MIT News –
Now in its seventh year, the MIT-Wits Program is one of MIT’s most active in Africa. Whether through MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI)-organized student opportunities and faculty seed funds, visiting professors, or its array of edX courses, the relationship is as strong as ever.
Known fondly known as Wits (and pronounced “Vits”), the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is one of South Africa’s oldest and most celebrated universities. Much like MIT, Wits has evolved alongside society — from a small technical institute focused on mining to a dynamic, diverse, and progressive research university with 40,000 students, 33 schools, and multiple Nobel Prizes under its belt.
“Generations of South African business and industrial leaders have been educated at Wits; so have many top politicians, trade unionists, and activists. Nelson Mandela is an alumnus of Wits,” says Professor Barry Dwolatzky, emeritus professor in the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering. “Our partnership with MIT over the past seven years has grown stronger and has found important synergies between our two important institutions. This has been achieved via the close collaborative engagement between Professor Hazel Sive and myself.”
“I set up this program as Wits is one of the very top research universities in Africa, and a good partner for MIT,” says MIT biology professor and Wits alumna Hazel Sive, who established the MIT-Wits Program. “Wits has a student population representative of South African demographics, and serves as a clearinghouse for students from other African countries.”