Hassina Mouri, a Professor in Medical Geology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and a B rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF), has been awarded the UNESCO Chair on Medical Geology in Africa. This is the first time in the history of the UNESCO Chairs programme to award a chair in Medical Geology and with a focus on Africa.
This comes after Prof Mouri became the first African female elected as the Vice President (2020-2024) for the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), one of the world’s largest scientific organisations.
Says Prof Mouri: I am sincerely grateful for the support of UJ as well as that of the national and international organisations for my application. I am honoured and proud, not just because I am awarded such a prestigious position, but more importantly, this is the first time in the history of UNESCO Chairs programme to award a chair in Medical Geology and with a focus on Africa, and it is awarded to my institution, UJ!
This is indeed very encouraging to develop Medical Geology further especially in Africa, an emerging field, which has great potential to become a very important field of research in future given its multi, cross and interdisciplinary nature and strong alignment with most of the UN SDGs.”
Launched in 1992, the UNESCO Chairs Programme, which involves over 850 institutions in 117 countries, promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence, for example, education, the natural and social sciences, culture and communication. Higher education and research institutions are able to use their resources to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies.
Before joining UJ, Prof Mouri’s name has been associated with the University Paris 7; the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle Paris (MNHN); the University of Helsinki; the Geological Survey of Finland; the Swedish Museum of Natural History; the University of Minnesota and the University of Pretoria.
She has developed interest in medical geology since 2013 with a focus on issues related to the African continent. Since then she has trained several postgraduate students from African countries, presented her work at several international conferences, and published in several international journals.
Prof Mouri is the former chairperson of the South African National Committee for the IUGS (2017-2020), former member of the advisory board of the South African Journal of Science, and she is currently a member of the NRF rating committee for Earth Science.