Saths Cooper Profile

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Saths Cooper obtained his PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology from Boston University as a Fulbright scholar in 1989.

Vice President (Information & Communications) of the International Social Science Council and President of the Pan-African Psychology Union, he is a Fellow of the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) and the National Academy of Psychology - India, and Honorary Fellow of the British and Irish Psychological Societies. He has played leadership roles in various community, cultural, educational, developmental, political, professional, scientific, student, worker and youth entities in South Africa (SA) and abroad. He has informed institutional and governmental policy, and is a regular commentator in the print and electronic media in SA and abroad on psychosocial and related issues.

A close associate of the late Steve Biko, he has played a key role in the anti-Apartheid struggle, the advent of democracy in 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 from 1977-1982) 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, the International Association of Applied Psychology Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to the Advancement of Applied Psychology and the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology), 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 served as PsySSA President and chaired the regulatory Professional Board for Psychology at the Health Professions Council of SA, 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. Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria and Honorary Professor at the University of Limpopo, he continues to give addresses and lectures around the world.

The last Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Durban-Westville, he works in the health, education and training sectors.