19.04.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

UNESCO mourns former President of the Intergovernmental Council of the Management of Social Transformations Programme

Dr. Zola Skweyiya

UNESCO learnt with deep sorrow about the death of the former President of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme Intergovernmental Council (IGC) and South Africa’s former Minister of Social Development and High Commissioner, Dr. Zola Skweyiya, who died on 11th April 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Dr. Skweyiya was the President of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s MOST Programme from 2005 to 2009.  The objective of the MOST programme, which is managed by the Sector for Social and Human Sciences, is to support Member States in improving policymaking processes through a strengthened research-policy interface to contribute to the implementation of international and national development goals.  Dr Skweyiya and South Africa played an important and dynamic role in enhancing the impact and visibility of the Programme globally during his tenure as President.

In 2005, Dr Skweyiya participated at a MOST event at UNESCO’s Liaison Office in New York in conjuncture with the session of United Nations Commission for Social Development focusing on “Review of further implementation of the World Summit for Social Development and the outcome of the 24th special session of the General Assembly”.  At this meeting, he advocated for MOST Regional Forum of Ministers of Social Development, gathering Ministers, researchers and the UN system to be expanded to all regions. Following this, he participated in Ministerial Forums in the South Asia region, in sub-regions in Africa and in the Ministerial Forum for the Arab region in Jordan.   

He played a key role during the MOST International Forum on the Research-Policy Nexus organized by MOST and the Governments of Argentina and Uruguay in 2006, gathering about 2000 participants including policy makers, UNESCO National Commissions, regional research organizations, researchers and civil society organisations; and was a speaker in several sessions.

During his Presidency, he was also a speaker in MOST events in conjuncture with the Commission for Social Development in New York, including one co-organised with the Government of South Africa focusing on ageing.  Furthermore, he was a keynote speaker in MOST events during the first World Social Science Forum organised by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and Norwegian institutions, in Bergen, Norway under the patronage of UNESCO in 2009.  In respect of the important role he had played for MOST during his Presidency of the IGC and for his legacy in the Programme, he was a keynote speaker in a MOST event during the last World Social Science Forum in Durban, South Africa, organised by the ISSC in 2015, gathering Ministers from several regions and regional research organisations. His strong vision, energy and actions have contributed to an increased recognition, participation and impact of the MOST programme globally.

UNESCO remembers Dr Skweyiya with great appreciation and respect for his devotion and important contribution to the MOST Programme and its development and for his warm and humble personality.

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