As part of its quest to recognize innovative educational initiatives that have had a transformative impact on societies, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) has selected Perimeter Institute Director Neil Turok and his AIMS Next Einstein Initiative as one of six winners for the 2010 WISE Awards, from more than 300 applications spanning 89 countries. Each winner will receive US$20,000 towards their project.
2010 WISE Award laureates (left to right) Tove Romsaas Wang, Neil Turok, Cecilia d'Oliveira, Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, Ayla Goksel, and Mushtaq Chhapra are joined onstage by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned (fourth from left), the Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation, and His Excellency Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani (far right), Chairman of WISE.
WISE is an initiative of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Now in its second year, it will host a three-day summit in the capital of Doha from December 7 – 9, drawing more than 1,000 participants from around the globe to discuss creative approaches to education. The summit will include a gala dinner at which Professor Turok, who founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cape Town, South Africa in 2003, will accept the award.
Professor Turok said, “We are thrilled with this recognition from WISE and very much looking forward to meeting world-leading educators at the summit in Doha. AIMS has succeeded through the combined efforts of many people and organisations. WISE represents an opportunity to extend our partnerships around a simple agenda: to enable Africa’s brightest scientific talents to flourish and, ultimately, to transform Africa’s future. We hope our success in Africa will inspire similarly creative efforts elsewhere.”
Arun Sharma, AIMS-NEI’s Project Director (Africa), added, “AIMS is working to transform education in Africa every day, and as we approach the launch of our next AIMS centres, recognition of the innovativeness and efficacy of the AIMS model from the world-class jury behind the WISE awards is an honour. At the summit, we look forward to making new partnerships and launching new collaborations to improve our own work at home in Africa.”
Other winners of the 2010 WISE Award included The Citizens Foundation of Pakistan, Turkey’s Mother Child Education Program, the Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio in Nigeria, MIT OpenCourseWare in the United States, and UK-based Rewrite the Future. WISE is planning to launch a blog to allow people to follow the developments of all the winning projects, as well as the six winners from 2009.
In addition to the WISE Award, Professor Turok was recently honoured by the South African Mathematical Society (SAMS) as co-winner of the SAMS Award for the Advancement of Mathematics 2010. He shared the honour with Professor Fritz Hahne, founding Director of AIMS-South Africa, for their instrumental roles in the creation and growth of AIMS, which Deputy President of SAMS Jamshid Moori said was responsible for rejuvenating the mathematical sciences in South Africa.
About AIMS and NEI
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a globally recognized centre of excellence for postgraduate education and research based in Cape Town, South Africa. Its mission is to rapidly and cost-effectively expand Africa’s scientific and technological capacity by providing advanced training to exceptional African graduates. Since its establishment in 2003, 305 students, 33% of them women, from 31 African countries, have graduated from the AIMS centre in South Africa. Their track record is outstanding, with over 95% continuing to Masters and PhD degrees and the vast majority remaining in Africa to apply their skills in African universities, research centres, government, NGOs and industry. The Next Einstein Initiative (NEI), stemming from Neil Turok’s TED Prize wish that “the next Einstein be from Africa”, is a strategic plan to build on the success of the first AIMS centre and create a coordinated pan-African network of 15 AIMS centres by 2020, producing 750 well-qualified graduates per year.
The Role of PI Global Outreach
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI), in Waterloo, Ontario, is a leading international centre for research in foundational physics. PI’s Global Outreach program, with AIMS-NEI as its centrepiece, is devoted to promoting and sharing expertise with emerging centres of excellence in physics and maths worldwide. PI Global Outreach serves as the North American coordinating partner for AIMS-NEI, facilitating the participation of other public and private partners in that endeavour.