medallist).

These legends will be in conversation as panellists alongside Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, who will attend as the co‑founder and patron of Sentebale to discuss ways in which the power of sport can change lives and the impact of sports for philanthropy on the global stage.

Professor De Villiers will participate in the panel discussion, while the SU Choir will display their musical talents with an opening act at the summit. The SU Choir has been ranked the leading mixed amateur choir in the world for the past 11 years by Interkultur, organisers of the World Choir Games.

Professor De Villiers says: “We were grateful to receive the invitation from the founder and chairman of ISPS to participate in the summit. This gives Stellenbosch University the opportunity to make meaningful connections, and to contribute to the discussions with other distinguished participants at the summit.

“Stellenbosch University is committed to achieve excellence and to advance knowledge in service of society, and I believe we share a common vision with Dr Handa in making a positive impact on society.”

SU Choir conductor André van der Merwe says: “We are honoured to have received this invitation and we are filled with excitement to showcase a taste of our rich South African culture on the global stage.”

Fifty members of the Stellenbosch University (SU) choir will participate in the ISPS Sports Values Summit-Special Edition in Japan on August 9. PICTURE: MARK CLOETE