26th ANNUAL CONFERENCE
20-23 AUGUST 2024

NAVIGATING INTERNATIONALISATION IN CHALLENGING TIMES

SPEAKER BIO

Lavern Samuels

Dr Lavern Samuels is a global leader in the field of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and International Virtual Exchange (IVE).  He is a sought-after speaker in international education on the global stage. Dr Samuels is also dental surgeon and medical scientist with a special interest in oral medicine and broader public health.

Currently, he serves as the Director of International Education and Partnerships (IEP) at the Durban University of Technology (DUT). He has held the Directors position for 15 years. He was also the Senate Representative on the University Council and the Council EXCO for 16 years. He is also the past Chairperson of the DUT Institutional Forum, a position he held for 14 years. Dr Samuels has also played a leading role in the development of the institutional strategy, ENVISION2030 as part of the DUT Strategic Planning Working Group, a body established by the DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Dr Samuels is also the President of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) for the period of 2023 – 2024, a position he previously held from 2012 – 2014. In 2014, as President of IEASA, Dr Samuels hosted the Presidents and Executive Directors of Sister Organisations form across the globe in a seminal gathering, the first Global Dialogue in International Education. This resulted in the Nelson Mandela Bay Declaration, a landmark document in international education.

He has also served two terms as Deputy President and has also served as Treasurer and Chair of the IEASA Directors Forum. In addition, he is the Chair of the Board of the Southern African Nordic Centre (SANORD), a consortium of 60 universities across 15 countries from the Southern African and Nordic regions. Furthermore, Dr Samuels was elected as the President of the International Virtual Exchange Consortium (IVEC) Board and is the Chair of the Network of International Education Associations (NIEA), the peak global body for international education associations. Furthermore, Dr Samuels serves on the global board of the Climate Action Network of International Educators (CANIE).

Having come from the field of Health Science, Dr Samuels has served as the academic head of the Departments of Dental Sciences and Environmental Health in the DUT Faculty of Health Sciences. He also served as the Deputy Dean and Acting Executive Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences, prior to his current role. Dr Samuels served a five-year term as a board member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and served on the Ethics Monitoring Advisory Committee of the internationally funded Reducing HIV in Adolescents research project.

Dr Samuels has accumulated vast experience in internationalisation, having previously served as the president of the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) from 2012- 2014. He also served for five years on the Foreign Qualifications Committee of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). In addition, he is also a Board Member of the International Centre for Non-Violence (ICON) and the ML Sultan Charitable and Educational Trust.

In 2019 Dr Samuels was presented with the Vice Chancellors award for his contribution to the development and establishment of COIL as a innovative teaching and learning pedagogy. Dr Samuels’ work in leading the DUT inclusive and comprehensive internationalisation approach resulted in a collaborative partnership with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) resulting in a toolkit on international virtual exchange and COIL published in 2020. This is a resource now available to the 500+ members of the ACU.  Furthermore, in 2021, DUT won the Association of International Education Administrators Award for Global Innovation in internationalisation. This was the first time a university from the Global South has received this award. In 2022, Dr Samuels was a finalist for the prestigious PIEoneer award for Leadership in Higher Education Internationalisation.

Dr Samuels has also been a leading voice in international education, having delivered several keynote speeches at prominent international education forums and conferences. At the 2022 Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, Dr Samuels delivered the speech entitled: Inclusive Internationalisation: Reimagining, Inspiring and Igniting a Better Tomorrow. In the same year, Dr Samuels delivered the keynote speech at the annual Canadian Bureau for International Education conference. In 2023, Dr Samuels was invited to speak at the International Perspectives on University Teaching and Learning Symposium, hosted by Auburn University. Dr Samuels also delivered the keynote speech at the 2023 NAFSA Conference Leadership Symposium. His speech was entitled: Decolonization, Indigenization, and International Education.