South African Delegation

Achieving the DREAM is pleased to once again welcome South African delegates to DREAM 2021!

DREAM 2021 will be the seventh year a South African Delegation will attend ATD’s signature convening. DREAM 2021 is ATD’s 17th annual convening and will take place 16 – 19, February 2021. 

Achieving the Dream is pleased to offer the following customized DREAM 2021 experience for South African Delegates.






Week of
8 February



Webinar -- Delegates are oriented to Achieving the Dream and to DREAM the week before DREAM 2021.

16 February



6:00 -8:00 pm SAST




Delegates begin their DREAM experience on Tuesday, February 16 by participating live in their choice of four hands-on DREAM Studio workshops, each tied to one of the DREAM themes.

After this session, attendees will have a chance to reflect on their learning using prepared questions.

17 February


3:00-5:00 pm SAST


Centering Racial Equity


Delegates will engage in a pre-recorded plenary that will include opening remarks by Dr. Karen A. Stout, ATD’s President and CEO, entitled “The future is now: hope at the forefront of change.”

Dr. Stout’s opening remarks will be followed by Jesmyn Ward’s keynote address, “Bearing hope; the stories we tell our children to survive.” Ms. Ward is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University,?MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner. She has been hailed as the standout writer of her generation, proving her “fearless and toughly lyrical” voice in novels, memoir, and nonfiction. Betsy Burton of the American Booksellers Association has called her “the new Toni Morrison.” In 2017, she became the first woman and the first person of colour to win two National Book Awards for Fiction—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Here is an essay written by Jesmyn Ward On Witness and Respair: A personal tragedy followed by pandemic.

Ms. Ward’s presentation will be followed by questions posed by 2021 DREAM Scholars.

The recorded session will be complemented by a live reflection session facilitated by Siyaphumelela.

18 February



3:00-5:00 pm SAST


Listening in New Ways in the Age of Big Data


ATD is preparing a 90-minute session, especially for the South African delegates to feature the work of Durban University of Technology and two ATD colleges that have won ATD’s highest distinctions. Titled “Designing for Equity Using Holistic Approaches”, the session will focus on best practices in designing for equity in the areas of Holistic Student Supports and Teaching and Learning. The two ATD colleges will have prerecorded videos explaining their work and its impact on student success. The session will also include a case study featuring DUT inrecognition of the role they are playing in South Africa to develop and promote Holistic Student Supports. The case studies will be followed by a live discussion moderated by ATD’s Director of Holistic Student Supports and joined by leadership from the American colleges and the South African university.

Next, South Africa delegates will watch recordings of several DREAM Scholars presenting their compelling “I Am From” poems.

Delegates will close the day with a ~15-minute reflection session moderated by Siyaphumelela.

19 February




3:00-5:00 pm SAST


Anchoring a Bold New Access Agenda


South African Delegates will view a 75-minute recording of the plenary session, “Rethinking the Intersection of Education, Training, and Work in the 21st Century: A Roadmap to Creating More Inclusive Opportunities” in which Lumina Foundation President and CEO Jamie Merisotis posits that we can harness the population’s potential, encourage a deeper sense of community, and erase a centuries-long system of inequality. ATD presidents from Central Piedmont Community College; Nashville State Community College; and Amarillo College will reflect on Merisotis’s vision and its implications for the student success reforms colleges are pursuing.

Next, South Africa delegates will watch recordings of a second set of DREAM Scholars presenting their compelling “I Am From” poems.

Delegates will close the day with a ~30-minute reflection session moderated by Siyaphumelela.

24 February


3:00-5:00 pm SAST




Each Siyaphumelela institutional lead and one additional member from each Partner and Participant institution, along with coaches and the Saide team, will participate in a two-hour reflection of key takeaways from DREAM 2021 titled, “Implications for the Siyaphumelela Programme”.


The five themes of DREAM 2021 are: 

  1. Anchoring a bold, new access agenda: by creating onramps for adult learners, disconnected youth, and unique populations to achieve socioeconomic mobility in the communities the college serves. 
  2. Centering racial equity: by being intentional and action-oriented in removing racial inequities that impede social justice. 
  3. Fostering teaching and learning excellence: by creating new opportunities for professional development and leveraging evidence-based practices that support student learning. 
  4. Leveraging our localness: by developing innovative partnerships that build thriving and equitable communities. 
  5. Listening in new ways in the age of big data: by embedding resilience, sensemaking, and agility into the culture of our institutions and radically moving the student voice into the middle of redesign. 

Each of the plenaries, spotlights, studios, and concurrent sessions that make up DREAM 2021 focus on one or more of these themes. 


Come back to this page for updates about special activities and sessions planned for South African delegates.


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