Four key concepts enable us to discuss the value added by SANORD:
between Nordic and southern universities have been characterised by a
great deal of mutual respect. However, new dimensions have to be
challenges of innovation require new respect for the global intellectual
“gene pool” and so for local knowledge and perspectives. One of the
challenges for the south is the brain drain. The experience of the
International Foundation for Science (based in Stockholm) suggests that
multilateral cooperation (N-S, S-S, and N-N-S-S) is highly effective in
such circumstances .
A feature of
most projects in inter-institutional relations is the low profile of
institutional leadership. It is a weakness in several respects.
envisages a major engagement of leadership, with the opportunities for
meeting regularly on projects of sufficient scale. Rapidly emerging
features of development thinking make this vital. The New Partnership
for African Development (NEPAD) envisages substantial multilateral
N-N-S-S interventions to achieve real and sustainable capacity
development in Africa. It also opens up large new possibilities of
innovative thinking on a variety of issues within a global context.
Without the direct involvement of university leadership, very little of
this is likely to be achieved.
- While academic independence is rightly prized, without a clear
engagement of each project in a larger strategic vision, and without
committed institutional support, the impact and sustainability of work
- Larger scale projects are seldom tackled, as they would require
commitments beyond the individual funding cycle or the departmental
- The leadership of institutions seldom meet or have a joint role to
play in this context. They are prevented from developing and supporting
larger strategic interventions and from seeking the best for their own
institutions from cooperative activities. Many opportunities are missed.
- Issues of governance are not often on the cooperation agenda.
Much cooperation at present is valuable in its own terms but does relatively little for achieving any
strategic vision . The involvement of leadership immediately places the
strategic issues on the agenda and increases the scale of the
operation. Naturally, alignment with strategic focus can lead to the
best possible use of available resources.
have the capacity to further sustained engagement of the kind that helps
individuals and institutions to keep in touch and develop new
initiatives. Initially it is envisaged that this will be through the
SANORD database and website, specialist seminars, workshops and
meetings, and an annual conference.