Winter School in Demography Transition (DT) and Development in Rich Countries (RC) and Poor Countries (PC): Continuity and Change.

by Siaka Lougue – AIMS Alumni, PhD Student in Population studies, Statistics department, University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa

We participated to a winter school organised by the Faculty of Statistics, University of Padova, Italy from 12 December to 17 December 2011. We were residing at Santa Caterina residence and the venue of the winter school.

The school consisted of lecture sessions and case study sessions. During the lecture sessions, specialists in the domain gave courses about census and survey data quality, demography transition theory and analysis in relation with urbanisation, migration, health, etc. The lectures were interactive and covered demographic issues for both rich and poor countries. Some preselected participants (PhD students) presented their research related to the topic of winter school (case studies). These sessions allowed us to better understand the subject and learn from other students, their researches in the domain and their methodological choices.

Siaka presenting his work at the Winter School

We benefited from the winter school in terms of network, scientific knowledge and experiences. Indeed, participants at the winter school came from everywhere in the world: Europe, Asia, America and Africa. We met students from different disciplines of applied statistics (Economy, Demography, Social sciences, Mathematics-statistics, etc.). The interaction among participants was fruitful and the atmosphere was friendly.

At the end of the Winter School, our knowledge of demographic issues from all over the world and the link between demographic transition and others population issues was considerably improved.

Methodologically, we got enormous knowledge about different ways of applying demographic transition theory in Africa and in others regions of the world. In addition, we presented a case study titled “Situation of maternal mortality in the process of demographic transition in Burkina Faso” and got very good feedback from the participants and lecturers. Comments made on our presentation will definitely help us in our research

This presentation was also the opportunity for us to share our experience at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Participants were very impress and interested about AIMS programme. Currently busy with their PhD, many of them are very interested with tutoring at AIMS after completion of their study. They were enthusiastic about sharing the information about AIMS with their friends, colleagues, relatives back home.

The school participants

To summarise, we learnt a lot during this winter school. We cannot finish this report without mentioning that we were impressed to learn that the current financial crisis in Europe has an important demographic aspect and that China could face the same problem in the near future and maybe Africa in long term if we do not learn from the experience of European countries.

We finish this report by acknowledging our immense gratitude to AIMS and Next Einstein Initiative (NEI) for the grant that we benefited because our participation to the winter school would have not been possible without it.

Siaka Lougue benefited from the AIMS-NEI alumni travel grants to take part in this winter school. For more information on the grants, see this page on the AIMS-NEI website.

Posted in Alumni, Opportunities

On the opening of AIMS Senegal

On September 6, 2011, the Government of Senegal and international partners participated in the Grand Opening of a new pan-African centre of excellence for Africa’s brightest math and science graduates, in a beautiful seaside location in Mbour, 80 km south of Dakar.

The Director of the AIMS-Senegal Institute is Professor Mamadou Sanghare, one of Africa’s most distinguished mathematicians and formerly head of the Doctoral School in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal’s largest public university.

AIMS-Senegal is the second African Institute for Mathematical Sciences centre, joining AIMS-South Africa, which has operated in Cape Town since 2003. The plan to expand AIMS across Africa is known as the AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) and grew out of a wish first expressed by AIMS founder Professor Neil Turok, now Director of Canada’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, that “the next Einstein be African.” That wish has evolved into a plan to create a pan-African network of 15 AIMS centres over the next decade, including the centres in Senegal and South Africa.

At the Grand Opening celebrations, AIMS-Senegal’s first 36 students, including 10 women, from 14 countries were joined by dignitaries from approximately 15 countries representing the centre’s many supporters and partnering academic institutions. These include the Universities of Cheikh Anta Diop, Gaston Berger, Thies and Ziguinchor in Senegal, the University of Ottawa in Canada, Universities Pierre et Marie Curie and Paris Sud in France, Humboldt University of Berlin in Germany, and the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in China.

Cédric Villani with AIMS-Sénégal students at the opening ceremony.

