“The future belongs to those who not only believe but are prepared to walk into an unknown future choosing hope over fear.” These inspiring words were delivered by Prof. Thuli Mandonsela, Chair in Social Justice in the Law Faculty: Stellenbosch University and member of the AIMS International Board of Directors, at AIMS South Africa’s 15th Graduation ceremony held on 19 June 2018.
Forty-one students (including 16 women) from 17 African countries were awarded a Master’s in Mathematical Sciences, bringing the total number of graduates since 2003 to 757, of which 34% are women.
Prof. Madonsela asked the mathematical science graduates to help combat social injustice “We have many programmes in our country and on our continent to tackle poverty and inequality but they are not working, the day to day human experience is becoming more unequal. You can help government policy makers calculate the impact of their policies before they implement them by designing mathematical applications that can predict the future outcome of these policies helping to ensure that the correct policies are put in place.”
She went on to encourage the students to be leaders for Africa in the 4th and 5th Industrial Revolutions. “As you take Africa forward to be a leading continent, do so with integrity. It may be slow but when you do things the right way and you attain success it will be sustainable.”
In his welcoming address Prof. Barry Green, Director of AIMS South Africa said, “Today is a very proud moment for AIMS as we celebrate 15 years with our new graduates who join over 1600 alumni across the network.”
There were also messages of congratulations via video from Prof. Neil Turok, Founder of AIMS, who said, “As AIMS graduates you are part of a unique set of people and you are on the leading edge of a wave of young Africans who will change Africa.” Mr Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of the AIMS Global Network, reminded the graduates, “AIMS gave you the opportunity to blossom intellectually and showcase your skills, now it is your turn to give back and help support AIMS so that we can give this same opportunity to other young Africans.”
The ceremony was officiated by Prof Susan Bourne, Interim Dean of Science, University of Cape Town, Ms Nita Lawton-Misa Registrar, who presided on behalf of the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tyrone Pretorius, University of the Western Cape, and Prof. Nico Koopman, Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation & Personnel, Stellenbosch University.
Among the many friends and supporters of AIMS who attended the ceremony was the first Director Prof. Fritz Hahne, as well as the Chair of the AIMS Advisory Council Prof. Sizwe Mabizela, the Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University.
In the ceremony AIMS Endowed Scholarships were awarded to a number of top achievers by Prof. Thandi Mgwebi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Postgraduate Studies, Research, Innovation and Engagement, Tshwane University of Technology and AIMS South Africa Council Member.
- The Stephen Hawking Scholarship, named in honour of the world-renowned physicist went to Mr Kiady Mahefa Andry Manantena, from Madagascar.
- 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 Ms Juliana Thomasia Chakirath Marcos, from Benin.
- The Paul G. Allen Scholarship, endowed by the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, was awarded to Ms Sandra Annie Tsiorintsoa, from Madagascar.
- And two Dr Victor Rothschild Scholarships, went to Ms Rojo Fanamperana Randrianomentsoa, from Madagascar and Mr Yasser Salah Eddine Bouchareb, from Algeria.
Prof. Barry Green, Ms Sandra Annie Tsiorintsoa, Ms Rojo Fanamperana Randrianomentsoa, Prof. Thandi Mgwebi, Ms Juliana Thomasia Chakirath Marcos, Mr Yasser Salah Eddine Bouchareb, Mr Kiady Mahefa Andry Manantena and Prof. Jeff Sanders.