Friday, August 8, 2008

Advancing Science and Technology Education in Africa: The AUST Project




It is said that a few years ago when James Wolfesohn, former President of the World Bank, asked Nelson Mandela what he thought was the greatest need for development in Africa, Mandela unhesitatingly replied that it was human capacity in science and technology. Mandela’s statement inspired the World Bank to initiate the Nelson Mandela Institute/African Institute of Science and Technology project in 2004. The original vision was to create a world-class Pan-African research-oriented institution composed of higher education campuses and smaller affiliated centers of excellence throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This institution would be capable of training the next generation of African scientists and engineers and profoundly impacting the continent’s development.

This July marked the commencement of the first academic year at the first of the four proposed campuses: AUST Abuja. The next campus is likely to be in Arusha, Tanzania. 55 students were admitted into post-graduate courses at Abuja. Instructors include outstanding science and engineering professors from the African diaspora committed to helping the project succeed.

As a member of the African Scientific Committee (ASC) of the Nelson Mandela Institute, one of the things I find most exciting about this experiment is the fact that several of Africa’s best science and engineering students will be gathered in one place—I expect an explosion of creativity!

At the end of June, my wife, Dr. Fran Osseo-Asare, and I hosted a reception at the Legon Guest Centre restaurant for the Ghanaian AUST students. Eight of them were able to attend, along with several guests. Registrar A. T. Konu and Prof. Awotwi, Vice Dean of the School of Research and Graduate Studies, were present to provide words of encouragement and advice.

Below is a brief video featuring the students at the reception sharing their interests and hopes and aspirations.

38 comments:

Titus said...

This is really great. I'm proud of you mummy and Prof. You really did exceptional job in Ghana which positively affected most lives including me. I happened to be fortunate to be part of this historical and exciting institution. It wasn't easy though when things got started on the first campus of Abuja, but i'm gradually becoming used to.
Many-many thanks.
Titus

Kwadwo Osseo-Asare said...

Congratulations, Titus. This is certainly a wonderful opportunity for you and your colleagues. Work hard and have fun. I wish you all the best.

okechukwu said...

Goodday sir,

How was your flight back to UK? Splendid I guess.I hope you meet your friends and colleagues in good shape.
It actually hard to say goodbye after having Fun with you for two weeks.It was a remarkable two weeks filled with stress and fun.We couldn't have made it without your encouragement and professional touches to lectures.You always cheer us up with words such as 'I KNOW YOU LADS ARE BRIGHT AND INTELLIGENT'.I appreciate your unyielding patience to our annoying errors even when the solution can be easily presented. You inspired us beyond mountains. We would have yielded to the stress on us if you were not in charge.You made us understand that everything in life requires understanding and thinking.Your preparedness for each lectures is amazing .Its a great opportunity meeting you not only as a teacher but also a mentor.

Hope to seeing you next year.

Ogbuu Okechukwu Anthony
Material Science and Engineering
AUST. Abuja.Nigeria

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