Thursday, August 18, 2016

ASP Forum Day and Outreach

It was Saturday, but ASP did not take a day off! A break from classes gave the students and lecturers an opportunity to interact with members of civil society, government, and the community.

The morning began with a Quarknet led masterclass for high school teachers on particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. This was the second and final day of the masterclass, and the teachers got to participate in a CMS virtual visit (you can also take an ATLAS virtual visit). They then participated in a dry run of exercises they could do with their students in their schools. At the end of the day, the teachers discussed possible lesson plans and how particle physics exercises would fit into their students' curricula. They were excited to share these particle physics exercises in their own classrooms.

Teachers plotting the Z-boson mass peak in an exercise they can do with their students in the classroom

ASP then turned its attention to The ASP2016 Forum Day, held at the CMHS Hall Nyarugenge Campus of the University of Rwanda. This year's theme was "ASP as a platform for collaboration and bilateral agreement within Africa on Education and Capacity Development". 

The forum was moderated by Bonfis Safari, physics professor at of the University of Rwanda, College of Science and Technology. It was opened with a welcome address given by Mike Hughes on behalf of the Rwandan Ministry of Education. Ketevi Assamagan then gave a background on The African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications. The students' perspective on the school and their experiences in Rwanda was shared by one of our own, Alice Ikuzwe.

Mike Hughes (left), the Advisor on Science, Technology, and Research Ministry of Education, welcomes the crowd (right)

Successful models of collaboration were presented by several speakers. Bobby Arachya presented The Abdus Salam Italian Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the agreement between ICTP and the University of Rwanda to host the new East Africa Institute for Fundamental Research. The Executive Secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje, and the Deputy Executive Secretary of The East Africa Science and Technology Commission, Saidi Kibeya, spoke about the agreement of the East African bloc to work together to build capacity and access to education in the East African Region. Then the Hon. Dr. Musafiri Papias Malimba, the Minister of Education, gave a Rwandan perspective on successes in education and partnerships. 

After a coffee break, the next group of speakers presented current and future initiatives for research and entrepreneurship. Didier Nkurikiyimfura, the Head of Technology and Innovation for SMART Africa, presented the SMART Africa initiative to build capacity in and economic development through Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The SMART Africa Manifesto started as an agreement between 7 African heads of state, and has now been adopted by all members of the African Union. Luce Serafini of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), presented the initiative to build a Compact Laser Facility for Africa. The laboratory for such a facility is compact enough to be hosted on a university campus and presents an exciting opportunity for researchers in Africa as a first step toward an African Light Source

The forum then looked to the future of ASP. Mweneni Shahungu of the Namibian National Committee on Research, Science and Techology and Eli Kasai of the University of Namibia Department of Physics presented on behalf of the organizers for the 2018 edition of ASP to be held in Namibia. Simon Connell of the University of Johannesburg Department of Physics then gave a perspective on how ASP and Africa can work toward capacity development while stopping Brain Drain. 

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Phil Cotton, then closed the Forum Day and welcomed attendants to join ASP and the students for a reception at the Hotel Portofino. We may work on a Saturday, but we also know how to have fun!

Traditional dancers provide entertainment during dinner shared between ASP students and guests

No comments:

Post a Comment