According to Professor Willem Fourie, MDP Programme Director and Coordinator of the South African SDG Hub at the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, the MDP is a multidisciplinary master’s programme focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, multidisciplinary competences and the leadership capacities needed to implement the sustainable goals.
“The programme was launched last year and the first successful group, consisting of seventeen students, will graduate in April 2020. We realised there was a need for a multidisciplinary master’s degree that exposes students to a wide array of disciplines. This is the type of competence we need to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and South Africa’s National Development Plan.”
Fourie expressed his gratitude to UP’s staff members from across five faculties who taught on the programme: “Without the buy-in of the experts at UP and beyond, this programme would not be a success.”
While addressing attendees at the event, UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe said he went around the world promoting the master’s programme because it is a very unique programme that is unmatched even by other top universities globally.
“It is a very distinct programme for distinct times and also linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. Congratulations for completing this challenging programme. South Africa and the world need people like yourself with multidisciplinary competences to tackle complex problems.”
Prof Kupe said one of the developments that will characterise the 21st century is that problems will become more complex, complicated and more intersectional.
“This programme seeks to address that kind of complicity. Moreover, we need people who understand the leadership capacities needed to implement complex agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals. I am confident that you will be able to forge the productive and respectful partnerships across sectors necessary to bring the transformative change that we need,” he said.
“I am glad to have completed this programme,” said student Karien Eramus.
“I have a very passionate belief in the concept of sustainable development and I think, within specifically the African context, sustainability is important,” she said.
Fellow student Carolien Samson said what she had learnt through the programme was very relevant to her job.
“I am responsible for corporate strategy at my workplace and sustainability is important and therefore the knowledge gained from this programme will allow me to bring sustainability into my strategy role,” said Samson.
Below is a list of students who did exceptionally well in different categories:
Best Student Award: Wendy van Eyck
Best Progress Award: Winnie Mamatsharaga
Merit Award for Research: Samantha Castle
Merit Award for Research: Johannes de Beer
Merit Award for Research: Bjanka Korb
Merit Award for Research: Tatenda Mangondo
Merit Award for Research: Wendy van Eyck