June 21, 2016

AIMS is enabling Africa’s youth to become agents of change on the continent

“Africa has an exciting journey ahead of it and so do you. We are determined to transform the African continent by hiring the best talent to tackle the challenges of our time. But our success depends on you and talented, motivated graduates like yourself. You have the power to change the world, so go out and change the world, change the African continent and make a difference,” said Dr Solomon Assefa, Director IBM Research – Africa.

He was speaking at the AIMS South Africa Graduation which took place at the Muizenberg Pavilion on 21 June 2016, where 54 students (including 21 women) from 24 African countries received Master’s Degrees in Mathematical Sciences. This graduation brings the total number of AIMS South Africa graduates to 646 and to 1 210 across the network once all centres have held their graduation ceremonies. As Prof. Barry Green, Director noted, “This year we saw the graduation of our 1000th AIMS student and it is wonderful to see so many talented young people in Africa who want to make a difference.”

The students themselves had a lot to say about their experiences at AIMS, expressing their appreciation for the support and motivation they received being part of the AIMS family and their plans for the future. Ms Karimatou Djenabou, from Cameroon, noted that when the students were not talking about mathematics they talked about their home cultures, “I feel like I have explored more than half of the African continent with the talks I have had with my fellow students who were from 24 different African countries.” Mr Nelson Kyakutwika, from Uganda said,

“In the future I visualise myself being a member of the core team deciding the destiny of Africa. At AIMS I got more that just a degree, AIMS is preparing Africa’s greatest minds for their future careers.” Mr Robin Msiska, from Zambia shared a poem he had written which contained the phrase, “Our role is to be agents of change.” The ceremony was officiated by Prof. Eugene Cloete, ViceRector Research, Innovation and Postgraduate studies, Stellenbosch University, Prof. Danie Visser, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town and Prof. Vivienne Lawack Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, University of the Western Cape. Prof. Thandi Mgwebi, Director of Research at the University of the Western Cape and an AIMS Advisory Board member presented a number of AIMS Scholarships Awards to those students who had performed exceptionally during their year of study.  The Stephen Hawking Scholarship, named in honour of the world-renowned physicist went to Mr Robin Msiska, from Zambia.

The Martin Rees Scholarship, named in honour of Lord Martin Rees, who is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading astronomers and cosmologists, was awarded to Mr Lamin Juwara, from Gambia. The Paul G. Allen Scholarship, endowed by the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, was awarded to Ms Frether Getachew Kebede, from Ethiopia. And two Dr Victor Rothschild Scholarships, went to

Front row: Dr Alan Stroebel (NRF), Mr Jean Bernoulli Ravelomanana, Ms Frether Getachew Kebede, Prof. Thandi Mgwebi, Mr Sogo Pierre Sanon
Back row: Prof. Jeff Sanders, Mr Robin Msiska, Mr Lamin Juwara, Prof. Barry Green

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