Sixth Chancellor of UG installed
Stabroek News
January 29, 2002

Professor Calestous Juma was yesterday afternoon installed as the sixth Chancellor of the University of Guyana (UG) initially for a three-year period.

In front of Prime Minister Sam Hinds, performing the duties of President; Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte; members of the academic and diplomatic communities, UG=s Acting Vice Chancellor Dr James Rose installed Prof Juma, who as chancellor will also be head and chief officer of UG, president of the UG Council and the UG Guild of Graduates. The installation ceremony took place in the George Walcott Lecture Theatre.

According to Dr Rose, Prof Juma was unanimously elected by members of the UG Council on January 17, to fill the position left vacant by former chancellor Rudy Insanally, now Guyana's minister of Foreign Affairs.

After taking the oath of office to discharge faithfully all the duties expected of him and to promote the well-being of the university, Prof Juma, a Kenyan, received a standing ovation from those gathered.

Among those delivering greetings and messages, were President of the University of the Guyana Student Society, Ramona Baxter; Dr Clyde Roopchand of the Guild of Graduates; Dr Marlene Cox of the Academic Board; Registrar of the University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus, William Iton; and representatives of the Association of Amazonian and Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Prof Juma, who put aside his prepared speech and spoke off the cuff, jokingly said that when he asked what the job entailed, Dr Rose told him he would only have two things to do. One, he said, was to award the degrees and chair the meetings of the Academic Board and the other was to think about the affairs of the university 24 hours a day.

Noting that universities were depositories of knowledge, Prof Juma said they would always have a future, but their position, relative to other institutions, especially government, the private sector and civil society has been the subject of much debate. Universities and societies shape each other in a variety of ways but this co-evolution, he said, was an uncertain process involving continuous dialogue and interaction.

Universities, he said, were increasingly being challenged to play leading roles in supporting national efforts to meet human needs; the challenges of globalisation were adding new pressures on universities to contribute to the scientific and technological knowledge needed to bolster the competitiveness of nations and enterprises in the global economy; and rising concern over the implementation of sustainable development programmes was offering new opportunities for universities to play new socio-economic functions.

Prof Juma is currently is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs as well as the Director of the Science, technology and Innovation Program at the Centre for International Development at Harvard University.

He is also visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdon; member of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences; member of the US National Research Council's Board on Agriculture and natural Resources and associate editor of the International Journal of bio-technology.

With a distinguished career holding several positions in international organisations and copping several international awards for his works, Prof Juma's research interest include evolutionary systems theory; science and technology policy studies; institutional change; biotechnology and biological diversity; and international environmental policy. He has also written widely on issues of science, technology and the environment.

The other former chancellors were Edgar Mortimer Duke, a Guyanese; Sir Arthur Lewis, a St Lucian; De William Demas, a Trinidadian; and Sir Shridath Ramphal, a Guyanese.