The University of Johannesburg (UJ) welcomed the South Africa-Sweden University Forum (SASUF) on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. SASUF is a strategic initiative that brings together 40 partner universities from both countries, and which aims to strengthen ties between Sweden and South Africa in research, education, and innovation. This event was in part a preparation for an important conference scheduled for May 2024.
The forum, attended by Vice-Chancellors from both countries, underscored the importance of this collaboration. “This is a space where diverse perspectives converge, where innovative ideas are nurtured, and where the seeds of future collaborations are sown,” said Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ).
SASUF’s activities have already yielded impressive results, with over 70 collaborative projects addressing challenges linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable development is recognized as the pathway to a more inclusive and equitable future, and SASUF is committed to making a tangible impact.
The forum also highlighted the importance of societal impact, emphasising the need to translate academic research and efforts into real-world solutions. “It is our responsibility to take the lead by generating ideas, taking action, and implementing programmes that intentionally aim to alleviate these challenges and create a positive influence on the world surrounding us,” said Prof Mpedi.
SASUF’s future agenda includes proposing a new collaboration period, discussing co-ownership of the project, identifying thematic focus areas, and securing financial commitments. With these steps, SASUF is poised to continue making significant strides in the field of sustainable development.
The event concluded with a call to action, urging participants to work together to pave the way for a brighter, more interconnected future. Prof Mpedi said, in his message of hope and optimism: “I am certain that we will posit many solutions in these walls and beyond. SASUF’s potential to shape the future of education, research, and innovation on a global scale is undeniable. SASUF’s commitment to sustainable development and international collaboration is steadfast, and its impact will undoubtedly be felt far beyond the walls of UJ.”