KIGALI, Rwanda, 20 December 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) today announces its second Ambassadors Class, 45 scientists and tech champions across Africa, all under 42 years of age, who are solving Africa’s and the world’s challenges.
An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF will hold its second global forum for science in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame on 26-28 March 2018.
Central to the NEF’s vision of propelling Africa onto the global scientific stage, the NEF Ambassadors will attend the NEF Global Gathering in Kigali, connect with each other and scientists from across the world. While growing their own careers through mentorship and collaborations offered by a growing network of partners, NEF Ambassadors drive the NEF’s local public engagement activities like the NEF Africa Science Week, and will help craft an exciting and high impact forum.
“Two years ago, it was an honor to announce the inaugural Ambassadors Class in Dakar. Today again, I am excited to announce a brilliant NEF Ambassadors Class. The 45 selected Ambassadors, eighteen of whom are women, are helping transform their local community through national campaigns like GirlsInSTEM, through research in renewable energy, food security, fin-tech etc. Beyond just theoretical research, our Ambassadors have developed impressive technologies from their research. We look forward to shining a light on their initiatives and technologies which we believe are solving local and global challenges,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Chairman of the NEF.
NEF Ambassadors are selected using a holistic process that reviews academic achievement, entrepreneurial abilities and recent public engagement efforts, particularly online. Ambassadors also have to demonstrate a passion for raising Africa’s scientific profile and inspiring the next generation of scientific leaders.
“I would like to thank the first Ambassadors Class who ran the first ever NEF Africa Science Week and continue to run impactful campaigns to mentor the next generation of scientists and technologists. Together with this new Ambassadors’ class, they join the newly launched NEF Community of Scientists, an exclusive network that offers members research collaborations, networking and speaking opportunities and career mentorship. In return, members will participate in national and continental policy formulation, cross-cutting research and innovation activities, lead public engagement around science and technology in Africa, and provide mentorship to early-career scientists and students,” said Mr. Zomahoun.
The NEF is currently looking for Ambassadors for the following countries: Angola, Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinee, Central Africa Republic, Djibouti, Lesotho, South Sudan and Tunisia. Interested applicants can download the application at nef.org/ambassadors. Learn more about the NEF Global Gathering 2018 at gg2018.nef.org
Meet the 2017-2019 NEF Ambassadors:
- Meriem Benmardi (Algeria) is a Senior Digital Project Manager at TBWA Worldwide and CEO of BETELA Recruiting, an innovative hiring program. She has over 8 years of experience as a HR specialist and IT project management consultant and has been recognized for her leadership, including being chosen a TechWoman by the US State Department.
- Donald Semevo Elian Tchaou (Benin) owns TIC Agro Business Center company, which specializes in the development of communication tools, training of producers and dissemination of good agricultural practices. His company uses exclusively the opportunities offered by the Information and Communication Technologies for a better agricultural extension.
- Yame Nkgowe (Botswana) is a seasoned service manager with 11 years’ business management experience and a social entrepreneur with 3.5 years bootstrapping two startups from concept to pilot stage. He is currently the founder of Sustainable Cities Africa, a social enterprise focused on ensuring a sustainable African Urban Future through Smart City Strategies.
- Abdrahamane Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and is working as a Girl Generation Program Officer in Burkina Faso to end female genital mutilation in Africa. With over 17 years of activism in youth organizations at national, regional and international levels, he is a founding member of the Network of International Youth Organizations in Africa.
- Paterne Gahungu (Burundi) is an AIMS alumnus, doing a PhD research on stochastic modelling at the African Centre of Excellence for Mathematics and Applications in Benin. Previously, he has worked as volunteer at Centre de Recherche en Didactique des Sciences au Burundi and together with four other students, established a science club that trains students in use of technology, and conduct scientific debates and presentations among themselves.
- Sara Baptista (Cape Verde) is a PhD candidate in Life Sciences, in the Parasitology field specifically in the Graduate Program Science for Development (PGCD) and is currently working in Instituto de Medicina Molecular- João Lobo Antunes, Lisbon, Portugal at Dr. Maria Mota Lab, which is interested in studying the Biology & Physiology of Malaria. She is working mostly on understanding how the main liver stage protein of the plasmodium parasite, the circumsporozoite protein is processed by the host hepatocyte.
