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International Symposium on The Role of Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Africa


Date: Thursday, 13 October, 2011

Time: 10:00-18:00

Location: U Thant Hall, UNU Headquarters

Organizers: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT), UNU-ISP

Supported by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Japan

Contact: Yaeko Higo, UNU-ISP

As the world begins to approach the terminal years of two important international initiatives, the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2014), and the Millennium Development Goals (2015), Africa is receiving more and more attention because of the multitudinous and deep-rooted challenges it faces for achieving sustainable development. There is a consensus emerging that African countries need to build up their capacities to cope with these challenges and, for this purpose, their higher education institutions need to drastically improve their own educational programmes and associated research facilities for turning out future generations of professionals.

Since October 2008 the United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) has teamed up with a number of leading African universities to develop a postgraduate education program for sustainable development in Africa. This effort, supported by the Japanese Government, UNEP, UN-HABITAT and UNESCO, as well as selected Japanese and Northern European universities, has culminated in the formulation of three thematic programmes, respectively, on ‘integrated rural development,’ ‘sustainable urban development’ and ‘ management of mineral resources.’   

This symposium aims at reporting and sharing the principal features of the programmes and discussing ways to help the African partner universities implement these programmes. Around 20 experts from African universities, including four Presidents, as well as leading personalities from universities in developed countries and international organizations will engage in an exchange of views on innovative ways to achieve sustainable development in Africa through higher education.

The conference is free and open to the public. Japanese/English interpretation will be provided.


Online registration is now closed. However, on-site registration will be available at the registration desk. Please bring a printout of your registration email confirmation or your photo ID. We look forward to welcoming you to this event.


10:00-10:20 Welcome Remarks

Prof. Konrad Osterwalder, Rector, UNU

Opening Statement

MEXT representative

Keynote Speech
10:20-10:40 Developing Professionals for Sustainable Development in Africa

Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazak, Secretary, National Science and Technology Council, Kenya

10:40-11:00 Supporting Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Asia and Africa

Prof. Akihiko Tanaka, Vice President, International Affairs, University of Tokyo

Panel Discussion
11:00-12:30 Role of Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Africa

Prof. Steven Simukanga, Vice Chancellor, University of Zambia
Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana
Prof. Olive Mugenda, Vice Chancellor, Kenyatta University
Moderator: Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Vice Rector, UNU

12:30-14:00 Lunch Reception
Panel Presentation
14:00-15:30 Innovation in African Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Integrated Rural Development: Prof. Edwin Gyasi, University of Ghana
Sustainable Urban Development: Dr. Dorcas Otieno, Kenyatta University
Mineral Resources Management: Prof. Francis Petersen, University of Cape Town
Moderator: Prof. Masafumi Nagao, UNU-ISP

15:30-16:00 Break
Panel Session
16:00-17:50 Supporting Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Africa

Keynote Discussion
Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies


Mr. Tetsuo Suzuki, Director, Business Strategy Department, Planning division, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation

Dr. Gulelat Kebede, Chief, Training and Capacity Building Branch, Global Division, United Nations Human Settlements Programme

Mr. Mahesh Pradhan, United Nations Environment Programme

Dr. Agnes Soucat, Director, Human Development Deparatment, African Development Bank (TBC)

Mr. Bjarne Garden, Deputy Director, Department for Global Health, Education and Research, NORAD

Ambassador Gert Grobler, South African Embassy, Japan (TBC)

Moderator: Prof. Takashi Mino, Senior Advisor and Supervisor, Graduate Program in Sustainability Science, University of Tokyo

17:50-18:00 Closing Remarks

Dr. Elias Ayuk, Director, UNU-INRA

UNU Seminar

On the following day, 14 October 2011, there will be a seminar held to further discuss the issues of this symposium. Kindly note that it will only be held in English and will be academic in nature. For more details, please visit: UNU Seminar on Higher Education for Sustainable Development in Africa.