STIAS appoints Edward Kirumira as new Director

24 October 2018

The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study has appointed Professor Edward K. Kirumira as its new Director. He will succeed Professor Hendrik Geyer who completes his final term as STIAS Director at the end of 2018. Prof. Kirumira joins STIAS from the beginning of November 2018 and will assume official duties on the 1st of January 2019.

Kirumira Geyer
Professors Edward Kirumira and Hendrik Geyer

Edward K. Kirumira is Professor of Sociology and outgoing Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere University in Uganda, a position he has held for five years. Before that he was also the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences for eight years.

He studied at the Universities of Makerere and Exeter, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He obtained his PhD in Sociology from Copenhagen University in collaboration with Harvard University. He specialised in population and reproductive health, and has done extensive interdisciplinary research on HIV/AIDS, emergent diseases and international health issues, health-seeking behaviour, poverty and rural-development studies. He has published widely in local and international scholarly journals.

Included among many prestigious national and international appointments, Prof. Kirumira is a member of the Partnership Committee for HIV & AIDS, Malaria and TB National Response of the Uganda AIDS Commission; a Fellow and immediate past Treasurer & Council member of the Ugandan National Academy of Sciences; and, Chairperson of the Academy’s Forum on Health and Nutrition and the Forum on Prevention of Violence Against Children. He chaired the Programme Development and Resource Mobilisation Committee of the Uganda Central Co-ordinating Mechanism for the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria country programme for several years and since August 2017 is the Chairperson of the Board of the Uganda Central Co-ordinating Mechanism for the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.

He has carried out consultancies and technical assistance in programme development and project design, management and evaluation in many African countries including South Africa (where he contributed to the development of the government’s AIDS programme), as well as the United States, Mexico, Denmark and the United Kingdom. He has led or been part of several technical teams on behalf of the World Health Organization, the Global Programme on AIDS, the United Nations AIDS Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the Danish International Development Agency, the Swedish government, the Norwegian government, the US National Academies of Science and the Ugandan government. He is also a founder member and chair of the Partnership for Africa’s Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA) and member of several research networks in Africa including CODESRIA, OSSREA, and, as well as networks in Europe, North America and Asia.

Kirumira therefore brings a strong research background as well as extensive experience in institution and network building.

He has successfully mobilised financial support for a variety of research and institutional capacity building projects. Under his leadership a portfolio of several hundred million US Dollars was secured from the Global Fund for national programme response to HIV & AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Desmond Smith, Chair of the STIAS Board of Directors said:

“The Selection Committee was impressed by Professor Kirumira’s vision for STIAS to further enhance the quality of the core research program, to vigorously expand the Iso Lomso program focused on the next generation of African scholars and leaders and to make STIAS an academic and intellectual hub in service of the continent and research globally.

“We warmly welcome him to the STIAS family. He has the full support of the Board of Directors and we look forward to the next phase of the Institute’s growth under his leadership.”

In an interview after his appointment, Kirumira said:

“It’s scary but a great privilege to hold this position” and added ”I want to bring to STIAS a passion for scholarship but also a passion for situating that scholarship within an institutional structure. I come from a position of building higher education institutional capacity from both an academic and administration view. If you don’t have good governance it’s difficult for scholarship to flourish,” he said. “And also feeding into development processes without having these processes affecting or directing scholarship.”

“Part of the attraction is that STIAS presents itself as that space,” he continued. “Not constrained by institution or discipline or trends but with the power to feed and direct those trends.”

“It’s also a place for good, upcoming, young scholars to test their ideas. I’m excited and look forward to be part of a space that allows somebody to have these opportunities.”

“We talk about decolonialities and Africanisation but how do we put them into practice? I see myself as part of that experiment.”

“And especially at Stellenbosch,” he added. “It should happen here and will probably make much more impact than elsewhere. I hope it can be seen as part of reconstructing. Scholars have a responsibility to reconstruct. If we want change we must be part of it rather than waiting for someone else or for a crisis to impose it.”

In his opinion, people do not always appreciate the strategic importance of an institution like STIAS. “But we need to express and be proud of this. I hope that STIAS can position itself even more strongly as a thinking/knowledge creator. We need to grab the opportunity and purpose for which it was created.”

“I want to bring my understanding and appreciation of the continent and add it to the scholarship capacities and see whether we can facilitate change. People’s presence at STIAS should be the beginning of a contribution to something bigger,” he concluded.


STIAS was founded in 1999 by Stellenbosch University and functioned under the auspices of the university until 2007 when a not-for-profit (Section 21) company was established. STIAS is now governed by its own Board of Directors.

STIAS is situated on the historic Mostertsdrift farm in Stellenbosch. In 2005 a donation from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation enabled STIAS to build a modern research and seminar centre. Here, sustainable architecture and beautiful, tranquil surroundings have been fused to form a ‘creative space for the mind’ where top researchers and intellectual leaders are nurtured and encouraged to find innovative and sustainable solutions to issues facing the world, the country and the continent. STIAS provides the opportunity for high-level research and intellectual development, and attracts some of the world’s leading scholars and researchers.

Media enquiries:

Michelle Galloway, Mobile: +27 (0) 84 604 4955, e-mail: [email protected]

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STIAS is a creative space for the mind.