- Arielle Kitio Tsamo (Cameroon) is a certified mentor and technology enthusiast, currently pursuing her PhD in software engineering for disease surveillance at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon. Also, she is the founder of CAYSTI, an initiative that works on innovative technologies and methodologies to promote quality education and ensure effective learning.
- Francis Mbaibo (Chad) won Digital Innovation Award of Reach for Change, and one of the 50 best African startups chosen by the European Union at the EU Africa Forum. As an entrepreneurial technician, he has created a digital startup that introduces young people to digital entrepreneurship. Today, Francis is working on an agribusiness application, which he hopes to operationalize in 2018.
- Mandingha Kosso Etoka-Beka (Republic of Congo) research is on malaria in children carrying the sickle cell trait in a laboratory. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Molecular Biology and Applied Immunology at Marien Ngouabi University.
- Raissa Malu (DRC) is a physicist by training, author and editor of “Les Indispensables” textbooks collection. In 2014, Raissa founded with friends a non-profit organization that organizes Science and Technology Week, in Kinshasa DRC. Currently, she is the Head of Technical Support Unit at the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Professional Education for the Education Project for the Quality and Relevance of Secondary and Higher Education.
- Ghislain DESSIEH (Ivory Coast) is a consultant in sustainable development and social Innovation, and a lawyer by training. He holds a degree in Business Law from HEC Abidjan and guided by his passion for science and technology, Ghislain is part of Africa 4 Tech’s Young African Innovator Program, which brings together 40 young Africans innovators in the field of technology, health and energy.
- Dr. Basant Motawi (Egypt) has worked with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland within the Ageing and Life Course Department. Currently doing a joint PhD in Epidemiology between Ain Shams University in Egypt and University of Maryland in USA. Her research focuses on the hidden health and economic burden of gender based violence, and aspires to advance policies that empower women through her work.
- Mussie Mengistu Habtom (Eritrea) is doing a masters in special needs education (learning disabilities) Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya. His dream of becoming a teacher, inspired him to join a Teacher Training Institution, and is currently a lecturer and MEd candidate in Kenyatta University, Kenya.
- Binyam Sisay Mendisu’s (Ethiopia) research interests include the descriptive study of Omotic languages and the study of mother tongue education in Africa. He is currently employed as program officer for teacher education and curriculum development by UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa.
- Yannick Ovono (Gabon) is Rabi Institute for Development Studies CEO and Mandela Institute for Development Studies Scholar, passionate about education, leadership, media, politics, and youth development in the continent of Africa. He holds an MSc in journalism from the University of Istanbul, and BA degree in economics from the Istanbul academy of science, with 5 years of work experience in various positions both in the media industry and Academia.
- David Jeng (Gambia) is the Project Manager for Give1 Project Gambia, whose goal is to create leaders in their communities. The project has implemented 8 tech camps in ICT for girls, leadership and entrepreneurship training, implemented the Akon Lighting Africa pilot project in the Gambia. Currently, he is the Business Support Coordinator at Startup Incubator Gambia, which is the first business incubation hub for startups, having incubated 62 startups and created more than 180 jobs since 2015.
- Peter Asare-Nuamah’s (Ghana) research interest cuts across disaster management, climate change, education, e-governance and Pan-Africanism. He is a PhD candidate at Pan African University, Cameroon and has served in different leadership capacities. Peter aspires to contribute to academia and society through research and teaching, particularly in the African context.
- Keita Alpha Kabinet’ s (Guinea) work focuses on the study of the epidemiology of Tropheryma whipplei and the Ebola virus in a global study project in humans and wildlife in Guinea. Currently, Keita is a Postdoctoral Researcher within the UMI233, Translational Research on HIV and Infectious Diseases (TransVIHMI) of the Research Institute for Development (IRD).
- Dr. Rose M Mutiso (Kenya) is co-founder and CEO of the Mawazo Institute, focusing on African energy sector development. She is a materials engineer by training, with technical experience in the fields of nanotechnology and polymer physics, including nano-electronics and next-generation energy technologies.
