Catherine Odora Hoppers 2012


Catherine Alum Odora Hoppers is a distinguished scholar, policy specialist, and public intellectual on issues of international development and North-South questions, social policy, disarmament, peace and human security.

Raised in Uganda, she enrolled for a Teachers' Diploma in Education at the National Teachers College, Kyambogo, Uganda and completed it at the Kwame Nkrumah Teachers College in Zambia in 1978.

Thereafter, she enrolled for a BA degree in Education at the University of Zambia with which she graduated 1981. Continuing her studies some years later, she completed a Masters of Social Sciences in International and Comparative Education from Stockholm University’s Institute of International Education with a first class pass in 1992.

Whilst juggling work and studies, in 1998, she completed her PhD (Social Sciences) in International and Comparative Education also at Stockholm University. 

Her extensive experience has taken her to many places, one of the highlights being working within the UN system. She is a long standing UNESCO expert in the area of basic education and lifelong learning; was a member of the International Faculty of the United Nations International Leadership Academy (Amman-Jordan); and has served as regional expert to the World Economic Forum and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on traditional knowledge and community intellectual property rights.

In the area of Peace, she is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Hague Appeal for Peace (New York); was a Co-Convenor of the Global Political Economy Commission, a member of the Council of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), and of the Faculty of TRANSCEND. She was part of the team that prepared the UN Study on Disarmament Education submitted and approved by the General Assembly (2002).

She was a technical adviser on Indigenous Knowledge systems to the Portfolio committee on Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, a Distinguished Professional at the Human Sciences Research Council, an Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria and has been a visiting lecturers and professor at no less than 16 universities worldwide. She is also a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

In 2001, Professor Hoppers was appointed by the then Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology to head the Task Team to draft the national policy and redraft the legislation on Indigenous Knowledge Systems which is now under full implementation. In January 2008, she was appointed as the NRF-South African Research Chair in Development Education at the University of South Africa, Pretoria, as part of South African Department of Science and Technology’s strategic knowledge and human resource intervention into the higher education landscape in South Africa.

Catherine has numerous publications, papers and addresses under her belt and well as a plethora of awards and achievements.   

In recognition of her work on gender, science and innovation, and the integration of indigenous knowledge systems which has created ground-breaking shifts in traditional knowledge paradigms, it is an honour for NMMU to confer the degree of Philosophiae Doctor Educationis (honoris causa) on CATHERINE ALUM ODORA HOPPERS.