Conference Announcement – The 5th South African-Japan University (SAJU) Forum (28-29 July 2022)

Published On: 6 May 2022|


The South Africa-Japan University (SAJU) Forum is a platform with the aim of providing a structured framework for collaboration between the higher education institutions of the two countries. Its goals are 1) to increase mobility of researchers and students, 2) to increase joint R&D collaboration, 3) to establish exchange programs among universities and 4) to institutionalize cooperation among universities of the two countries.  The 4th SAJU Forum held in Pretoria in 2019, opened the door to mutual dialogue between scholars, universities, government agencies, science councils, business and industry in South Africa and Japan. On the occasion, scholars of diverse specialities came together from both countries and shared their research, works, achievements, perspectives and challenges. The 5th SAJU Forum aims to consolidate and extend this dialogue.

Proposed theme

For a couple of years since the last Forum, the world faces new challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant impact it has on the quality of human wellbeing, the accelerating effects of global warming, etc. Alongside these we have witnessed high levels of mutual distrust and division based on anti-scientific, anti-intellectual and anti-rational information and thinking.

On the one hand, the rapid development of digital technology has had a major impact on both academia and everyday life. In academia, it is changing the way education, research and results are implemented in society, opening up a world of possibilities.  In everyday life, cyberspace has instantly connected people and dramatically expanded the scope of their activities. On the other hand, new challenges have arisen, such as the dilution of the boundary between truth and fakery, and the control of personal information by huge platforms, where problems in cyberspace are directly linked to problems in real space.

As these new challenges erupt, we in academia must reject the use of the falsification of information for short-term political gain and the creation of new, narrow national divisions in the academic community, and strive to maintain a free and open dialogue and collaboration based on mutual trust. This is important if, as academia, we are to contribute to solving the grand challenges facing humanity. In this context, we propose the main theme of the 5th SAJU Forum as Open Collaboration and Innovation with Trust.

Under the main theme, the 5th SAJU Forum will offer researchers and students of both South Africa and Japan an opportunity to share their research interests, achievements and perspectives, and to discuss possibilities for collaboration. It will provide the opportunity to work out how scholars and universities in Japan and South Africa may explore the further development of collaboration as these societies work to address the grand challenges facing them and thereby help to shape the development of a global commons of scholars and scholarship.

Expected outcomes

Academic collaborations between Japan and South Africa (and surrounding countries) including research collaboration, social implementation, student exchange, development and implementation of joint research and educational programs and recommendations and contributions to policy and measures. It is hoped too that the SAJU 5 Forum will lead to the development of a report that may feed into the deliberations of TICAD 8 to be held in Tunisia in 2022.

Expected participants

  • Researchers from universities, research institutions and science councils;
  • Researchers/academics from existing South Africa-Japan partnerships or collaborative projects;
  • Academics; and
  • Representatives from government agencies and the private sector are interested in engaging in relevant research initiatives.


The Forum will be a combination of an abstract-driven academic conference with oral and poster presentations, panel discussions and interactive networking sessions. It will be held entirely online using online conference platforms such as Zoom (, Miro ( and Airmeet (

In addition to the academic presentations, the following sessions are planned;

  • Keynote lectures on perspectives and challenges toward open academic cooperation with trust,
  • Keynote lectures on lessons from experiences of bilateral cooperation,
  • Panel discussions on research funding, cooperation beyond academia and platforms for academic networking,
  • Student led session on selected topics.

Under the main theme of Open Collaboration and Innovation with Trust, we invite a wide range of presentations from researchers and students with an interest in academic collaboration between South Africa and Japan. Possible research topics are as follows;

  1. Health and wellness: medical science, public health, sports, arts, culture, education, transportation, city planning, and area studies.
  2. Security and social justice: food security, water security, agriculture, environment, clean energy, ecology, citizenship, resource management, poverty reduction, area studies, and politics.
  3. Growth, exploration and conservation: economics, business science, natural sciences, development, art and humanities, sociology, cultural studies, heritage, area studies, and politics.


The 5th SAJU Forum is organized by the Joint Organizing Committee consist of the representative of the related organizations and universities from South Africa and Japan; University of Tsukuba, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Embassy of Japan in South Africa, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Universities South Africa, National Research Foundation, Department of Science and Innovation, Department of Higher Education and Training, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa, Japan.


The Secretariat of the 5th SAJU Forum: