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Prof. Saths Cooper

President, Pan-African Psychology Union (PAPU)


Concise Résumé: Prof Saths Cooper, PhD … (more)

Concise Résumé: Prof Saths Cooper, PhD

Pan-African Psychology Union President, International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) & Psychological Society of South Africa Former President, Cooper is a Fellow of the psychological societies of South Africa (SA), India, Ireland, Britain & Nigeria.  The first black chair of the Professional Board for Psychology (1999), & the first non-medical/dental professional to become Vice President of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA), he was Principal & Vice Chancellor of the Univ of Durban-Westville.  A founding Governing Board Member of the International Science Council (ISC, 2018-2021), he is an ISC Foundation Fellow.


Obtaining his PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology from Boston University (USA, 1989) as a Fulbright Scholar, his awards include the inaugural IUPsyS Achievement Against the Odds (2012), the APA's Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology (2014) & the inaugural HPCSA Presidential Merit Award Honouring Outstanding Achievement in Psychology (2019).


A close colleague of the Black Consciousness founder Steve Biko, he was banned & house-arrested when he was 22 years of age (together with Biko & Barney Pityana), & jailed for nine years.  Accused No. 1 in the seminal SA Students Organisation/Black People’s Convention trial in Pretoria (The State vs S Cooper & Others, Jan 1975 - Dec 1976), he was a leader of the struggle against apartheid from the late 1960s, playing various leadership roles after his release from Robben Island Prison, where he spent five years in the same cell-block as former President Mandela (1977-1982).  His house was petrol-bombed by the police in 1984 & his last imprisonment was during the state of emergency, June-Sept 1986.  Despite the granting of his first passport in Oct 1986 - valid only for the USA - he nevertheless completed his PhD in a record three years (Dec 1989).  The Truth & Reconciliation Commission chaired by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, declared him a ‘victim of gross human rights violations’ (1998).


A Clinical Psychologist for some 35 years, Cooper is in the leadership of the 70s Group of activists from the key 1970s period – described as the “spark that lit a veld fire across South Africa” (Mandela, 2002) – which is anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-sectarian. He chairs the Robben Island Museum Council, serves on the Freedom Park Council (2021) & is Extraordinary Prof at Pretoria & Stellenbosch Univs.