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Introduction | Vision | Mission | Goals | Values


IAPO sees itself as empowering internationalisation at UCT through the provision of thought-leadership on relevant dimensions of and developments within internationalisation as well as leading the establishment of effective tools and specialised support to service the needs of internationalisation at home and in communities visiting the university. IAPO will undertake this work with an emphasis on an Afropolitan agenda that informs and is informed by the needs of transformation in South Africa.

IAPO has a commitment to:

  1. Internationalisation as an approach to leveraging the best thinking internationally and integrating global understandings into teaching, research and learning at UCT in the service of ensuring UCT's international credibility and securing its relevance as a significant global player.
  2. Acknowledging that an Afropolitan agenda leverages UCT's unique position as a meeting point between Africa and the world in terms of global debate, knowledge creation and the articulation of innovative solutions to the world's problems. The aim is to mainstream the Afropolitan agenda across the four goals in the belief that separating it out leads to a 'what about Africa?' approach rather than embedding African perspectives and priorities across the internationalisation work of the office.


The Vision of IAPO is: Empowering Internationalisation at UCT. The vision is built on an understanding of the two pillars of IAPO's contribution to internationalisation at UCT. The first, thought-leadership to develop policy, strategies and advice on key trends in internationalisation in order to enable IAPO and other units of the university to make appropriate, innovative and strategic decisions around internationalisation.  The second, the development and provision of effective tools for support and services to faculty, students, staff, visitors and the executive at UCT in order to maximise the extent to which internationalisation is an opportunity available to all at UCT and ensure that the university consistently produces graduates and staff equipped to be global citizens. The idea of empowerment implies the provision of information, support and advice that builds the capacity of others to maximise the opportunities they make available and the opportunities that are made available to them.


The mission of IAPO is: In the service of UCT's strategic goals IAPO aims to be the thought-leader, partner and first port of call on all matters pertaining to internationalisation for the global higher education community participating at UCT. 

The mission clarifies three specific areas of the vision. 

  1. The work of IAPO is elaborated across three fields – thinking (thought leadership), action (partnership models for implementation and service provision) and  a channel (providing a central space for both internal and external engagement with internationalisation at an institutional level). 

  2. The work of IAPO is targeted at the global higher education community participating at UCT including professors, students (full degree and visiting), researchers, visitors and, professional and support staff. These beneficiaries are at times stakeholders and partners in the process of internationalisation but the identification of the full range of 'clients' will ensure that work streams and prioritisation takes place across this spectrum. 
  3. The mission also talks to the benefit of IAPO's work within the framework of its role in servicing the goals of the university as a whole.  As the institutional home of internationalisation at UCT, IAPO will ensure that the externalisation of internationalisation is built on and supported by internationalisation at home.  The exchange of ideas and insights works from Africa out and from without into Africa through UCT.


By 2020, IAPO will be the thought leader on internationalisation at UCT providing effective tools and specialised services across the higher education community participating at the university and will undertake this work with an Afropolitan agenda supported by a sustainable and agile hub. IAPO will work in strong partnerships to achievement the following four strategic goals:

  1. IAPO must provide thought leadership and make internationalisation visible, internally and externally, across the full range of UCT's higher education endeavours to ensure that UCT draws the best to its campus and is a partner of choice in Africa​. 
  2. IAPO will work with those responsible across UCT to provide and develop effective internationalisation tools for teaching, learning, research and advocacy.
  3. IAPO will ensure it is a vehicle to create opportunities for the development of global citizens at UCT informed by our Afropolitan agenda and the needs of transformation in South Africa.
  4. IAPO will build an agile and sustainable hub for internationalisation at UCT

 An underlying principle of the above goals, articulated in each through the desired status of IAPO as a result of the goal, is a pro-active approach to communication.  There is a need for IAPO to change its image as simply a service provider and claim its stated role as a leader on internationalisation at UCT. This will involve a more sustained approach to knowledge creation as well as conscious prioritisation of thought-leadership activities and the development or redeployment of capacities towards networking, relationship-building and the work of door-to-door campaigning for internationalisation as a way of doing business on campus.


As part of the process of providing leadership and building capacity across the university it will be important for IAPO to privilege the following approaches and values as articulated by the management team. These approaches should underpin how work takes place - how the team create and use structures and processes in order to embed sustainability and transformation into their work; how the team engages in the work of understanding and making internationalisation visible at UCT. The approaches should form the core of any capacity building and operational strategy with the underlying commitment being internationalisation for all.

  1. Leadership through Service & Collaboration – establishing IAPO as the hub for all matters pertaining to internationalisation at UCT requires that IAPO leads in particular ways in order to ensure buy-in and collaboration. Externally, this will take the form of both specialisation of IAPO activities to align with other units and offices working on internationalisation and the development of cross-campus networks for service provision. Internally, it will require a broadening of approach to look at cross sectoral initiatives and capacities. The objective is to build buy-in from critical internal and external stakeholders while drawing attention to IAPO's core business.
  2. Sustainability – The competitive and resource-scarce realm of higher education demands a focus on sustainability whether financial or human resources, systems or processes.  The aim is to establish an office that is resilient and agile, capable of adapting systems and approaches to the changing needs of internationalisation and higher education.  At the same time, an emphasis on sustainability contributes to a culture of innovation and reflection ensuring teams seek to build sustainable partnership models and cross-funding strategies that allow areas to grow from the profit of more established programmes and practises.
  3. Knowledge Creation. This approach reinforces the others. It privileges the role of reflection and learning in order to stimulate innovation through knowledge generation. The approach will enable IAPO to understand what it knows, share this knowledge and establish its credibility as a leader on internationalisation across the higher education community participating at UCT. It is a way to anchor IAPO's work and advocacy in the institutional memories and experience of both IAPO and other stakeholders in the internationalisation realm.