UP Vice-Chancellor appointed to Association of Commonwealth Universities’ Council as member and Trustee

Posted on September 08, 2020

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, has been appointed to serve on the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ (ACU) Council as a member and Trustee. Prof Kupe will serve in the role for a period of three years, until 31 July 2023.

Prof Kupe’s appointment comes after a recent call for nominations. He now joins the following well-known and respected academics as a member and Trustee of the Council: Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town; Professor Wim de Villiers, Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University; and Professor Cheryl de la Rey, who is Prof Kupe’s predecessor at UP and currently serves as Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury University in New Zealand.

Prof Kupe – who has long been a proponent of the importance of research-intensive universities in society and their transformative impact in the lives of not only those who are educated at these institutions, but also individuals who are associated with them – was elated after the announcement and highlighted that his inclusion bodes well for the continent’s major regions.

“Universities not only allow individuals to further their education and develop their skills, but they also play an integral role in the overall advancement of society,” said Prof Kupe, who will represent Constituency III, which includes East, West and Southern Africa. “The ACU, as an organisation that appreciates this and strives to ‘build a better world through higher education’, has ambitious plans and has already committed to coordinating efforts by its members to ensure that tertiary education institutions play their part in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. I felt it was important for me to accept the nomination to serve as a member and Trustee of the Council to represent not only the ACU, but my constituencies as well, and to ensure that we too play our part in furthering the sustainable development agenda,” he explained.

The Commonwealth is an association of over 50 countries spread across different continents all over the world. The vast majority of these countries are former British colonies. The ACU, which was founded in 1913, is a network of over 500 universities across the Commonwealth and its headquarters are in London.

The ACU places a premium on international collaboration between institutions of higher learning and it is in this way that the organisation goes a long way in ensuring that the 17th SDG – which speaks to strengthening global partnerships for sustainable development – and many others are achieved. The ACU seeks to enable sustainable development and redress dire socio-economic conditions, particularly in developing countries, by championing the influence of higher education in improving people’s lives and by offering educational opportunities to individuals who will one day use their knowledge to make a positive social impact. To this end, the ACU offers scholarship opportunities to individuals who are interested in conducting research that goes a long way in helping the organisation fulfil its mandate.

The ACU’s Council acts as the organisation’s governing body and oversees its initiatives and activities. Moreover, the Council also has the important responsibility of providing strategic direction for the organisation. The Council comprises of 23 individuals and all its members are vice-chancellors of ACU member universities. The organisation’s day-to-day operations are handled by its management team which is led by ACU Chief Executive and Secretary General, Dr Joanna Newman.

- Author Kaya Nocanda

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