Agreement to Benefit Agriculture and Life Sciences Studies Worldwide
The South African Agricultural and Life Sciences Deans Association (SAALSDA) and the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will see the newly-instituted SAALSDA operating on a global level by collaborating with universities and institutions around the world.
President of SAALSDA, Professor Albert Modi, signed the MoU with GCHERA, with the support of the National Research Foundation (NRF).
SAALSDA was initiated in March 2014 in response to the need to improve perceptions of the study of Agricultural and Life Science disciplines through linking Agricultural and Life Sciences university departments across South Africa, Africa and the world. The association aims to encourage the participation of all universities and technikons in South Africa which offer Agricultural and Life Science studies.
Modi, who is also a Senior Fellow of GreenMatter, was unanimously voted in as the association’s first President, and in that position has championed the establishment of a MoU with GCHERA, a global organisation which links Agricultural and Life Sciences association to one another.
GCHERA’s aims as an organisation are to encourage global collaboration and co-operation between Higher Education associations such as SAALSDA and their constituent member institutions. The global context afforded by being linked with GCHERA ensures that the work of SAALSDA and its constituent member institutions remains relevant and promotes innovation, research and outreach in those specific disciplines.
GCHERA supports the vital development of agricultural education so that graduates are equipped to meet the challenges facing the world in terms of efforts required to combat poverty, promote biodiversity, improve health and nutrition, and ensure sustainable development, among other things.
According to Modi, the signing of this MoU enables SAALSDA to participate in GCHERA’s global agenda and have access to their support as well as gain collaborative advantage to work with other universities worldwide to engage in activities related to agriculture and life sciences.
‘This MoU is a milestone for SAALSDA, which is a new organisation and it is hoped that the South African universities and other institutions will take advantage of the MoU and participation in SAALSDA,’ said Modi.
The purpose of the MoU is to strengthen the co-operation between SAALSDA and GCHERA in a collaborative effort to lead the way to a better future through agricultural and life science education, research and innovation. This will be a mutually beneficial exercise which will see these associations working towards achieving their goals of ensuring food security, promoting sustainable development and natural resource management, enhancing nutrition and providing economic opportunities for rural communities.
GCHERA will provide the platform needed for SAALSDA to discuss strategic developments in Agricultural and Life Science universities in terms of research, innovation and education, while representing the interests of SAALSDA in global forums.
Part of SAALSDA’s role in the agreement with the Confederation is to promote and support joint activities such as conferences and projects with members of GCHERA.