49 students from 20 different African countries received their Master’s Degree in Mathematical Sciences from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) at a graduation ceremony at the Muizenberg Pavilion on Wednesday 25 June 2014.
The guest speaker was former South African President the honourable Kgalema Motlanthe who was joined by fellow speakers including Prof Ben Turok, AIMS Trust Member (and father of AIMS founder and celebrated physicist Neil Turok), AIMS-South Africa Director Barry Green, AIMS alumnus Matthews Sejeso and AIMSSEC alumnus Sangree Pillay, congratulating and inspiring the graduates.
Prof Green welcomed everyone to the graduation ceremony, “The flame for mathematics has to be ignited in the young and this is what we do at AIMS, we have created a caring environment for the whole continent and we are enabling our students to create a new future for Africa.”
The guest speaker, former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe congratulated the students and said that he was proud to witness and be a part of this special celebration. “Africa’s greatest resource is its people. There can be no more effective investment in Africa’s future than in education which empowers talented young people to contribute to their countries’ development. Increasing the skills base in areas which can stimulate growth will help create employment opportunities for our youth, one of the toughest challenges we face at the moment.”
He went on to say that no modern society has scaled the heights of social progress without mathematics as it underpins most of modern life – information and communication technology, genetics, medicine, finance, demographics and planning. And therefore “without mathematical training we will be unable to access the full power of new technologies to solve the problems in South Africa and the African continent.”
“You are now armed with this knowledge. But you would have learnt in the past few months that knowledge requires application to make it truly valuable and this is the challenge ahead of you now – to go back into society and apply what you have learnt at AIMS in order to make a difference to the lives of people.”
The ceremony was officiated by Prof Brian O’Connell Vice-Chancellor, University of the Western Cape, Prof Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector Research and Innovation, Stellenbosch University and Prof Danie Visser Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, University of Cape Town.
Ms Rosemary Akinyi Aogo from Kenya, Mr Ikenna John Kingsley Ezike from Nigeria and Ms Saga Elsayed Ibrahim Abdalla from Sudan gave the student addresses.
Dr Dorothy Nyambi, Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, Prof Ben Turok and Prof Barry Green
In the ceremony AIMS Endowed Scholarships was awarded to a number of top achievers by Dr Thandi Mgwebi, Executive Director Institutional Engagement and Partnership Development, National Research Foundation and AIMS Advisory Board Member. The recipients were: Mr Ishmael Takyi, who received the Stephan Hawking Scholarship, Mr Andriamanankasina Ramanantoanina, who received the Martin Rees Scholarship, Ms Rosephine Georgina Rakotonirainy, who received the Paul G Allen Scholarship, Ms Shimaa Yasser Ahmed Hanafy Elesaely and Mr Kenneth Dadedzi who both received the Victor Rothschild Scholarship.
(Front from left) Dr Thandi Mgwebi, Ms Shimaa Yasser Ahmed Hanafy Elesaely, Ms Rosephine Georgina Rakotonirainy and Prof Jeff Sanders
(Back from left) Mr Ishmael Takyi, Prof Barry Green, Mr Andriamanankasina Ramanantoanina and Mr Kenneth Dadedzi