Connecting Africa and Asia through Advanced Study

Moderator: Prof Alexander Zehnder, Nanyang Technology University

Panelist: Dr Sahba Besharati, University of the Witwatersrand

Panelist: Prof BVR Chowdari, Nanyang Technology University

Panelist: Prof Charles Mbohwa, University of Johannesburg

Panelist: Dr Kristen Sadler, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Panelist: Prof Peter Vale, University of Johannesburg

Successful Intercultural Collaboration between South Africa and Singapore as a new model for advancement of science, innovation and outreach. The Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) is an initiative of the University of Johannesburg and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. In this session, an introduction to JIAS will be presented as well as examples that highlight the potential benefits of strong inter-institutional and inter-cultural collaborations.

Prof Alexander J.B. Zehnder, Nanyang Technological University
Alexander J.B. Zehnder is Visiting Professor and member of the Board of Trustees of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, founder and director of triple Z Ltd., former president of the ETH Board and Professor emeritus of ETH Zurich, Switzerland. His scientific work has focused on water policy, the nexus between water, energy and food security, water safety and infrastructures, as well as innovative solutions in industrial water treatment, particularly in the oil and gas industry. He did much work on the scientific and economic fundamentals for sustainable development. Earlier work was in the field of fundamentals and application of microbial ecology and microbial physiology. Outside of academia he is involved in developing capital market instruments for more sustainable production and use of natural resources. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index is based on some of his contributions. He is one of the “founding fathers” of the concept of the “2000 Watt” Society. He helped to build up the Swiss innovation environment and has reorganized NTU’s innovation system.


Dr Sahba Besharati, Wits Medical School
Sahba Besharati is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). She
completed a collaborative PhD in neuropsychology from Kings College London and the University of Cape Town (UCT), having previously trained in psychological research and clinical
neuropsychology during her MA at UCT. Dr Besharati is a Commonwealth Scholar whose
research integrates neuroimaging, neuropsychological and experimental methods to investigate
disorders of self-consciousness following brain damage, and the development of self-awareness
and social cognition during childhood and infancy. She is particularly interested in the recent
interdisciplinary approach of a social, cognitive and affective neuroscience.


Prof B.V.R. Chowdari, Nanyang Technological University
Prof. B.V.R. Chowdari has obtaining his Ph.D and Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) degrees
from IIT Kanpur and the Mangalore University, India, respectively. He is a Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering and also Senior Executive Director in the President’s Office, Nanyang Technological University (NTU).Prof. Chowdari was awarded “Officer in the Order of Academic Palms” title by French Government, “Business Event Ambassador” title by Government of Singapore, and “Outstanding Science Entrepreneur” award by NUS. He is the Honorary Advisor to the Government of Andhra Pradesh, India, and also a member of its Knowledge Commission. He is the President of the Materials Research Society of Singapore and the former President of the “International Union of Materials Research Societies”. His research interests lie in developing materials for Lithium Ion Batteries. He has published about 300 papers and trained more than 20 students for PhD degree. He has ~15,000 citations with hindex of 65.His administrative responsibilities include fostering research collaborations between NTU and the Indian Universities and Institutes of Higher Learning. He is a member of the Governing Board of the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Studies (JIAS), an initiative of the Johannesburg University, South Africa, and NTU, Singapore.


Prof Charles Mbohwa, University of Johannesburg
Professor Charles Mbohwa is a Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. He is an established researcher and professor in the field of sustainability engineering and energy. Professor Mbohwa has published more than 350 papers in peer-reviewed journals and conferences, 10 book chapters and three books. He has a Scopus h-index of 11 and Google Scholar h-index of 14. Upon graduating with his BSc Honours in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Zimbabwe in 1986, he was employed as a mechanical engineer by the National Railways of Zimbabwe. He holds a Masters in Operations Management and Manufacturing Systems from University of Nottingham and completed his doctoral studies at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology in Japan.

He was a Fulbright Scholar visiting the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute at the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, a Japan Foundation Fellow, is a Fellow of the Zimbabwean Institution of Engineers and is a registered mechanical engineer with the Engineering Council of Zimbabwe. He has been a collaborator in projects of the United Nations Environment Programme. He has also visited many countries on research and training engagements including the United Kingdom, Japan, German, France, the USA, Brazil, Sweden, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mauritius, Austria, the Netherlands, Uganda, Namibia and Australia. He has had several awards including British Council Scholarship, Japanese Foundation Fellowship, Kubota Foundation Fellowship; Fulbright Fellowship.


Dr Kristen Sadler, Nanyang Technological University
As Research Director (Strategy & Biosciences), Kristen creates and implements research strategy through interactions with component colleges, schools and institutes and national
and international industrial, university and governmental agencies. She is Director of NTU Global Dialogue Institute. The Institute aims to be an Asian interdisciplinary hub for sharing knowledge, generating and growing ideas, and initiating action. Kristen completed her PhD at University of Melbourne and undertook postdoctoral positions at Vanderbilt University and Nanyang Technological University developing synthetic peptides as HIV vaccine and anti-viral candidates. In 2005 she was appointed Assistant Professor and then Assistant Chair (Academic). Kristen made the transition to university management in 2011, being appointed Deputy Director then Director of Student Life, devising and implementing strategy and policy for the 34,000 students, particularly in residential education, wellbeing and orientation.

Kristen is the TEDxNTU license holder and lead curator. She is a Board member of several organisations including NTU World of Wisdom, LaTrobe Asia, and the Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Study. She is a member of the TED, TEDx, DLD and Falling Walls communities and has held positions in amateur sporting organisations in Australia, the USA and Singapore including captain, coach, team manager, president and board member.


Prof Peter Vale, Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study
Peter Vale is the Founding Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS)
and Professor of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg. He is also a Visiting Professor in Global Affairs and Public Policy at Nanyang Technological University. In 2010 he retired from the Nelson Mandela Chair of Politics, Rhodes University – he continues to hold the title as Emeritus Professor.Vale has been widely published in several fields – must recently, his work has focused South African Intellectual Traditions, Critical Perspectives on post-apartheid South Africa, and the history of Political Science in that country.With John Higgins, last year he edited a Special Issue of the journal, Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, which was published under the title, “State of Urgency: The Humanities in South Africa.”



By | 2017-12-01T07:26:36+00:00 October 9th, 2017|