Vice Chancellor elected to global university network

Global news

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Leeds, has been elected to the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

The international body brings universities, students and staff together to advance knowledge, promote understanding and improve lives. 

The ACU has more than 500 member universities in 50 countries - two-thirds of members are in low and middle income countries. It champions higher education as a cornerstone of stronger societies and recognises its critical contribution to sustainable development across the Commonwealth and beyond.

Together, we will forge relationships, further our reach and build a better world for everyone." 

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is the co-founder of the Knowledge Equity Network, a ground-breaking platform designed to encourage closer academic education and research collaboration on a global level.

The Network seeks to share human knowledge more equitably to meet and solve the biggest challenges facing our planet, from famine and poverty to gender inequality and climate change.

Launch events have been held with partners in Africa, North America and Europe, with each signatory supporting the Declaration on Knowledge Equity - a commitment to actively contribute to achieving equitable access to knowledge.

Professor Buitendijk said: "Both the University of Leeds and the Association of Commonwealth Universities are committed to making real and impactful differences to the world. And our 10-year University strategy – Universal Values, Global Change – acknowledges that society’s challenges can only be tackled by international research and education collaboration. 

“It is an honour and privilege to represent the ACU's UK members on its Council, working alongside colleagues from an exciting and diverse membership base. Together, we will forge relationships, further our reach and build a better world for everyone.”

Professor Cheryl de la Rey, Chair of ACU Council and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, said: “A warm welcome to Professor Buitendijk, one of our newest members of the ACU Council, representing the diversity and strength of Commonwealth cooperation. 

“She brings a wealth of leadership experience and I look forward to working with her and the other members of Council, drawing on our diverse communities and working together to ensure the ACU continues to be a dynamic and exciting global network at the heart of international higher education – now and into the future.”

The ACU is a global network of universities with a shared commitment to building a better world through international collaboration in higher education. It is the world's first and oldest international university network, bringing universities together from across the Commonwealth for more than 100 years.

Further information

For further information, please contact Richard Abbott in the University of Leeds press office.