Narciso Matos Joins Carnegie Corporation


A well respected scholar and educator and noted leader in the African University community, Narciso Matos, will join the Carnegie Corporation of New York to shape its new program in Africa on higher education. Professor Matos is currently the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAu) and a member of the Advisory Group on Higher Education to the Secretary General of UNESCO. He will join the corporation in January 2000.

"I am particularly happy that Narciso Matos has accepted our offer to lead the foundation's new education direction in African development," said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation. "Professor Matos is a man who knows about Africa from several critical perspectives, as a student, as a professor, as a University Vice Chancellor and as the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities. His experience, expertise and perspective will be invaluable as we attempt to forge, with the support of other foundations, a coherent, sustainable policy to assist several African universities to be regional models of excellence. Carnegie's goal, in this new prong of its work in Africa, is to stimulate scientific and education leadership at different levels."

Matos was chosen after an extensive search both nationally and internationally for a leader in higher education who understood the needs in the continent, and was well versed in the traditions, culture and aspirations of the African university community.

Professor Matos is a chemist by training and a graduate of Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. He received a Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry/Chemistry of Natural Products (medicinal plants) at the Humbolt University in Berlin, Germany. During the 1970's and 1980's Matos lectured on chemistry and organic chemistry at his alma mater along with other institutions. He was involved in creating study materials for chemistry courses at the secondary school and college levels. His analytical research focused on biophysical and chemical properties of water of the Zambezi river; his research also included the study of medicinal plants and essential oils. His work has appeared in numerous scientific journals. Matos also served as a consultant on regional cooperation in science and mathematics education and research.

In the late 1980's, Matos accepted a leadership role in the university serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Science at Mozambique's Eduardo Mondlane University, and later as Vice Chancellor of the University. He also served two terms as dean first in 1977 and then after studying abroad in 1986. He became a civic leader in Mozambique serving as a member of the Parliament from 1986 until 1995. For five of those years, Matos was Secretary of the Committee for International Relations and, for one year, he was Chairman of the Planning and Budget Committee of Parliament. During this time, Matos wrote and presented articles on sustainable development policies and on university management.

In 1995, Matos left the university setting to run the Association of African Universities as its Secretary General. Located in Accra-North, Ghana, the AAU serves as the continent's leading authority on higher education. Matos traveled widely within Africa and outside as the leading spokesman for the importance of the university's work in the country's advancement. He advocated for stronger standards, increased financial support and the importance of scholarship.

"I am particularly happy that Carnegie Corporation will have an expert of Matos' scope and integrity to shape our program in higher education on the continent," added Vartan Gregorian. "The university is a critical player in Africa's future and I believe Narciso Matos possesses the insight and experience to create a strategy that will make a difference for the university system and Africa's new young leaders."

Matos will relocate to the New York area in January 2000 with his wife, a linguistics scholar, and their two younger children.