International conference on the development of science in Africa
UNESCO will be hosting an international conference entitled ‘Africa: the Choice of Science, the AIMS Initiative’ on 14 and 15 April (Room II). The conference, which is being organized by the Association for the Promotion of Science in Africa (APSA), will emphasize the need for pan-African initiatives to develop science and stem brain drain on the continent. By bringing together political leaders and leading scientists, the conference will also be supporting the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Senegal, which will receive its first intake of students in September 2011.
Speakers at the conference will include Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel laureate in Medicine (2008) and Cédric Villani, Fields Medallist (2010). The meeting will be opened by Vincent Rivasseau, Chairman of APSA and president of AIMS-Senegal; Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences; Valérie Pécresse, French Minister of Higher Education and Research; Papa Momar Diop, Permanent Delegate of Senegal to UNESCO; Rama Yade, Permanent Delegate of France to UNESCO and Jean-Marie Adoua, Permanent Delegate of Congo to UNESCO.
The conference, which is being supported by UNESCO’s natural science sector in partnership with the Permanent Delegation of Senegal, will provide an opportunity to present the various public policies being implemented to encourage the development of science in Africa. The conference will also highlight the AIMS initiative, launched in 2003 by Neil Turok, Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo (Canada), in order to promote mathematics and science education in Africa and to train students and science teachers on the continent.
The first AIMS institute was opened in Cape Town (South Africa) in 2003 through a partnership established between six universities: Cambridge and Oxford (U.K.), Cape Town, Western Cape and Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Paris XI (France). The final target is to create fifteen networked institutes that are able to train hundreds of African students each year.
Isabelle Le Fournis, UNESCO Division of Public Information, tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48 / i.le-fournis(at)unesco.org