- Michael Sonneyboy Gboneh (Liberia) graduated with a BSc degree in Mathematics, and as well holds an MSc in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Stellenbosch on full scholarship by MasterCard foundation and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS, South Africa). Currently, he is serving the position of Chairperson, Department of Mathematics, University of Liberia where he has dedicated his time to academia and using mathematics to help solve Africa’s many problems, to help young people learn and contribute to the growth of Liberia and Africa in general.
- Kusai Fteita (Libya) is the founder and mentor of Roboticx4004, the Libyan national robotics team, that represented Libya in FIRST Global Challenge 2017, and co- founder of Google Developers Group Tripoli and Blockchain startup. Recently, he founded Tech Impact, a social enterprise that provides hands-on robotics training for youth.
- Mireille Harimalala’s (Madagascar) research activities focus on the genetics of plague disease vector flea populations and the study of the country’s flea phylogeny, and leads a team that is working on fleas and its associated diseases. She has completed two years of postdoctoral studies at the Medical Entomology Unit of IPM and currently deepening her research on the same themes, in order to elucidate the phylogeography and dispersal mechanisms of these vector flea populations in relation to the persistence of plague in Madagascar.
- Chikondi Shaba (Malawi) holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry, with a minor in Statistics and a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from University of Botswana. She is a Lecturer and Deputy Head of the Chemistry Department at Chancellor College of the University of Malawi and presently, she is responsible for assessing water chemistry of groundwater on a project “Hidden Crisis”.
- Souleymane Sogoba (Mali) works as a documentarist at the University of Ségou in Mali, as well, he is the Information Manager of the Scientific and Technical Journal of Mali and Member of the IFLA Information Technologies Section, and Ambassador of the Program IPA of IFLA in Mali, taking part in the construction of the building what he calls “a connected Africa, an informed Africa”.
- Abdoulaye Sidiki BA (Mauritania) holds a PhD in Mechanics from the University of Bordeaux as well as a Masters in Engineering in Acoustics and Fluid in the specialty Ultrasonic Non Destructive Control from the University of Paris Diderot. His research work focuses on the design, manufacture, and characterization of a new concept of so-called “intelligent” material called metamaterial.
- Lakshana Mohee’s (Mauritius) dream was to become a biomaterials scientist in order to develop innovative and more accessible techniques for improved healthcare around the world. Currently doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge in Biomaterials and Medical Devices, she hopes to start a company in Mauritius to develop such devices.
- Dr. Lahbib LATRACH (Morocco) is a researcher at the National Center for Studies and Research on Water and Energy, with a PhD in Environment and Water Biotechnology from the University of Cadi Ayyad, and a member of the Laboratory Hydrobiology, Ecotoxicology, Sanitation & Global Change at the Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Marrakech and the Laboratory of Soil Science and Ecological Engineering Shimane University, Japan.
- Lars Albino Lemos (Mozambique) is the Lead Trainer of Knowledge Sharing Campaign, a community platform that brings together those who have experience and can share their knowledge and those who are eager to learn, but lack opportunities. He is a developer for Health Information Systems at Global Programs for Research & Learning, Co-Founder of Mukheru Express and CEO of MozDevelopment, a company that provides software development training for the community in learning how to program.
- Aibate Hatago Sturmann (Namibia) is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Namibia, investigating polymer science. She holds a Master’s degree in Science with research interest in Ethno-pharmacology, drug discovery and development focusing on non-communicable diseases.
- Halimatou Hima Moussa Dioula (Niger) is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, where she is a Cambridge-Africa Trust scholar, doing research in Development Studies. Halimatou uses the concept of “ilimi”, often translated as knowledge or education, to challenge, question and reimagine educational systems in African countries. Her “ilimi Afrika” initiative hopes to create oases of innovation, learning and imagination in public schools across Niger and Africa.
- Obidi Ezezika (Nigeria) is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough and in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. He has a PhD in Microbiology from University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from Yale University. Dr Obidi champions a Nutrition Gamification System called “Nutrido” in Abuja, Nigeria.
