The University of Global Health Equity Welcomes Professor Philip Cotton as New Vice Chancellor

Kigali, Rwanda – Today the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) is pleased to announce, after an international search, that Professor Philip Cotton will become the university’s next Vice Chancellor, effective April 8.   

Professor Cotton succeeds Dr. Joel M. Mubiligi, who has been appointed Chief Innovation and Growth Planning Officer at Partners In Health (PIH).

UGHE, an initiative of PIH, is a private, not-for-profit health sciences institution founded in 2015.

“We are deeply thankful to Dr. Mubiligi for his outstanding service and truly honored to welcome Prof. Philip Cotton as our new Vice Chancellor,” said Dr. Joseph Rhatigan, UGHE Chair of the Board of Directors and Associate Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Harvard Medical School. “His exceptional track record of building collaboration, driving innovation in education, and empowering communities through education aligns with UGHE’s mission to train the next generation of global health leaders.”    

Professor Cotton, a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Rwanda, brings with him a strong commitment to Rwanda and a passion for the ways education can transform students and society. Prior to joining UGHE, Prof. Cotton was Head of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, where he ensured African students with exceptional talent but limited resources had access to financial, social, and academic support.  

Earlier, Professor Cotton helped unify autonomous higher education institutions into a single university, the National University of Rwanda, while he served as Principal of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences and then Vice Chancellor at the University of Rwanda. He practiced family medicine and was professor at Glasgow University, where he served as deputy head of the Undergraduate Medical School, among other roles.  

Professor Cotton is a Methodist preacher, founder of a fair-trade organization, and a trustee and advisor to several groups including St Andrews Clinics for Children. In 2017 he received the Order of the British Empire for services to higher education in Rwanda. In 2018 he was awarded the Association for the Study of Medical Education Gold Medal for his outstanding contribution to medical education. And in 2021 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A graduate of St Andrews University and Glasgow University, he holds several honorary professorships and is Chair of the Board of Directors of Rwanda Biomedical Centre.

At UGHE, Professor Cotton will play a key role in advancing the institution’s commitment to innovative, equitable, and community-focused global health education.

In 2023, Times Higher Education ranked UGHE eighth in its Sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings.

Please join us in welcoming Professor Cotton to the UGHE community as we embark on this exciting new chapter of growth and impact.  


About UGHE  

The University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) is a health sciences university in Rwanda. An initiative of Partners In Health, UGHE is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution founded in 2015, thanks in part to the visionary leadership of the Cummings Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Learn more at 

About PIH  

Founded in Haiti in 1987, Partners In Health is a nonprofit social justice organization working to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need. Some 30 years later, it has a documented history of implementing effective health delivery models in partnership with governments and academic institutions around the world, providing high-quality care to millions of patients. Learn more at