Adam Habib

UNU Council Member: Director, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

UNU Centre

Prof. Adam Habib is a South African scholar, researcher, and public intellectual with over thirty years of academic and administration expertise in the fields of education, democracy, and development.

He is currently Director, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in London, England. Prof. Habib was Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa from 2013 to 2020. He is a former Chair of Universities South Africa, which represents vice-chancellors and higher education in the country. Prior to joining the University of Witwatersrand, he served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, Library and Faculty Coordination at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Transformation, democracy, and inclusive development are fundamental themes of his research. Prof. Habib’s book South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects, has informed debates around the country’s transition into democracy, as well as its prospects for inclusive development. His latest book, Rebels and Rage: Reflecting on #FeesMustFall, provides insight into the recent student protests in South Africa from the position of a vice-chancellor and social scientist.

Prof. Habib’s contributions recently resulted in his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in addition to serving as a Fellow of both the African Academy of Science and the Academy of Science of South Africa.