Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala Begins his Term as United Nations University Rector

1 March 2023

The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce that Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala of South Africa has today assumed office for a five-year term as the Rector of UNU.

In this role, Prof. Marwala holds the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. He is based at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.

The selection of Prof. Marwala as the seventh Rector of UNU, to succeed Dr David M. Malone of Canada (UNU Rector from 1 March 2013 to 28 Feb. 2023), was officially announced by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in July 2022. As stipulated by the UNU Charter, Prof. Marwala was selected from a panel of candidates nominated by the governing UNU Council and appointed by the UN Secretary-General in consultation with, and with the concurrence of, the Director-General of UNESCO.

Prof. Marwala comes to UNU from the University of Johannesburg, where he had served as Vice-Chancellor and Principal (2018‒2023), Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalization (2013–2017), and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (2009–2013). Prior to that (2003‒2008), he taught at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa). See below for a brief profile of Prof. Marwala.

The outgoing Rector, Dr David M. Malone, said of his successor: “I am delighted to be succeeded by such a distinguished university leader and inspiring scholar, and I wish him a future at UNU as happy as mine has been.”

The United Nations University, established in 1975, is a global research and training organisation with institutes and programmes in 12 countries. UNU focuses on research, training, and policy-relevant advisory services. As a think tank of the United Nations system, UNU maintains close relationships with other United Nations system entities and leading research institutions. The Charter of UNU provides that its research shall be devoted to “the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations”.

On behalf of the governing Council of the United Nations University, Council Chair Prof. ‘Funmi Olonisakin welcomed the new Rector, saying: “The Council looks forward to working closely with Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala to take UNU to the next stage, building on the excellent work of Dr David Malone.”

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