South African Vice-Chancellor Appointed Rector Of United Nations University

Chanel Retief
Published 8 months ago
Screenshot 2022-07-25 at 21.06.03


Becoming the seventh Rector of the United Nations University (UNU), South African professor Tshilidzi Marwala will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer at the academic and research arm of the United Nations (UN) in Tokyo, Japan.

Key Facts

The office of the UN Secretary-General announced today that the renowned South African academic and researcher will assume office from March 1 next year.  

“In a world that finds itself in a flux and defined by great uncertainty, it is an honor to embark on a new journey that will seek to explore solutions to some of our most pressing global challenges,” Marwala says to FORBES AFRICA about the new role.

“The decision to appoint Professor Marwala was taken after an extensive international search process,” Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said at a Daily Press Briefing on July 25.  

Marwala will succeed Professor David M. Malone of Canada who has served as UNU Rector since 2013. 

Marwala is currently the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg, with experience that stretches over two decades. According to the UN, with multi-disciplinary research interests, Marwala is an accomplished scholar and “thought leader” in areas that include the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science, and medicine.  

“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,” said the UN in a statement.  

“My time at UJ has entrenched my interests in working towards developing a sustainable future not only for this generation but for generations to follow,” Marwala adds to FORBES AFRICA. “I am certain that many of the lessons I have learned as the Vice-Chancellor of UJ will stand me in good stead.”

The UNU is a global think tank with 13 institutes in 12 countries.

Marwala is also author of the upcoming book, Heal Our World: Securing Sustainable Future In Africa.