- Bobson Rugambwa (Rwanda) is passionate about affordable and sustainable financial and energy technology solutions for Africa’s most vulnerable. A software engineer, entrepreneur and energy enthusiast, he is co-founder and CEO of MVend Limited, a Fintech company in Rwanda, developing financial inclusion tools for the unbanked.
- Paulo Emanuel D’Alva (Sao Tome and Principe) is an Architect and entrepreneur, with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from DeVry FANOR. He has extensive experience in Sustainable Architecture, having worked at the U.S. Green Building Council, and is the Deputy Director of DALVAGAUP, the largest Architecture firm in Sao Tome and Principe.
- Khadidatou Sall (Senegal) is the founder of a vocational education space where culture mingles with STEM to innovate and bring Senegalese community together, to learn, make and create in a program called Science Education Exchange for Sustainable Development (SeeSD). Through SeeSD, she has empowered over 200 children, through hands-on workshops related to biology, physics, chemistry, 3D printing, coding and electronics.
- Jessica D’unienville (Seychelles) holds Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, from Curtin University of Technology. She is currently a Principal Research Officer for Knowledge Management and Education at NISTI, where she is carrying out the R&D and Innovation Survey, a first for Seychelles.
- Salwa Supckie Campbell (Sierra Leone) has several professional training certificates in mentorship, devoting her time to mentor and inspire young girls interested in STEM disciplines. With over 11 years’ experience in data analytics and quality checks, she has worked with one of the leading big data analytics companies in the world – Quid Inc.
- Dr. Sadiyo Siad (Somalia) is a founder and Chancellor at Hano Academy and a multi-specialist; Medical diagnostic, lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Her medical education includes a PhD in Tuberculosis specializing in Immunology and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, University of Leicester.
- Keabetswe Tebogo Ncube (South Africa) is doing her research in Genetics at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is currently on a research program in Maryland, USA as part of her doctoral studies, working with the United Stated Department of Agriculture, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.
- Mohammed Kamal (Sudan) is a researcher, working and lecturing at University of Medical Science and Technology (UMST) as well, he teaches short courses at the National University, in the field of material science, -Sudan. Currently, he is developing a drug charging and transportations system through the use of nanostructured system that aims to enhance CT and MRI imaging process to effectively deliver drugs to enhance cancer treatments.
- Sifiso Musa Nkambule (Swaziland) is a Lecturer of Physics at the University of Swaziland, Physics Department, with a first degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Swaziland and masters in Physics at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Currently, he is involved in “THE PHYSICS SHOW” project, which aims to reach Schools, colleges and the Swaziland community, through showcasing most exciting things in Physics.
- Dr. Lwidiko Edward Mhamilawa (Tanzania) is a Medical Doctor and Co-founder of ProjeKt Inspire that works towards discovering talents in STEM. He nurtures kids of 3-14 years through the Rising STEAM Stars project that provides one on one mentorship, job shadowing and Boot camps.
- Aglago Dodzi (Togo) is the founder of MobileLabo, a scientific laboratory which specializes in the design and sale of laboratory equipment, products and services. Through his mobile lab, he has enabled kids in rural areas to access lab materials for science learning which has inspired half a million students in Togo to pursue science.
- Joanitah N Nalubega (Uganda) is an industrial chemist, with a deep passion for technology, currently working to deploy solutions for the health sector using technology in Uganda.
- Stephen Malunga Manchishi (Zambia) lectured Animal Physiology and other related biological sciences in the department of Biological Sciences at the University of Zambia, briefly before embarking on PhD studies in Reproductive Neuroendocrinology at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He and his colleague Co-founded the Juniors & Seniors’ Institute of Natural Sciences- mentorship network, an initiative that bridges the information gap to help upcoming scientists make informed decisions early in life.
- Ian Nyasha Mutamiri (Zimbabwe) is an electrical and software engineer who is very passionate about leveraging quality technology for social benefits. His research focuses on mobile language learning solutions for children. For his work, he was awarded two FIRE (AFRINIC) Grants in 2013 and 2016.
- Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.
The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.
Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.
The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.