University leaders strengthen Malawi’s relationship with Dundee

Published on 5 August 2022

University leaders from Dundee and Malawi came together to launch an innovative partnership model with the potential to transform lives and support communities across Malawi and beyond.

On this page

The Blantyre Declaration represents a game-changing statement of intent, led by the University of Dundee and all of the Malawian public universities - Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi University of Business and Applied Science, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Muzuzu University and the University of Malawi.

Built on the University of Dundee’s longstanding connections with Malawi, and a shared commitment to social purpose, the declaration marks the start of a process through which partners can develop a truly equitable approach to identifying key challenges, and work together to empower communities to meet them.  

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Gillespie said:

“The Blantyre Declaration represents a commitment to working with partner universities in the Global South in a much more equitable way that ever before in order to meet our mutual challenges, such as dealing with the impacts of climate change, drug development, healthcare delivery and ensuring inclusion of women and the young in creating a prosperous society. Our first steps in implementing that commitment are with our partners in Malawi, a country with which we and Scotland have a very special relationship.

“Our University is already working with Malawian partners through our education and research programmes on issues such as, nursing and midwifery, dentistry and medical education as well as understanding ways to roll back environmental degradation. The Blantyre Declaration is a commitment to work ever more closely in partnership to design and deliver on the social purpose of our collaborations.

Professors Iain Gillespie and Paul van Gardingen, sit with His Excellency, Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of Malawi

During his visit the Principal met with the President of the Republic of Malawi, HE Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, as well as members of his Ministerial team to discuss:

  • Supporting work on climate justice and nature-based development solutions
  • Links between Malawi’s Vision 2063 goals and the University of Dundee’s areas of academic excellence
  • And how to empower young people and women and ensure their inclusion in shaping the future of the country.

The Principal said:

“During my visit I have seen first-hand the impacts of land degradation, severe drought and extreme weather on the livelihoods of people already living tough lives. We can only address these challenges by working together.  I believe that by working in partnership we have the potential to uplift knowledge and skill building, and enable people locally, nationally and globally to build a better future.”

Professor Gillespie standing on the bank of a lake, speaking to three men. There are fishing boats further back in the lake itself.

The Principal signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Dundee and the National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens (NHBG) of Malawi. This agreement marks the first step towards realizing of the potential of the Blantyre Declaration, by creating the opportunity for collaboration linked to education and nature-based solutions for sustainable development.

Professor Sosten Chiotha, world-renowned environmental scientist and Director of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) in Malawi said:

“The importance of this formal agreement between the University and the NHBG really can’t be overstated. We now have the opportunity to work with our colleagues in Dundee to get the best out of our gardens, especially in promoting sustainability. Malawi faces huge environmental challenges, and we need strong partnerships to help us solve these. The Blantyre Declaration commits all our public universities to work together and the University of Dundee’s support for all of us is both inspiring and invaluable.”

Professors Iain Gillespie and Paul van Gardingen, meeting with six representatives of our Malawian partners, four of whom are wearing scarves in the blue Dundee tartan.

Professor Chiotha joined the Principal and six Malawian Cabinet Ministers to plant trees in the gardens symbolising the fight against the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.

The visit is part of the University’s new Initiative for Africa and our Strategic commitment to work with others to make a difference in the world. 

Principal Gillespie and Professor Chiotha crouch over a newly planted tree with a watering can to the left.

Press Office, University of Dundee