The Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund and The Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights hosted a conference in Oslo, Norway, February 12-13, 2008 to focus on the importance of building institutions for higher education and research in developing countries. The opening address was deliverd by Jens Revold, State Secretary for the Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland. State Secretary for International Development Håkon Arald Gulbrandsen, The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave a speech titled "Towards a more knowledge based policy for development. Prominent scolars, experts and policymakers from four continents participated in this conference. A summary and most of the presentations are now available on the web, see links in the column to the right. Concluding remarks by Sir John M. Ball.
From a classroom in Bangalore, India. (Photo: Fredrik Naumann. (Samfoto)
The conference was made possible by a grant from the Norwegian government. Various projects designed to support academic institutions and research activities in developing countries will be presented. The activity of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and other international scientific organizations will be given special attention. Such scientific organizations have direct links to the developing regions through professional contacts and individual memberships. The support programs run by these organizations therefore often represent an alternative and a supplement to the support initiated more directly by governments or multi-government organizations like UNESCO.
The aim of the present conference was to illustrate why the creation of academic institutions and research groups is vital for further progress and growth in developing countries, and to evaluate the efficiency of different strategies for the support given by the developed world. In particular, focus will be given to the possibility of improving the efficiency of this support by increased cooperation between governments and international scientific organizations.
13.15 Opening address by Jens Revold, State Secretary for the Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland
13.30 Director Jan Egeland, The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs:
"Building academic institutions - a prerequisite for development and welfare"
15.00 - 17.00: Experiences from developing countries and a panel discussion:
During this session we will have shorter presentations from several active university professors and researchers from various regions of the world.
They will share with us their experiences in building academic institutions and research groups in their homeland, and they will describe some of the critical factors for further progress. Furthermore, they will discuss the importance of building academic institutions for the development in their region.
Hopefully, these presentations with lead to an interesting and fruitful discussion with the rest of the audience.
- Professor Fatima Abu Salem, Lebanon
The American University of Beirut (AUB),
- Professor Thara Tritrakarn, Thailand
Director of Bangkok Anesthsia Regional Training Center, BARTC
- Professor José A. de la Peña, Mexico
President of the Mathematical Union of Latin America and the Caribbean
- Dr. Chan Roath, Cambodia
Director of Scientific Research Department, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and President of Cambodian Mathematical Society
17.30 Professor Olabiyi B.J. YAI, Chairman of UNESCO's Executive Board
9.00 Professor Wandera Ogana, Department of Mathematics, University of Nairobi, Kenya: Promoting mathematics in Africa thorough the African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative (AMMS)
9.30 Andreas Steigen og Eldad Banda, Uganda:
"South - North co-operation on research and capacity building at African universities - experiences from a co-operation project at Makerere University"
10.30 Anubha Verma, Science, Technology and Innovation Specialist, World Bank:
"Building Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Capacity in Developing Countries"
11.00 State Secretary for International Development Håkon Arald Gulbrandsen,
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Towards a more knowledge based policy for development
11.30 Director Gunn Mangerud, Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Higher Education (SIU):
South - South - North cooperation for strengthening higher education and research in developing countries - Norwegian initiatives.
12.00: K.R. Sreenivasan, Abdus Salam Research Professor and Director, ICTP:
"Building Scientific Capacity in Developing Countries: The Role of ICTP"
The speech will be delivered by Dag Harald Johannessen, Assistant Director, ICTP
12.30 Sir John M. Ball: Concluding remarks
Dr. Fatima K. Abu Salem Fatima K. Abu Salem is Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB) where she divides her time between research and teaching.
More about Dr. Fatima K. Abu Salem
Sir John M. Ball John Ball is Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Fellow of The Queen's College.
More about Sir John M. Ball
Wandera Ogana Wandera Ogana is Professor of Applied Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, University of Nairobi, Kenya and Programme Director for African Mathematics Millennium Science Initiative.
More about Wandera Ogana
Olabiyi B.J. Yai Olabiyi B.J. Yai is a specialist in African languages, literature, alphabetization, oral poetry and the culture of African diasporas.
More about Olabiyi B.J. Yai
Dr. José A. de la Peña José A. de la Peña is President of the Mathematical Union of Latin America and the Caribbean.
More about Dr. José A. de la Peña
Chan Roath Dr. Chan Roath is Director of Scientific Research Department, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in Cambodia and President of Cambodian Mathematical Society.
More about Chan Roath
As a Science, Technology and Innovation Specialist at the World Bank, Ms. Verma has been working on STI capacity building programs in several African countries: Rwanda, Mauritius, Botswana. Trained as an engineer, she has the experience of working in the information technology sector in Bangalore India. She holds an MA from Georgetown University in Communications, Culture, and Technology program. She recently co-edited a book titled " Building Science, Technology, and Innovation Capacity in Rwanda: Developing Practical Solutions to Practical Problems."