UNESCO appoints South Africa’s Marwala UN University Rector in Japan

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Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has appointed University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala the new rector of the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan.

Professor Marwala will be the university’s seventh rector and will take up his new post from next March. He succeeds Canada’s Professor David M. Malone who has headed the university for the past nine years.

The United Nations University is a global think tank of 13 institutes in 12 countries. It supports efforts to resolve global human development challenges working closely with other United Nations system organizations and leading research institutions.

An academic for most of his working life, Professor Marwala was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalization at UJ till 2017 and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment before then.

“Professor Marwala is an accomplished scholar and thought leader with multi-disciplinary research interests that include the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine,’’ the United Nations said in a statement. “He has an extensive track record in human capacity development and is committed to leveraging technology and global connectedness towards the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.’’

He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, Wolfson College of the University of Cambridge and Nanjing Tech University. He has also previously served as a member of the International Consultative Council at the Silesian University of Technology in Poland and is a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Professor Marwala holds a doctorate specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Engineering from the University of Cambridge, a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

His work is internationally recognized and among other things he is a fellow of The World Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences and the South African Academy of Engineering.-cnbcafrica