The International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) is one of the university's key transformation sites, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Njabulo S Ndebele, said in a commemorative publication to mark 10 years of internationalisation at UCT.
The publication was launched last week to showcase IAPO's significant international initiatives, run between 1996 and 2006.
Ndebele said UCT's international research links and student exchange programmes had brought welcome diversity to classrooms and academic debates. UCT's African initiatives were especially important, including the University Science, Humanities and Engineering Partnerships in Africa (USHEPiA) programme and the Student Leadership Exchange Programme with the University of Dar es Salaam.
UCT currently has over 4 000 international students from 104 countries on its books, accounting for 19% of the enrolment.
Last week's celebration marked another milestone - the variegated 40-year career of IAPO founder and former director, Lesley Shackleton. "If the leaders of today had participated in international programmes when they were university students, there would be much greater understanding in the world today," commented Shackleton.
Shackleton also joked about her struggle to leave the university.
She studied at UCT, worked here in various capacities, headed IAPO for 10 years (she had promised two), signed up for a PhD in gender studies, and also consulted to USHEPiA.
She was almost out of the door recently when deputy vice-chancellor Professor Martin West persuaded her to work for him. It's only one day a week, but puts her retirement on ice.
"I'd even bought a book on how to grow succulents," she laments.
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