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Visitors from Senegal at TU Chemnitz

Two tutors and the academic director of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Senegal travelled to Germany and promoted academic exchange

  • Bernadette Faye (left) and Ange-Salomé Messeng Ekossono from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Senegal visited the Courtyard Festival of TU Chemnitz together with Prof. Dr. Peter Stollmann on December 3rd, 2014. Photo: Steve Conrad

An international atmosphere could be felt currently at Technische Universität Chemnitz, as the team of the Professorship Analysis of the Faculty of Mathematics received guests from West Africa. Ange-Salomé Messeng Ekossono and Bernadette Faye from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)-Senegal arrived at Technische Universität Chemnitz to promote international academic exchanges for three weeks in December 2014. The young mathematicians (from Senegal and Cameroon, respectively) are working on their PhDs and teach students at AIMS. Therefore, this visit should not be the only one from Africa, because Dr. Amadou Tall, the Academic Director of AIMS-Senegal, travelled to Germany from 12th till 31st December 2014, and attended the Faculty of Mathematics at TU Chemnitz to conduct mathematical research and promote international networking with AIMS-Senegal.

AIMS-Senegal is part of the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI), which is understood as a network of numerous centres of excellence for education and training of scientists in the field of mathematics in Africa. Apart from AIMS-Senegal, four other centres have been established in Ghana, Cameroon, South Africa and Tanzania since the foundation of AIMS in 2003 in Cape Town. The cooperation between AIMS-Senegal and TU Chemnitz begun in summer 2013 and has been initiated by Prof. Dr. Arnold van Zyl, Rector of TU Chemnitz. Joint projects have been previously carried out with the AIMS-Ghana. Prof. Dr. Peter Stollmann, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, appreciates the cooperation and has already been several times on site. For the first time he visited centres of excellence in Senegal and Ghana to discuss possibilities of cooperation and participate as a guest lecturer at a workshop in the summer of 2013. “The academic teaching is the main focus of the exchange between TU Chemnitz and AIMS“, says Stollmann and adds: “The idea of importing high quality teaching is great.“ He left for a two-week visit to Senegal together with his former PhD student and TUC graduate Dr. Christian Seifert to give a course at AIMS Senegal again at the end of 2014.

The degree course at AIMS runs for one year and is meant to introduce the students to international research. Upon successful completion of the course, the participants receive a Master degree, which is comparable to the German standards. The number of applicants is high, but the vacancies are low. Currently, there are 53 young graduates from 20 African countries in the program at AIMS Senegal. Above all, Prof. Stollmann admires students’ ambition and enthusiasm. “The workload is huge, but I have seldomly seen so much cheerfulness. As a rule, each lecture begins with a test and progress is being tested with a number of exams. Besides, eight hours of instruction per day is the usual routine during weekdays. As the students like to say AIMS should actually stand for ‚African Institute for Minimal Sleeping‘“, Stollmann says toung in cheek. And he adds: “Students live together over the whole period of study and the teachers share meals and other social activities on campus. At this point, the diplomatic component of AIMS should be underlined. Despite religious or political differences, students at AIMS are all working towards the same goal. This strengthens not only the social cohesion, but also the scientific progress.“ During the study period, AIMS provides scholarships as well as housing and meals.

The cooperation is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the project “Perspectives in Mathematics: From Foundations to Applications“. In the course of this project, TU Chemnitz provides an opportunity to support young scientists, and vice versa, offer international students prestigious Master degree courses or PhD positions. Three AIMS graduates will come to Germany in July 2015 to enroll in the integrated international Master’s and PhD program in the winter term 2015/16. DAAD funds their stay for one and a half years. This will strengthen international cooperation and academic exchange at a high level.

The first “Global Gathering“ of the Next Einstein Forum – an initiative of AIMS in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Foundation takes place in Senegal, March 2016. The Rector of TU Chemnitz, Prof. Dr. Arnold van Zyl is also a member of the Scientific Programme Committee. He was recently attending a conference in Cape Town, where the program for this event has been designed.

More information about AIMS Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI) can be found at http://www.nexteinstein.org/.

(Author: Katharina Preuß, Translation: Nataliia Boiko)

Katharina Thehos
26.01.2015

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