Change the world


A delegation from the University of Sussex, which is in South Africa to continue talks around a national programme of collaboration around research, capacity building and joint Masters and PhDs programmes, visited Nelson Mandela University to explore areas of mutual interest.

The UK-based institution’s visit to Mandela University this week included discussion with executive management towards a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on areas including physical and social sciences, research and scholarships. The delegation also enjoyed a tour of Mandela campuses such as South Campus, which houses some of the university’s public art pieces, and Missionvale, where the Medical School is based.

The UK-based university has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with South Africa as an academic home for students and scholars forced into exile, and played an active role in support of the anti-apartheid movement. Its values and institutional ethos, which include integrity and social justice, mirror those of Nelson Mandela University.

“Sussex has benefitted enormously from its historic relationship with South Africa, one that has left an indelible mark on the University. We are proud of our shared history and are keen to build on this longstanding fraternity,” said Professor Richard Follett, the Associate Vice-President (International) at the University of Sussex.

“The university recently met with a delegation from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation on an official visit to the UK. We discussed the potential for a national programme of collaboration around research, capacity building and joint Masters and PhDs programmes.”

Professor Follett said they were meeting with various colleagues in the South African higher education sector and Universities South Africa (USAf) to understand the sector needs and explore mutually beneficial collaborations with Sussex.

“We would be interested to explore the potential for research collaborations, joint masters and PhDs programmes, and the opportunities for students and staff exchanges,” he said.

The University of Sussex, which is a research-intensive institution, has an interdisciplinary focus and is focused on the following research themes: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital; Sustainability; Health and Wellbeing; Equity and Fairness/Social Justice; Future Technology and Advanced Materials; Frontiers of Sciences; Policy; Creativity and Culture.

Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, said there were numerous similarities between the institutions.

“I was struck by [the University of Sussex’s] values, which are very similar to ours and, of course, the socially embedded and impactful science,” said Professor Muthwa.

The UK-based institution, much like Mandela University, is very student-centric, and has a futuristic view of the academy – towards a better world. This aligns with Mandela University, as a social justice-driven and responsive university, intent on ‘changing the world’.

“Our tagline, ‘change the world’ is higher than all of us. But we believe that if our work does not set out to impact humanity and improve the human condition, it is not successful. That’s the ambition we have,” said Professor Muthwa.

“Working beyond our borders bodes well with our efforts to effect meaningful change in society.”

The institutions will develop an MOU on the identified areas of collaboration and begin the work in that regard. The MOU will guide and cement the partnership.

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