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ARUA Board Elects New Chair and Co-Chair

21st January 2021

The ARUA Board at its virtual meeting held on January 12, 2021, elected Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor of Makerere University as its Chair. It also elected as Co-Chair Professor Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University.

The election of the new Chair and Co-Chair followed the end of the tenure of Professor Idowu Olayinka (former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan) and Professor Adam Habib (former Vice Chancellor, University of the Witwatersrand). The Board expressed immense appreciation for their leadership in steering the affairs of ARUA. Prof Olayinka took over from Dr Max Price (former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town) in January 2017 as the second Chair of ARUA. Prof Adam Habib worked with Dr Price, as the co-initiators of the Alliance and had been Co-Chair since the Alliance’s inception.

In a farewell message, Prof Adam Habib thanked the Board for the cooperation he enjoyed throughout his tenure. He reiterated his call for a ‘reimagining of higher education in Africa’ given the transnational nature of the challenges faced on the continent and around the globe. He stressed that it was necessary at this point in history to collaboratively harness institutional capacity and human capability to address the challenges – a collaborative effort that is not rhetorical, but a true partnership of teaching, learning, research and knowledge production. He noted that the current partnerships around the world were mostly unequal and did not reflect the ideal. He expressed the belief that the emergence of an organisation such as ARUA, which makes it possible to aggregate institutional capacity across the continent, was immensely critical to breaking the status quo and enabling equal participation. He wished ARUA well in its endeavours and pledged the partnership and support of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) as its new Director.

The Secretary-General paid glowing tribute to Prof Habib’s pioneering spirit and contribution to the Alliance, noting that a significant part of what ARUA represents today is the result of his ideas and support, both personally as well as through University of the Witwatersrand. Members of Board also acknowledged Prof Habib’s commitment and thanked him for the work he had put into making the Alliance what it has become. They urged him to continue to be an ARUA ambassador and a courageous voice for the African continent’s capacity and capabilities. They wished him well and expressed their desire to collaborate with him in the future.

The newly elected Chair also expressed his deep appreciation to Prof Habib for the initiative and resolve to champion the cause of the Alliance with Dr Max Price – an initiative which makes it possible to exploit the synergies of higher education institutions in Africa.