Federal Minister, Dr Annette Schavan, together with other delegates from Germany including Dr Horst Freitag, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Prof Helmut Schwarz, President: Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Prof Margret Wintermantel, President: German Academic Exchange Service and Prof Jörg Hacker, President: German National Academy of Science, Leopoldina, visited the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Muizenberg on 17 April 2012. The visit formed part of the activities that have taken place in Cape Town for the opening of the German-South African Year of Science (2012/2013).
The Minister and her party were welcomed to AIMS by the Director, Professor Barry Green, who said, “We are very grateful that you made the time to see our institute and to talk to our students. AIMS is small but our footprint in Africa is growing. Local and international organisations including governments, DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation have and are contributing to our success.”
This was followed by presentations from AIMS students and alumni. Mr Musa Kurhula Baloyi from Limpopo Province, South Africa who started at AIMS in January 2012 said, “AIMS is the first place where I have studied that I have actually spoken to a lecturer for more than three minutes. Lecturers show an interest in students which I have never experienced in the same way before.”
He was followed by Ms Hasana Al-Hassan from Ghana, a student currently at AIMS. “Saying that the AIMS model is innovative is an understatement. In my country you get ahead in science by passing exams. But here at AIMS I can actually show the world that I can use what I know. The AIMS model is the best model ever, it allows us to be in the best position to change the whole world.”
Mr Siaka Lougue, AIMS Alumnus 2009-10, DAAD PhD scholarship recipient currently at the University of the Western Cape said, “AIMS for me is everything, it opens the door to opportunities for us every day. AIMS was a wonderful experience, it is a kind, hardworking community that really believes in Africa. I would like to thank everyone at AIMS and DAAD for the scholarship.”
“It is a pleasure for us to visit AIMS and to listen to your stories and hear about your experiences,” said Dr Schavan. “The German-South African Year of Science will be a special year with lots of events. The results of which will be relevant for the next generation. It is wonderful to hear from the students especially the last student who said that he had a pessimistic view of Africa, but after his experience at AIMS his view has changed. There is great power in the context of Science and Research which can lead to a better world. We only wish you the best and we welcome such talented young people to Europe and especially Germany. In return young Germans will come to South Africa so that together we can all work for a better world.”
After the presentation the Minister and other delegates had the opportunity to meet and talk with AIMS students over tea.