Stellenbosch University's purposeful intention to join networks of world-leading research-focused universities, has just received a significant boost. The Assembly of Venice International University – a consortium of 19 universities from 15 countries on four continents with a common campus on the Island of San Servolo in Venice – recently unanimously approved SU's membership.
SU is the first university from the African continent to be admitted to the ranks of the grouping of research-intensive universities following meetings with VIU leadership and the visit to VIU by Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy and Internationalisation, in June 2018.
The University's formal adhesion to VIU was signed at the Stellenbosch main campus on Friday, 1 November 2019. Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said he was very pleased with VIU's acceptance of Stellenbosch University and specifically for all the advantages and opportunities that it would bring to students and staff of SU in terms of mobility programmes, joint and split-site degree possibilities and the new dimensions that it would add to SU's identified research areas.
Mr Lorenzo Fioramonti, Minister of Education, Universities and Research in Italy, described SU's entry to VIU as a springboard for greater strengthening of relations between universities in Italy and South Africa.
Fioramonti said that the Italian government had decided to partner and invest in a selected group of universities that has the potential to make the biggest impact in scientific research – not only in their home countries, but globally. He said SU formed part of this group of universities of impact.
Ambassador Umberto Vattani, President of VIU, described SU as a scientific leader that has much to offer to the partners in VIU. He said he was looking forward to the contribution of SU researchers with “delightful anticipation".
VIU fulfils its role as a consortium by providing an innovative platform for transnational education and research. The member universities devise study programmes to prepare their students to face today's global challenges such as sustainable development, climate change, ageing, urban growth and sustainable cities.
“The VIU membership strengthens SU's strategic themes of creating networked and collaborative teaching and learning, delivering research with local, national and global impact, while contributing to the transformative learning experience with students and lecturers participating in collaborative interdisciplinary research projects," says Prof Klopper.
As a result of SU's admittance, Prof De Villiers is now an ex officio member of the VIU Assembly. Prof Hester Klopper will serve as SU's representatives on the VIU Board of Directors and a SU representative will serve on the Academic Council. These appointments will be ratified at the next meeting of the Assembly.
The full list of VIU partners is:
- Boston College of the United States
- Duke University of the United States
- Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
- Tel Aviv University of Israel
- Korea University in Seoul
- Tsinghua University of Beijing
- Ca' Foscari University of Venice
- University IUAV of Venice
- European University at Saint Petersburg
- Waseda University of Tokyo)
- Metropolitan City of Venice
- University of Padua
- University of Bordeaux in France
- National Research Council of Italy
- University of Lausanne in Switzerland
- National Institute of Scientific Research of Quebec City in Canada
- University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy
- KU Leuven of Belgium
- University of Ljubljana in Slovenia
- Stellenbosch University
Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, with the Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Mr Lorenzo Fioramonti at the occasion of the signing of the adhesion of SU to the membership of Venice International University. Behind them from left: Dr Pierguido Sarti, Science and Technology Attaché; Ms Nicoletta Cocco, Secretary to the Minister; Mr Emanuelle Pollio, Italy Consul-General; and Mr Raimondo De Cardona, Diplomatic Advisor.
Prof Wim de Villiers and Ambassador Umberto Vattani, President of Venice International University, at the signing of the adhesion of SU to VIU.
Photographer: Stefan Els