A close associate of the late Steve Biko, Cooper played leadership roles in the anti-apartheid struggle in the late 1960s as well as the advent of democracy in South Africa (SA) from the early 1990s. Banned and house-arrested and jailed for 9 years – spending 5 in the same Robben Island cell-block as Nelson Mandela – he was declared a ‘victim of gross human rights violations’ by SA’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is a graduate of the Universities of SA, Witwatersrand and Boston, where he obtained his PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology as a Fulbright Fellow.
The first Black chair of the regulatory Professional Board for Psychology at the Health Professions Council of SA, Cooper was the latter’s first non-medical/dental Vice-President. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville, was ISSC Vice-President for Information and Communications and chaired the SA ICSU Board. A fellow of the SA, Indian, British and Irish psychological societies and the recipient of many international citations and awards, he holds professorial appointments at the Universities of Pretoria, Limpopo and Johannesburg. He is a Deputy Chair of the ISC Committee on Freedom & Responsibility in Science (CFRS), Past President of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) and founding President of the Pan-African Psychology Union.