May 28, 2024

AIMS – University of Waterloo Summit: Renewing Partnerships and Shaping the Future of Science in Africa’s Youth

On May 27, 2024, a delegation from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Network met with representatives from the Centre for Education in Math and Computing (CEMC) and the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo, to celebrate a new phase in their ongoing partnership. Established in 2003, AIMS remains a pan-African network of postgraduate education centers dedicated to advancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, public engagement, and research across the continent. Our mission to make Africa a leader in mathematical and computer science innovation is encapsulated in our new slogan, “In Africa’s youth, the future of science.”

AIMS operates in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, and Rwanda, and has graduated over 3000 students from 45 African countries, with approximately 80 percent continuing to other master’s and PhD programs.

The meeting featured a delegation of AIMS members and Mathematics representatives who participated in a full day of strategic planning meetings, presentations on AIMS’s achievements and future plans, a panel discussion, and a ceremonial signing of the renewed Waterloo/AIMS agreement.

“We’re excited to begin this new chapter of collaboration and learning together while continuing to broaden our partnership,” said Ian VanderBurgh, director of the CEMC. Waterloo has been a proud partner of AIMS for the past decade, and this renewed partnership will further strengthen their collaboration.

Dr. Prince Osei, Centre President, AIMS Ghana, presented on the current initiatives of the AIMS Global Network outlining achievements and success stories of some alumni, as well as sharing benefits on the prospects of partnering with the Institute. Prof. Neil Turok, founder of AIMS and former director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, also emphasized the importance of engaging with Africa’s growing youth population. “By 2050, 35 percent of the world’s young people will be African,” Turok noted. “Every university in the world needs to engage with the opportunity created by the large numbers of young Africans wanting to engage with mathematics internationally.”

Under the new phase of the partnership, Waterloo will provide financial support to AIMS from 2023 to 2026 and continue offering scholarships for AIMS alumni enrolled in graduate programs at Waterloo. In return, AIMS will offer guest teaching positions for Waterloo faculty and longer-term tutor positions for Waterloo PhD students. Additionally, AIMS and CEMC will continue their close collaboration on developing educational materials and training programs.

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