Vice-Chancellor's Award given to Africa Oxford Initiative

The team who coordinate the Africa Oxford Initiative including their Director and St Cross Vice-Master Prof Kevin Marsh celebrated at the Sheldonian Theatre as they were awarded the inaugural Vice Chancellors Award for Outstanding Contribution

The Vice-Chancellor’s Awards recognise the achievements and celebrate success across the collegiate University, from academics and researchers to professional, technical and support staff. What was previously five separate groups of awards became a University-wide celebration in 2024, with 11 categories spanning strategically important areas. In addition to the 11 awards, this year for the first time there was the introduction of a new overall award for Outstanding Contribution. Thanks to this expansion of the awards there were 250 entries this year, with 1,500 individuals included in the nominations, from all parts of the University and colleges. 

Nominations were assessed by judging panels made up of colleagues from across the central University, divisions, colleges and GLAM. Final decisions about the winners and highly commended nominations were made by the Vice-Chancellor and Senior Officers. 

The winners of the 2024 awards were announced at a special ceremony hosted by the Vice-Chancellor at the Sheldonian Theatre on Wednesday 8 May. 

The Africa Oxford Initiative is dedicated to partnering with Universities across Africa, to increase educational opportunities for students from the continent, boost employment opportunities and support new partnerships.  

For eight years, it has worked at individual, institutional and regional level in Education, Research and Innovation – with a string of successful placements, courses and grants for African students and staff.   

It was nominated in two categories in this year's awards – in the Community Partnerships category, and jointly with the Oxford Africa Society in the Support for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion category for its work increasing representation in Oxford's postgraduate studies. 

The Vice-Chancellor praised the team for the way they have worked tirelessly, collaboratively and in a sustained way over several years to make a positive difference in pursuit of the University's academic mission. 

Director Kevin Marsh led the idea for the AfOx back in 2015 when he stepped down from directing the Oxford associated KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya, where he had been for 25 years. Working with now Co-Director Anne Makena, they began to bring colleagues in Oxford and in Africa together for a series of discussions, from which AfOx was born towards the end of 2016. 

Speaking of the award Kevin said “All of us in the AfOx team were thrilled to receive the inaugural Vice Chancellors award. It was especially exciting to be at the ceremony in the Sheldonian with so many fantastic nominees from such diverse areas from across the whole university.” 

Congratulations to Kevin, Anne and the AfOx Team!