Fordham and the University of Pretoria formalized their relationship with a memorandum of understanding that allows for the exchange of students and faculty, joint research, and the exchange of scientific and educational literature, the universities have announced.
Stephen Freedman, Ph.D., provost and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Fordham, and Cheryl de La Rey, vice chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria, signed the agreement between the two universities on March 12 at a ceremony at the University of Pretoria.

“This is a significant day for our partnership, and for the globalization of curricula at our two institutions,” Freedman said. “This commitment between the University of Pretoria and Fordham ensures that our students will be better educated, both as scholars and global citizens, and that both universities will benefit from joint research and a more formalized program of shared publications.”

The partnership between the two universities began with the establishment of the Emerging Markets program in the summer of 2008 under the leadership of Henry Schwalbenberg, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and director of the International Political Economy and Development (IPED) graduate program.

That collaboration has since grown, providing opportunities for research and for program and curricula planning—including the undergraduate Ubuntu Program, a Fordham service learning program established in partnership with the Jesuit Institute in South Africa and the University of Pretoria. Ubuntu welcomed its first cohort in January 2012, and its second cohort of students arrived on the campus of the University of Pretoria last month.

In its second year, Ubuntu has been strengthened by a formal agreement with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. The agreement, signed in a ceremony on March 14 in Capetown, South Africa, formally established the Ubuntu Program of Fordham University in Association with The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

The mission of the Tutu Foundation is guided by the concept of Ubuntu. According to Archbishop Tutu, “A person with Ubuntu is open and available for others…knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole.” This concept, closely aligned to the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, was central in the development of the Ubuntu Program.

During his trip to South Africa, Freedman also presided over the dedication of office space for Fordham University Pretoria, made possible through the generosity of the University of Pretoria and Gerhard Coetzee, special adviser at inclusive banking, Absa (formerly Amalgamated Banks of South Africa Limited), and professor at the Centre for Inclusive Banking in Africa, University of Pretoria. The offices will enable Fordham staff, faculty, students, and visitors to integrate more fully into the campus life of the University of Pretoria.