Wednesday 25 November 2015

Nearly 100 leaders in higher education will debate the role of universities in East Africa and their contributions to nation-building at a conference to be held in Addis Ababa, the British Council has announced today.

At the conference, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chair of the African Union Commission (AU), will deliver a keynote address on the role of innovation in realising inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa.

The Global Education Dialogue, to be held on 27th November 2015, is part of the British Council’s world conference series which brings together leaders, key policy makers and influencers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing higher education. Through the theme of Building nations through innovation: the role of universities, the conference will consider how universities can build innovation hubs that are both global and local.

The conference will also consider the role of universities as more than just centres of teaching, learning and research, but also as catalysts for change, growth and investment. Delegates will discuss the increasingly crucial role universities play as anchor institutions in both established and emerging nations and the role of innovation in this process.

Dr Jo Beall, Director Education and Society and member of the Executive Board for the British Council and former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, said: “Universities are the anchors, shapers and innovators of nations. This conference will discuss how universities can build globally and locally, engaged and relevant innovation hubs. Delegates will consider how universities can maximise their human capital, knowledge creation and engagement activities to drive change and strengthen communities to contribute to the building of nations.”

Ethiopia, which has witnessed rapid growth in its higher education system with 30 universities having been established in a space of 15 years, will be represented by its Education Minister, Shiferaw Shigute Wolassa, and Dr Arkebe Oqubay, Minister and Special Advisor to the Ethiopian Prime Minister on education, who is also the founding Chancellor of the Addis Ababa Science and Technology University.

Other notable speakers at the conference will be Dr Thandi Mgwebi, the Executive Director of Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence in South Africa and the head of Kenya’s Commission for University Education, Professor David Some.

Sessions will cover:

How can universities maximise their human capital to drive change, strengthen communities and contribute to nation building?

How do we measure the economic and societal impact of universities and innovation?

How can government and industry work together with universities to drive positive change? 

Notes to Editor

About Global Education Dialogue 2015:

For more information please contact

Our world series of Global Education Dialogues brings together leaders, key policy makers and influencers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing higher education. They are facilitated dialogues by governments, universities and industry, with contributions and fresh perspectives from our network of leading thinkers. 

These events have been running for four years with the overall objective to strengthen the higher education sector globally through a forum of discussion and debate on the future of higher education. 

The British Council has worked in partnership with a range of stakeholders to organise these events across the world, locations that have hosted Dialogues include: Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, USA, India, the Philippines, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Myanmar, UAE and Pakistan 



About the British Council


The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally. 

For more information, please visit: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through