SANORD is a network that brings together Nordic and Southern African higher education institutions for research, dialogue and joint endeavours based on shared fundamental values of democracy, social equity and academic engagement.
It promotes opportunities for research and mobility between the 50 partner institutions in the network. The network seeks to address new local and global challenges related to innovation and development. The SANORD Central Office is at UWC, a branch of the university’s International Relations Office.
The theme for this conference was ''Finding Solutions: The Nexus between SDGs and South-North Partnerships: Prospects, Challenges and Successes During the COVID-19 Era.''
In her opening remarks on the first day of the conference, SANORD chair, Pro-Rector Gro Anita Fonnes Flaten (pictured), said: “I am so proud of this vibrant network. More than 50 universities and 12 countries in the Nordic region and Southern Africa were represented. SANORD has a long history of bridging the gaps between universities, between areas of knowledge and research, between research, education and administration and between the South and the North. The network is general and the annual conference in particular is an arena for sharing knowledge and experiences and for developing equal partnerships across borders and boundaries. The challenges we face require a broad and interdisciplinary approach, which is reflected in the programme for this conference.”
Mr Umesh Bawa (pictured), International Relations and SANORD director at UWC, explained: “A service to humanity with the focus on SDGs, has become crucial in the process. There is a need for collaboration and partnerships. SANORD stands on the principles of collaboration along perimeters of equity. The second is solidarity. Our partnerships benefit us and the next generation of scholars and society. The long-term goal for this conference is the way we can seed for the future that makes the quality of life better. Around solidarity, SANORD has always stood on the side of justice and anti-racism, etc.”
On the second day of the conference, Professor José Frantz, UWC Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, gave the keynote address. "The opportunity SANORD provides to us at UWC is really unique. It was started by leaders many years ago, who made the vision clear, but the question remains: Are we still true to that vision? Combining universities from the North and South was a very big vision - an impartation of knowledge, but over the years SANORD has evolved and developed, where there is an equal sharing of information, making SANORD unique in what they have to offer for us to move forward.”
In her closing remarks, Professor Nonceba Mbambo-Kekana, Director of International Relations at the University of Limpopo, said: “As SANORD principles are collaboration, solidarity and justice, in doing that let us concentrate more on what unites us rather than what separates us. Yes, there are disparities, but what should unite us is finding solutions and narrowing those gaps through SDGs. SDGs should be our common language and therefore our common culture.”