The History of SANORD

SANORD was founded at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in a meeting of universities from seven countries. The Centre is designed to further academic cooperation between the Southern African and Nordic regions, and to strengthen the capacity of all member institutions to address local and global challenges of innovation and development. The leadership of member institutions meets annually for discussion and planning of joint endeavours.

The Centre augments many bilateral agreements and collaborative projects between institutions in both regions.  It builds on the relationships of trust which have developed between the regions over time, and on fundamental values of democracy, social equity and academic engagement.

The founding universities are from three Southern African and four Nordic countries: Aarhus University (Denmark), University of Bergen (Norway), University of Malawi (Malawi), University of Namibia (Namibia), University of Turku (Finland), Uppsala University (Sweden), and University of the Western Cape (South Africa).

A Board of the Vice-Chancellors or their representatives directs the Centre. The first Chairperson was Professor Brian O’Connell, Rector of the University of the Western Cape and the first Vice-Chairperson was Professor Sigmund Grønmo, Rector of the University of Bergen.

SANORD’s activities and planning in the founding phase were coordinated by Dr Kjetil Flatin at UWC, a retired academic and administrator from Oslo, Norway. He was funded through the generosity of the Norwegian Fredskorpset (Peace Corps). Leolyn Jackson was appointed a Director in due course.

The Centre has its physical base at UWC, where the secretariat is established. Information about member institutions, as well as valuable research and teaching materials are made available to SANORD members on its website and other activities associated with the Centre. Workshops, seminars and conferences take place in different countries and institutions, depending on which members organise them.

An annual SANORD Council meeting takes place in conjunction with workshops and a key conference or seminar. The first meeting was held on 6-8 December 2007 at UWC with the theme “Higher Education, Research and Development: Shifting Challenges and Opportunities”.

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