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Department of Mathematical Sciences

Alumni Appeal: MSc Education without frontiers: Africa

Patrick Dorey at AIMS-South Africa

The Durham Department of Mathematical Sciences Alumni Fund (DDMSAF) could, alongside research summer bursaries, support MSc scholarships for young talented African students, giving a true sense of continuity to our involvement in the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in South Africa and Ghana. For a decade now, some of our staff have spent up to three weeks once or twice a year, teaching at AIMS centres, to deliver the highest quality training at a low cost. They teach students who then go on to Masters or PhDs at top universities in Africa and abroad. When back home, these graduates strengthen African universities, research centres, government and industries. You can read more about AIMS at http://www.nexteinstein.org/.

Professor Patrick Dorey, a Durham postgraduate alumnus (PhD 1990) is our principal link with AIMS. He regularly travels to South Africa and Ghana to deliver basic short courses to enthusiastic and talented students. You can see him in action here, when he demonstrates solitons with the help of some students at Muizenberg, near Cape Town, where the AIMS-South Africa is located. AIMS-Ghana is set in the historically significant Central region of Ghana, specifically Biriwa, a small coastal town about 130 km west of Accra, the capital city of Ghana. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and AIMS-Ghana offers an intensive one-year taught Masters degree in Mathematical Sciences accredited by the Universities of Ghana and Cape Coast and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. There is always scope for a soccer match at the end of a study day. In the 2015-2016 academic year, Patrick taught in Ghana and in AIMS-Tanzania, while Dr Djoko Wirosoetisno and Dr Jokke Hasa taught in Ghana. Next year, Patrick will be teaching in South Africa and Tanzania, while Prof Steve Abel will return to teach in Ghana.

Our first MSc student on this scheme, Arnaud Andrianavalomahefa from Madagascar, has just completed our one-year taught MSc in Particles, Strings and Cosmology. Our second scholar, Kunda Kambaso from Zambia, arrived in Durham at the end of September 2016 to begin our MSc in Mathematical Sciences.

We raised about one-half of the funds needed to offer this MSc studentship through the generosity of Alumni and Trevelyan College. The remaining funds will be taken from Departmental savings, but we would like to encourage you to donate so that we can continue to offer a studentship every year. £25K per year are required to finance an MSc student from Africa.

This is where you can really make a difference as there are very few funding opportunities for such students. This is the beginning of a long journey with a priceless reward: an investment in the quality of a society without frontiers.

Anthony Yeates, Alumni Committee

If you wish to be part of this exciting initiative through a donation, however small, you can donate online by following this link to our donations page. Alternatively, you can email Dr Anthony Yeates, the Chair of our Departmental Alumni Committee, at anthony.yeates@durham.ac.uk.

Anthony graduated from Durham with an MMATH degree in 2005 and is now a Senior Lecturer in Numerical Analysis in our Department.