News Releases

The UWI partners with South Africa’s University of Johannesburg

For Release Upon Receipt - April 4, 2017


The University of the West Indies and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa have signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the establishment of an Institute for Global Africa Affairs, which will focus on research and policy development and assist with curriculum development.

The agreement was initialled on Monday, March 27, 2017 by The UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the UJ, Professor Ihron Rensburg.

The institute, to be managed by a board of directors, will operate at both universities and facilitate the exchange of professors and students.

It will examine a number of issues pertinent to both regions, including economic development, entrepreneurship, post-colonial governance, climate change, and youth and their identity.

Commenting on the partnership, Sir Hilary said that it presents a tremendous opportunity to share intellectual content.

“We are creating a jointly owned and managed institution to bring some of the finest thinking and research of the two universities together so as to participate in changing the conversations about sustainable development in this long 21st  century,” he said, following the signing of the agreement at The UWI, Cave Hill campus in Barbados.

He further explained, “There are going to be dozens of courses that are currently offered at UJ that will be of special interest to our students at The UWI so that we are now in position to have access to some of those programmes and, of course, there will be programmes on our side that we have developed and tested and proven that students at UJ might be interested in and we have the Open Campus that will enable that content to move between the various universities.”

The UJ Vice-Chancellor anticipates that a joint master’s degree in Global Africa Studies would be introduced in a few months to be followed by a joint PhD programme.

“The conversation brought us to focus on what the new Africa and the new African should be grappling with, what our responsibilities would be as the two universities, in particular, as we put together this new Pan African joint institute between ourselves. We’re deeply convinced that the manner in which industrialisation has proceeded, certainly the evolution of our continent over the last two generations cannot be repeated,” said Professor Rensburg.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI, Cave Hill campus, Professor V. Eudine Barriteau who was present for the signing, expects that arising from the collaboration, Caribbean students will be better equipped with African knowledge that can guide Caribbean development.

“I think it is so critical to expose our students to African knowledge systems, both in the contemporary and historic sense, and to shift them from an understanding that knowledge is produced in the North. So they will have exposure to the literature, to the economic theories, to African feminist thought. In other words, (there is) a whole body of African epistemology and knowledge that our students will now be exposed to,” she said.

Prior to the signing of the MOA, Vice-Chancellor Rensburg delivered a public lecture titled: Global Africa—Imagining a New Future. A recorded stream of the lecture can be viewed  

Other members of the visiting seven-member UJ team included: Professor Andre Swart, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences; Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, Executive Dean, Faculty of Law; Professor Cheryl Hendricks, Professor and Head of Department of Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Humanities,  Professor Chris Landsberg, Professor (SARChi Chair), African Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, Professor Adekeye Adebajo, Director, Institute for Pan African Thoughts and Conversation; and Dr Pinkie Mekgwe,  Executive Director, Division for Internationalisation.



Photo caption:

From left to right: Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg, Professor Ihron Rensburg, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI, Cave Hill campus, Professor V. Eudine Barriteau, and Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.


About the University of Johannesburg:

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) – one of the largest, multi-campus, residential universities in South Africa – seeks to achieve the highest distinction in scholarship and research within higher education. Born from the 2005 merger between the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR), and the Soweto and East Rand campuses of Vista University, the University of Johannesburg’s unique academic architecture reflects a comprehensive range of learning programmes leading to a variety of qualifications, from vocational and traditional academic to professional and postgraduate, across four campuses in Johannesburg: Auckland Park Kingsway, Auckland Park Bunting Road, Doornfontein and Soweto. The campuses vary in size and each has its own character and culture, contributing to the institution’s rich diversity. UJ is a proudly South African, premier city university rooted in Africa. It shares the pace and energy of cosmopolitan Johannesburg. Noted for its strength in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the UJ’s academic offerings spring from a bedrock of distinguished scholarship, excellence in teaching, reputable research and innovation. The university is committed to delivering outstanding higher education to students of exceptional calibre and potential from around the world. With a focus on identified research niche areas, community engagement, and a commitment to internationalisation, the UJ stands poised to address the challenges of the 21st century by combining the best of university and vocation-oriented education inherited from the years of experience of its constituting institutions. For more, visit


About The UWI:

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)