Professor Faizel Ismail announced as Director Designate of the Mandela School

11 Feb 2019 - 14:00

The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance is delighted to introduce Professor Faizel Ismail as new Director Designate.
The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance prepares to enter a new and exciting phase of its development in 2019 when South Africa’s top trade negotiator will shortly take over as the Director. There will be several month’s transition between current Director Professor Alan Hirsch and Professor Ismail, before handover in July 2019.

Professor Faizel Ismail has had a glittering career negotiating major agreements including the Southern African Customs Union and the Trade and Development Agreement with the EU, having been South Africa’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation for 10 years, and as a senior adviser to the Minister of Trade and Industry. Professor Ismail has now committed to making his future contributions at UCT.

"I am excited at the new opportunity that this appointment provides for me to contribute to  re-building the institutions of the democratic state and the capacity of the next generation of policymakers based on the values of Nelson Mandela," said Professor Ismail. "Under the careful directorship of Professor Alan Hirsch, the Mandela School has developed a global reputation for engaged, exciting scholarship that gets to grips with African governance and leadership issues as lived and experienced. I will be building on this solid foundation."
The Mandela School has trained 1400 students from across Africa in leadership and academic programs since it was established in 2011. It combines academic insight with practice-based public service to promote strategic public leadership in Africa. School and its offerings are designed to make public service at the highest levels of leadership an aspiration for the most talented of the community’s rising generation

Professor Ismail an experienced international trade negotiator and respected academic, is well placed to succeed Professor Hirsch. He is also a global expert on development issues, having published several books on trade and development.

He has a distinguished academic career having completed a BA and an LLB degree from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (PMB Campus) an MPhil degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University (UK) and a PhD degree in Politics from the University of Manchester (UK). He is currently a Professor, in the UCT School of Economics, and in the Faculty of Law. He served as the Chairperson of the International Trade and Administration Commission (ITAC) from 2015 to 2018 and has been re-appointed for a five-year term (2018-2023).

Previously established as the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, the school adopted its current name in July 2018, a move made in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “We are proud and deeply honoured to be associated with Nelson Mandela’s name,” said Professor Alan Hirsch, Director of the School.

The Mandela School’s student demographics straddle the public and private sector, from civil society professionals to government officials and activists. The 1300 alumni of the School, so far, live in more than 30 African countries.
 “The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance has a very exciting program of growth planned, that will secure its position the most widely respected governance School in Africa, says Hirsch. “We have built a truly African centre at the University of Cape Town and, under Faizel’s leadership, we anticipate growing from strength to strength”

For more information, please contact the Mandela School’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Andile Cele, at or (021) 650 7019.