On 13 December, AIMS South Africa celebrated the success of 20 students (including 14 South Africans) from the January 2023 intake at a Recognition of Achievement Ceremony held at the Centre.
In his welcome address, Dr Ulrich Paquet, Director of AIMS noted, “Today we celebrate with you, acknowledging how incredibly hard you have all worked, the new friendships you have made and that your minds have been stretched is so many new ways. It is said that human minds once stretched can never regain their original dimensions, so it is my hope that during your year at AIMS your minds have been stretched is so many ways that you leave AIMS with enriched minds and as such a richer person than when you arrived.”
Ms Marry Thekhwe and Mr Neo Kevin Sibuyi, both from South Africa spoke on behalf of the students. They both thanked AIMS and everyone who made the year possible for them. Ms Thekwe stated, “We are all very lucky, we came here to acquire knowledge, we came here determined and we have succeeded. This is a momentous occasion as we celebrate not only as individuals but as a collective that we have completed a challenging yet rewarding journey.” Mr Sibuyi said, “We promise that wherever we end up, in academia or in industry, we will make you proud and make sure that the AIMS footprint is known.” To his fellow students he added, “When they talk about the youth of Africa that is us, we all need to become full participants of the economy, to drive the economy and create something special.”
The guest speaker at the event was Prof. Mike Giles from the University of Oxford and a member of the AIMS Council. He congratulated the students for their impressive accomplishments and offered the students some advice by reflecting on his own life lessons. “Always seize opportunities, keep your eyes open and don’t always play it safe. Push yourself to go out of your comfort zone as this helps you to develop courage. There are lots of challenges in life as such it is important to learn to be resilient and develop confidence as you progress in your careers. Enjoy work and do work that you enjoy.” He went on to encourage the students to become active participants in building up the larger AIMS community.
Mr Kukhanya Zondo, from South Africa, received the award for Academic Excellence.
When the students formally graduate in the new year, the total number of AIMS South Africa graduates since 2003 will be 993 from 41 African countries, of which 35% are women.