Professor Vishanthie Sewpaul at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa has been awarded an honorary doctorate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) for her scholarly achievements in social work.

– Professor Sewpaul’s contribution is remarkable in the fields of ethics, social justice, human rights and emancipatory education. She is a leading thinker in social work issues in Africa, and a preeminent leader in the field both locally and internationally, says Riina Kiik, head of the Department of Social Work at NTNU.

Portrait of Vishantie Sewpaul and Riina Kiik, head of the Department of Social Work at NTNU.

Vishanthie Sewpaul (to the left) and Riina Kiik, head of the Department of Social Work at NTNU. Photo: Thor Nielsen / NTNU

Leading position

Vishanthie Sewpaul is widely acknowledged for her research, teaching and supervision, and she has always been actively engaged in community work. Her research and teaching endeavors span within a range of topics, like HIV/Aids, infertility and adoption, social work with particularly vulnerable groups, domestic violence, trauma and migration – and she has developed evaluation strategies for specific intervention programmes.

Professor Sewpaul has over the years held leading positions in national and global committees in order to develop the social work profession nationally and globally. She has published widely, served as reviewer and advisory board member of several journals, and delivered numerous keynote addresses.

Great inspiration

In 2006, she was ranked among the most prestigious researchers at UKZN, and in 2013, she was awarded for her outstanding contribution to building South Africa’s scientific and research knowledge base by the Ministry of Science and Technology, South Africa.

In 2015, she received an award from UKZN for outstanding service, and she got the Educator of the Year award from the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions.

At NTNU, she has played a central role in the development of the new course “Global Ethics and Human Rights”.

– Professor Sewpaul has been a great inspiration to colleagues and students at NTNU. We are proud she is now appointed honorary doctor at our institution, and we are looking forward to continuing our collaboration, says Riina Kiik.