Globally our societies face complex challenges ranging from climate change and food security to issues pertaining to gender, race, and many other social transformation matters.
These challenges require equally complex and innovative solutions with international networks and collaboration becoming increasingly important in providing answers.
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The South Africa Sweden University Forum (SASUF), was hosted this week at Stellenbosch University (SU) where over 400 delegates from South Africa and Sweden convened for a two-day research and innovation summit highlighting global sustainability challenges.
This forum is a strategic internationalisation project running from 2017–2020 with the overall aim of strengthening ties in research, education and innovation between Sweden and South Africa. SASUF is a collaboration between 36 universities in Sweden & South Africa together with embassies, civil society organisations, funding agencies and ministries in both countries.
In his opening remarks, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Vice-Chancellor, said that as a young democracy, South Africa has major societal challenges and stronger networks with Sweden could help address these.
“There have been a lot of developments the past 25 years, which make it even more important that our challenges are addressed – and as universities we are ideally placed to contribute to this quest. And to do so with our threefold mission – research and innovation; learning and teaching; and social engagement for impact."
He said society is increasingly looking at universities for solutions to both local problems and global crises.
During the 2017–2020 SASUF will bring together researchers from Sweden and South Africa in seminars, exchanges and projects; create innovative ways to approach internationalization and utilize the power of digital tools in international collaboration; and connect researchers with funding agencies, industry, ministries & surrounding society in working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For more about SASUF and its objectives, click here.