Following consultations with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay, and with her concurrence, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Professor Tshilidzi Marwala of South Africa as Rector of the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo.
Professor Marwala will be the seventh Rector of the United Nations University, as of 1 March 2023. The decision to appoint Professor Marwala was taken after an extensive international search process. Professor Marwala will succeed Professor David M. Malone of Canada who has served as UNU Rector since 2013.
Professor Marwala is an accomplished scholar and thought leader with multi-disciplinary research interests 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.
Currently, Professor Marwala is the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalization (2013-2017) and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (2009-2013) at the University of Johannesburg. From 2003 to 2008, he progressively held the positions of Associate Professor, Full Professor, the Carl and Emily Fuchs Chair of Systems and Control Engineering as well as the SARChI Chair of Systems Engineering at the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, University of California at Berkeley, Wolfson College of the University of Cambridge and Nanjing Tech University. Furthermore, he has been a member of the International Consultative Council at the Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, Poland, International Visiting Committee at Case Western Reserve University and a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Professor Marwala holds a doctorate specializing in Artificial Intelligence and Engineering from the University of Cambridge, a Master of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (magna cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University. He is a registered professional engineer, a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Science of South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences and the South African Academy of Engineering. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a distinguished member of the Association for Computing Machinery. He is fluent in English, Venda and Afrikaans.
UNU is a global think tank with 13 institutes in 12 countries. Through collaborative research and education, UNU supports efforts to resolve the pressing global challenges of human development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations and its Member States. UNU works in close partnership with other United Nations System organizations and leading research institutions to ensure that evidence-based research informs policymaking and generates solutions that improve the lives of people everywhere.