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Global Collaboration

Strategic Partnerships

UWC’s internationalisation strategy is underpinned by the principles of reciprocity, equity and mutual respect. We partner with institutions across a broad spectrum of research areas and academic programmes, with the goal of forging long-term sustainable relationships that aim to create new knowledge, build on existing scholarship and collaboratively address the global challenges facing humanity.

UWC’s network of international partners ensures an exciting exchange of students and eminent scholars from other countries to enrich the intellectual engagement between the Global North and the Global South. There is a strong and growing relationship with tertiary institutions in Africa, Europe and the Americas, as well as with China and the Asian-Pacific region. These affiliations lead to research partnerships, capacity-building and a mobility of knowledge talent to and from the university. UWC students, graduates and alumni have excelled in programmes abroad, and international students return to their home countries as global ambassadors, having thrived at UWC.

The Nordic scholarly partnerships with the universities of Bergen, Western Norway, Uppsala, Lund and Karlstad have borne fruit in the form of academic exchanges and innovative joint research, and have expanded into Biosciences, Business Innovation in the Economic and Management Sciences, Arts, Dentistry, Social Sciences and Health Sciences.

The South Africa-Sweden co-operation focuses on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is embodied by the South African Sweden Universities Forum (SASUF), which brings together researchers, funders, administrators and management from both countries to engage and drive a joint research agenda in several thematic areas.

UWC’s African-centred identity and nature has been enhanced by partnerships across Africa, with institutions such as Frantz Fanon University in Somaliland, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. These institutions have joined existing African partnerships to focus on addressing the global challenges of our time.

Tri-Continental Partnership

The Tri-Continental Partnership is a strategic relationship between UWC, the University of Missouri (UM) and Ghent University (UGent). The partnership between UWC and UM has existed for 34 years, while UGent and UWC have been engaging in collaboration for 18 years in the framework of the successful 10-year Programme on Dynamics of Building a Better Society (DBBS).

The three universities have extended their bilateral connections into a trilateral partnership, thus enhancing collaboration, from the early Memorandum of Agreement being signed in 2013 at UWC. Many joint research and scholarly engagements have been undertaken over the years. The key domains in this collaboration are Linguistics, Plant Sciences and Public Health, Astronomy, Neurosciences, Law, Humanities and Urban Planning and Psychology.

For decades, University of Missouri South African Education Programme (UMSAEP) has delivered on the goal of aiding South Africa’s disadvantaged, starting with divesting from its government’s support for the former apartheid policies. Since 1986, the University of Missouri System has partnered with UWC to advance mutual understanding between the institutions’ faculties and foster cooperative teaching, research and service projects.

When UWC and the UM System first began their academic co-operation, UWC was a university established exclusively for ‘coloured’ students under the racist apartheid regime.

From that humble beginning, UWC, in partnership with continental and international partnerships, has grown in strength. True to its DNA of being an intellectual centre of the anti-apartheid movement, it has leveraged this social justice foundation to lead in scholarly engagement, both on the continent and globally. UWC has done well in the World University Rankings, placing seventh in the Best University on the African continent. The Times Higher Education ranking for the impact of its research and global contribution has seen it enjoying a placement in the top 300 institutions worldwide.

SANORD is a network that brings together Nordic and Southern African institutions of higher education 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 located at UWC and is a branch of the International Relations Office.

UWC enjoys a strategic institutional partnership with Ghent University, which ranks as a global top 100 university and one of the major universities in Belgium.

UWC offers a joint PhD with Ghent University in the Arts and Humanities, among other faculties. Ghent University’s 11 faculties offer more than 200 courses and conduct in-depth research within a wide range of scientific domains.

UWC enjoys a close and vibrant partnership with the 180-year-old VUB, which prides itself to have helped build a better society; as an innovative, free enquiring and critical thinking university.

VUB’s values mirror those of UWC - criticality, a democratic approach and the pursuit of social justice in service to humanity. The domain of Digital Sciences is a shared collaborative interest with VUB.

For more information about UWC's Global Colloborations, visit the International Relations Office: