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The Engaged University: Working with policy makers, the private sector, and communities to advance African higher education transformation

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The Engaged University: Working with policy makers, the private sector, and communities to advance African higher education transformation 

Virtual Dialogue Event 

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 

9:00am-10:30am EDT (GMT-04:00)

Co-hosted by:

                            University of Botswana.png       SARUA Logo



Moderator: Prof. Edward DintwaDean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, University of Botswana


Opening Remarks: Prof. David Norris, Vice Chancellor, University of Botswana


Dhanjay Jhurry, Vice Chancellor, University of Mauritius and member of SARUA

Prof. Jhurry.jpgProfessor Dhanjay Jhurry was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius (UoM) in March 2017. He is championing the vision of a research-engaged and entrepreneurial university working in close partnership with the public and private sectors as well as with the community to foster innovation. He is putting a lot of emphasis on organizing research at the University around the SDGs and is leading various initiatives to develop human, intellectual, business and social capital through an inclusive and openness approach. Under his leadership the University of Mauritius has championed the concept of international education diplomacy and built strong partnerships with Universities worldwide. 

From 2012 to 2017 he held the post of National Research Chair in Biomaterials and Drug Delivery under the Mauritius Research Council, while heading the Centre for Biomedical and Biomaterials Research (CBBR), a centre attached to the University of Mauritius which he founded. Prof Jhurry studied at Bordeaux University (France) and received his PhD in Polymer Chemistry in 1992. He joined the Dept. of Chemistry at the University of Mauritius as Lecturer and was appointed Professor in 2005. He has received various national and international awards and recognitions.


Ambumulile Phiri, National Council for Higher Education (NCHE)

Ambumulile Phiri.jpgDr. Ambumulire Phiri received her PhD in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, an MA in Teaching Studies from Belhaven University in Jackson Mississippi, a Graduate Certificate in Autism and Developmental Disabilities from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a BA with an emphasis in Christian Education from the African Bible College in Malawi. 

Dr. Phiri has served the public higher education system for over 18 years. She spent a major part of her teaching career at Mzuzu University where she also served as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education.  She was Principal for Nalikule College of Education from 2016 to 2019. Dr. Phiri has contributed a number of scholarly works in teacher education and special and inclusive education.  Her current research employs the quality assurance lens to examine standards for inclusion of students with disabilities in higher education. 


Rahmat Eyinfunjowo, CEO, Nourishing Africa

Rahmat Eyinfunjowo.jpgRahmat Eyinfunjowo's work focuses on business development and capacity building for SMEs in Africa's agriculture and food landscapes. She is passionate about hunger alleviation, SME growth, youth in agriculture, sustainability, innovation start-ups, and community development. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Rahmat has spent the last half-decade implementing key agriculture projects in the country, providing operational support for a tech start-up in Northern Nigeria, supporting farmers on a cocoa sustainability project across Southwest Nigeria, and developing and implementing a business plan for a pioneer early generation seed enterprise in Ibadan, Nigeria.

In 2019, Rahmat co-founded Nourishing Africa, where she is currently the Co-CEO (Operations) in charge of the company's agri-SME membership hub engagement and driving business operations. Before Nourishing Africa, Rahmat was a Senior Business Analyst at Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited. 
Rahmat has an academic background in agronomy, with a specialization in Soil Science and Land Resources Management from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.


Pinkie Mekgwe, International IDEA

Pinkie MekgweDr. Pinkie Mekgwe is International IDEA’s Senior Regional Adviser for Africa and West Asia and her work focuses on strengthening programmatic and administrative coherence and performance. Before joining International IDEA in 2018, Mekgwe was Executive Director of Internationalism at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. She also previously served as Deputy Director at the Office of International Education and Partnerships of the University of Botswana and as Programme Officer for the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). 

Previously she was a lecturer at the University of Botswana, visiting researcher at the Witwatersrand Institute of Social and Economic Research, and a visiting lecturer at Malmö University in Sweden. Dr. Mekgwe earned her Master's degree in Critical Theory; and Doctor of Philosophy in Gender Studies (University of Sussex, UK).


Nico Jooste, African Centre for Higher Education Internationalization (AfriC)

Nico JoosteDr. Nico Jooste is currently the Senior Director of African Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation (AfriC), Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He is involved in the re-thinking of Internationalisation of Higher Education Globally and arranged the Global Dialogue on the future of Higher Education Internationalisation in January 2014 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and assisted with the drafting of the Nelson Mandela Bay Declaration. He is a past President of the International Education Association of South Africa. 

Dr. Jooste was the founding Senior Director, International Education of the Nelson Mandela University and acted in this position from 2000 to 2018.  He was involved in the conceptualisation of the South African National Policy on Higher Education Internationalisation. 
He currently acts as Strategic Advisor to SARUA as well as Internationalisation and he is a Research Associate of the University of the Free State. He publishes widely on Higher Education Internationalisation and has presented numerous papers on this topic at international conferences. He holds a PhD in History. 


Increasingly universities around the globe have recognized that they must actively engage beyond their campuses and across sectors to upend the traditional perception that they are “ivory towers” that only focus on theory and leave application to disconnected others outside their proverbial walls; or that they engage in research purely for academic purposes and communicate it amongst themselves via journal publications and conferences, with very little engagement with the people outside academia. The universities are now seeing themselves as catalysts for positive change in their communities and beyond. The emergence of the Times Higher Education Impact performance ranking, which assesses universities’ contributions toward achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, is evidence of this trend.

To ensure that their work in teaching, learning, and research translates into solutions for global challenges like climate change, poverty reduction, and the global COVID-19 pandemic, higher education institutions are finding creative ways to build bridges to policy makers, the private sector, and local communities. African universities have begun to draft plans, policies, and structures to increase their engagement with external stakeholders who can benefit from the research conducted at the institution and who can inform educational and research programs. This session will examine innovative strategies for African universities to engage across all sectors and the impact these engagements are having the transformation of the African higher education sector.