Saths Cooper obtained his PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology from Boston University as a Fulbright scholar in 1989.
A close associate of the late Steve Biko, he has played a key role in the anti-Apartheid struggle, the advent of democracy in South Africa (SA), the unification and ascendancy of psychology and youth and community reconstruction and development during and after Apartheid. He was banned and house-arrested in 1973 and jailed for nine years (spending over five years in Robben Island in the same cell-block as former President Mandela) and was declared a ‘victim of gross human rights violations’ by SA’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1998. He has been the recipient of many citations and awards (including the inaugural IUPsyS Achievement Against the Odds Award), has been relied on by foreign and SA agencies, institutions and leaders to advise and inform them on socio-economic-political developments, and has facilitated foreign and local investment and development in Southern Africa.
He chaired the statutory Professional Board for Psychology at the Health Professions Council of South Africa, was Vice-President of the latter (the first non-medical/dental professional to assume such office) and chairs the SA ICSU Board at the National Research Foundation, which oversees SA’s involvement in ICSU-related scientific learned societies.
The last Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Durban-Westville, he works in the health, education and training sectors.