Speakers at the opening ceremony included Tidiane Ba, the Senegalese Minister of Higher Education and Research; local dignitaries, including the Mayor of Mbour; representatives of AIMS-Senegal supporters, including the Ambassador of Canada to Senegal, the President of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), and Tidiane Deme of Google; and preeminent international scientists, including Nobel Prize winner Klaus von Klitzing and Fields Medallist Cedric Villani.

Tidiane Ba, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Senegal said, “AIMS-Senegal will enable our most talented students, Senegalese and from across the continent, to receive a fully-funded world-class education here in Senegal. We are proud of AIMS-Senegal and support it strongly.”

“The opening of our second centre, AIMS-Senegal, is a major milestone towards our dream of a truly pan-African network of scientific centres where the continent’s bright minds can shine,” says Neil Turok. “As AIMS expands, thousands of talented Africans will acquire the skills they need to build Africa’s future economic, educational and technological self-sufficiency.”

Supporters of AIMS-Senegal planted trees to celebrate the opening of the new centre.

The establishment of AIMS-Senegal has been supported by the Government of Senegal, which provided a grant of US$1.4 million and donated a parcel of land; Google, which provided US$1 million; the Kavelman-Fonn Foundation, through its donation of US$600,000; the Government of France (through the IRD), which has provided land valued at US$1.3 million; and the Government of Canada (through the IDRC), which is providing US$20 million to support the establishment of three new AIMS centres, including the one in Senegal. AIMS-Senegal also gratefully acknowledges support from Cambridge University Press, the Centre International de Recherche et d’Enseignement de Mbour (CIREM), the Daniel Iagolnitzer Foundation, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Scholarships have been provided by growing number of North American and European universities and companies through the One- for-Many scholarship program. The first students were selected from over 350 who applied through the joint admission process shared by the AIMS centres in South Africa and Senegal.

A highlight of the day was the arrival of the first shipment of solar cells which had been donated by the German company Q-Cells. The 90 cells will provide a total of 20kW of power, enough to cover the electricity needs of the centre.

Over the 2011-2012 academic year, the students will be taught by around 25 outstanding international lecturers along with 5 dedicated tutors, before receiving their Masters degrees (Maitre 1) next June.

Since its opening, AIMS Senegal has seen many illustrious visitors, including His Excellency President Wade of Senegal in October.

The presence of famous scientists is Senegal has led to some interesting events for Senegalese universities and the general public. Prof. Jean-Christophe Yoccoz (Collège de France, Fields Medal 1994) who came to teach at AIMS Senegal gave a public talk at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar on December 23rd, 2011.

The year ahead will see many milestones in the first year of the second AIMS centre. More public talks from prominent scientists are expected. Probably the biggest milestone of a new centre: the first generation of students will graduate. We look forward to a fruitful and exciting year ahead!

Posted in AIMS Centres, Life at AIMS

Opening of the 2012-2013 applications

Study at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences!

If you wish to study at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, now is the time! The applications are now open (until Mach 31st, 2012) for the August 2012 intake. This year, you can chose to study in Ghana (to be confirmed), Sénégal or South Africa.

Click here to go to the applications: http://j.mp/AIMS2012

Si vous souhaitez étudier à l’Institut Africain des Science Mathématiques, saisissez votre chance! Les candidatures pour le cours débutant au mois d’août 2012 sont ouvertes jusqu’au 31 mars 2012. Cette année, vous pouvez choisir d’étudier en Afrique du Sud, au Ghana (à confirmer) ou au Sénégal.

Cliquez ici pour vous inscrire: http://j.mp/AIMS2012

Posted in AIMS Centres, Events, Opportunities | Tagged ,

AIMS-NEI has a new Facebook page

As Facebook is phasing out groups and archiving them, we have put together a new Facebook page.
Come and like us at http://facebook.com/AIMS.NEI !

Like us on Facebook!

Posted in Life at AIMS

Prof. Neil Turok at Google’s Zeitgeist 2011

In the video below, you’ll hear Neil Turok explain the vision that brought him to found the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences.

Google Zeitgeist is a series of events at which great minds of our time share their inspiration.

Posted in Events