Peter Vale is Professor of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg, and Director of JIAS. He holds BA and BA (Honours) degrees from Wits University, and an MA and PhD from the University of Leicester.
He previously worked as Director of JIAS; Director of Research at the South African Institute of International Affairs; Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University, where he was also Nelson Mandela Professor of Politics; co-Director (with Rob Davies) of the Centre for Southern African Studies at the University of the Western Cape; and, later, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at the same university.
He has served as UNESCO Professor of African Studies at Utrecht University; Professor of Politics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia; and Visiting Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway.
He is an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, a member of the Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, and a Fellow of the World Academy for Arts and Science. He was recently elected as a member of the African Academy of Science.
Between 2008 and 2011, he co-chaired (with Jonathan Jansen) the first inquiry into the state of the Humanities in South Africa for the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf). He also chairs the Academy Advisory Board of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS).
Prof Vale’s research interests include social thought, intellectual traditions in South Africa, the future and politics of higher education, and the origins of international relations in South Africa, and he has published extensively in all these fields.
He has received the International Medal of the University of Utrecht, and Rhodes University’s Distinguished Senior Research Award. His book Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension (University of Cape Town Press, 2004) received the Vice-Chancellor’s Book Award at Rhodes University.
In 2013, he delivered the EH Carr Memorial Lecture at Aberystwyth University, Wales, the most prestigious lecture in the field of International Relations.
Prof Vale has contributed extensively to the public debate in South Africa and elsewhere. He regularly writes on higher education for the Johannesburg-based national weekly Mail & Guardian.