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Brian O’Connell African Scholar Fund

Author: Institutional Advancement: (021) 959 2625

The Brian O’Connell Visiting African Scholar Fund promotes international cooperation among black scientists.

The Brian O’Connell African Scholar Fund​

The Brian O’Connell Visiting African Scholar Fund promotes international cooperation among black scientists.

Recently retired UWC rector, Prof Brian O’Connell, is still helping the University transform African scholarship, thanks to a generous endowment by the Atlantic Philanthropies and The Kresge Foundation. A new fund launched by The Atlantic Philanthropies and The Kresge Foundation in honour of recently retired UWC rector, Prof Brian O’Connell, aims to transform African scholarship and promote international collaboration.

The Atlantic Philanthropies and The Kresge Foundation have announced a joint investment of over R5 million to start the Brian O’Connell visiting African Scholar fund, which aims to strengthen the scholarly exchange in and relating to Africa. The endowed Scholar Fund will support the cost each year of bringing two to five English-speaking scientists of black African descent from anywhere in the world to UWC to build networks and engage with administrators, faculty and students.

The visiting scholars will participate in research and research capacity development, curriculum and instruction, community engagement and co-curricular activities. Professor Brian O’Connell, who recently retired after a celebrated tenure as Vice- Chancellor of UWC, says the Scholar Fund will extend his legacy by allowing the next generation of South African scientists, researchers and innovators to learn from and be inspired by the world’s leading African and international scholars and scientists.

“Our challenge is to shift the minds of the majority of South Africans to embrace change through science, in the shortest possible time and with the help of the best possible models” notes O’Connell. “We believe that can best be accomplished through exposure to English-speaking scientists of African descent, young and old, from all over the world.”

Kresge Foundation President, Rip Rapson, says Prof O’Connell has provided exceptional leadership in strengthening the University of the Western Cape and building it into an exemplary institution that, in particular, encourages black students to pursue careers in the sciences.

Thanks in part to the leadership of Prof O’Connell, the University of the Western Cape is now rated top 10 on the African continent and 100 among post-secondary institutions in the group of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations.

The UWC Vice-Chancellor believes that the success of the University of the Western Cape is a metaphor for Africa in breaking the barriers to change – “with passion but understanding”.

For more information about the Visiting African Scholar Fund, click here.



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