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TWAS Newsletter
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TWAS General Meeting set for Rwanda

TWAS General Meeting set for Rwanda

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and TWAS President Bai Chunli agreed on plans to hold the 27th TWAS General Meeting in Kigali, the fourth time the event will be held in sub-Saharan Africa.

The 27th TWAS General Meeting will be held 14-17 November this year in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, after a recent meeting between top Rwandan and top TWAS officials finalized the plans.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame met with TWAS President Bai Chunli and then-TWAS Executive Director Romain Murenzi during an official visit this spring. Rwandan Minister of Education Papias Malimba Musafiri also met with the TWAS delegation, and his ministry will be the principal Rwandan host for the meeting. 

"Rwanda is deeply committed to science and to science education," Musafiri said after the visit. "The Ministry of Education is therefore delighted with the opportunity to host the TWAS meeting. It will give us a chance to engage with some of the world's most esteemed scientists, and in the long term, it will strengthen the links of our schools and universities to science networks in the South and worldwide." 

Learn more about registering for the TWAS General Meeting in Rwanda.

Bai, who also serves as president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), expressed gratitude to Kagame and Rwanda for agreeing to host the event, and they also discussed Rwanda's possible future collaborations with TWAS and CAS. 

"We are extremely grateful to President Kagame for his generosity in hosting the 2016 TWAS General Meeting," Bai said after the 28 April visit. "Rwanda has established itself as a model of science progress. With such an important location, this meeting will be valuable opportunity to deepen the bonds between TWAS and Africa." 

TWAS's General Meeting, an invitation-only event, is an annual highlight for science in the developing world. This year, a session featuring government ministers and other high-level policy officials will focus on the theme "Innovation for Sustainability". Symposia will focus on science related to epidemics; insights into the universe; and science and technology in Rwanda. The annual TWAS-Lenovo Prize and other high-level awards will be announced, and new TWAS Fellows and Young Affiliates will be selected. The event will be preceded by two days of closed business meetings.

Also present for the preparatory discussions in Kigali were representatives from Rwandan institutions, including the Rwandan Ministry of Education (MINEDUC); the University of Rwanda; the Workforce Development Authority; the Higher Education Council; the Rwanda Education Board; and the National Commission for Science and Technology. Representatives from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda also participated.

This will be the first time the meeting is held in Rwanda. It marks the fourth time the meeting is being held in sub-Saharan Africa, following Nigeria in 1995, Senegal in 1999 and South Africa in 2009. The event regularly attracts more than 300 attendees from all over the world, including science ministers and other high-level policymakers, elite researchers, and leaders from science associations, education, funding agencies and non-governmental organizations. It will be held in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other partners. 

See more images from President Paul Kagame's meeting with TWAS officials on Flickr.

Rwanda endured a devastating civil war that culminated in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, leaving an estimated 1 million people dead. But the nation has emerged in recent years as an example of the transformative power of investment in education and technology.

The accomplishments have attracted a number of key international events to the tiny nation. Earlier this year, for example, Rwanda hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa, which brought together global leaders to discuss how to connect Africa’s resources through the continent's digital revolution. Starting in late 2016, Rwanda will host the secretariat for The Next Einstein Forum, a platform that brings together leading African thinkers in science, policy, industry and civil society to work on global challenges.

Rwanda currently hosts two important regional institutes that give the country special standing in fundamental physics and applied mathematics: The East African Institute of Fundamental Research which is hosted by the University of Rwanda at the Kigali campus, is part of a partnership with the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP); and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), which is establishing in Rwanda its Global Headquarters, an AIMS Institute, the global headquarters of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), and the Quantum Leap Africa Research Centre. In 2016, Rwanda will become the fourth country to host the African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications, also at the ICTP centre.

The 27th TWAS General Meeting is expected to provide a unique opportunity for Rwandan scientists invited to the meeting to learn about advanced research in the developing world and the opportunities offered by TWAS and its partners.

Sean Treacy