ST symposium/concept note

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Concept Note for a Pre-CHOGM Symposium

“Science, Technology & Innovation: Key Drivers for Socio-Economic Transformation”


The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in Kampala, Uganda from 23-25 November 2007 with the theme of ‘Transforming Commonwealth societies to achieve political, economic and human development’. In preparation for CHOGM, the Commonwealth Foundation is organising the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF), 19-22 November 2007, with the theme “Realising People’s Potential”. This Forum will provide civil society and all non-state actors with an opportunity to debate issues relating to the CHOGM theme, and to present statements to Commonwealth Foreign Ministers and Heads of Government.

Recognising the need to extend opportunities for people’s participation beyond Kampala, and to develop positive public relations in the run-up to the Commonwealth People’s Forum, the CPF Steering Committee, under the umbrella of the Uganda National NGO Forum, initiated a series of local and regional meetings on substantive subjects. A workshop on the impacts of climate change in Uganda took place on 10 November 2006. Another activity that will take place under this framework is a pre-CHOGM symposium for East Africa on science and technology, to be hosted at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) from 3-5 September 2007.


The symposium is based on the premise that there exists a fundamental disconnect between the needs and expectations of East Africa’s society, and the provision of scientific knowledge and technology in East Africa.


The symposium will address the contribution of science and technology to socio-economic transformation in East Africa.


The goal of the symposium is to influence the policy decision making process in respect of investments in science and technology for wealth creation, hence for poverty alleviation and societal development.

Specific Objectives

• To identify and discuss areas where Universities and other tertiary institutions can enhance the role of Science and Technology for social transformation & development.
• To share and exchange experiences of success stories / models and devise strategies for replication.
• To suggest innovative approaches of linking scientific research with technological advancement to support industry, commerce and improve service delivery.

Within this overall framework, the strands for separate discussions will include the following as examples:

• The centrality of ST&I to societal and economic transformation: examples from the local and international community
• Best practices in Knowledge, Skills And Technology tranfer from centres of generation to areas of application and use for societal transformation
• The Science & Technology Education Continuum
• Institutional arrangements for ST&I
• HEI communication of S&T, engagement with society, community outreach: (Speaker)
• Engagement between the tertiary education sector and the private sector in S&T: articulation of supply and demand
• Industry perspectives

In view of East Africa’s strong presence at the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa which was dedicated to ST&I for development, this pre-CHOGM symposium represents an important platform from which to explore the relationship between the S&T and HE priorities of AU/NEPAD with East Africa’s regional challenges.

Keynote Speaker Topics

• S&T in Uganda” or related topic.
• Mobilising the capacity of tertiary education in the Commonwealth for the good of all
• The international S&T policy agenda and linkages / relevance to national and regional priorities.

Cross-cutting themes

• Gender
• Costs of S&T capacity building and education
• Innovation systems
• The MDGs


The symposium will provide a pathway for the people of the East Africa region to deliver a message, in the form of a report, declaration or communiqué, from the wider East African S&T community to the Commonwealth Heads of Government via the CPF, the main political process for engaging with CHOGM.

Outputs of this symposim will feed into the COVIDSET 2007 meeting taking place in South Africa ( and also link to the proposed CPF workshop on Knowlegde.

Target audience

The organisers anticipate a participation of about 100, to a maximum of 150 drawn from policy makers, student bodies, the private sector, academia, civil society, and development partners. Participation is expected principally from Uganda, with smaller but senior representation from Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda (particularly in consideration of Rwanda’s application for Commonwealth membership and the advances achieved in promoting the S&T agenda) with speakers, facilitators or panellists drawn from further afield to add an international dimension and allow sharing of experience from the wider Commonwealth.

Organisational framework

The symposium is being held under the auspices of the Commonwealth People’s Forum, hosted by MUST and organised as a partnership between MUST, the University of Makerere, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Commonwealth Foundation (CF), The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and The British Council (BC) (Uganda office). Additional institutions may be invited to join the partnership. Sponsorship is currently pledged from the ACU, CF, RSC, BC (Uganda office)

Symposium format

The organisers propose a two day event: The first half day will be dedicated to introductions and plenary presentations from keynote speakers. Several consecutive panels will follow until the second half of day two when a final plenary session and keynote speech will complete the event. Consideration will be given to preparation during the final plenary of a report or communiqué to be carried forward to CPF and CHOGM.

See Also: