The 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and International Conference of Young Scientists of the Global Young Academy “Technological Innovations for Discovering Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenges” took place from 6-9 June in Kigali, Rwanda. The gathering was the first in-person GYA AGM since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Altogether 177 participants convened from 54 countries, including 97 GYA members and alumni, members of the co-organising Rwanda Young Academy of Sciences, local and international speakers and guests, including policy makers and senior representatives of the international science management and policy community.
Below is an overview of Conference and AGM sessions. The full programme can be viewed here, and an in-depth report will be published in the coming months.
View pictures from the event on the GYA’s Flickr page here.
Opening of the AGM and Conference
GYA Co-Chairs Priscilla Kolibea Mante (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana) and Prosper Ngabonziza (University of Louisiana, USA) introduced the GYA and welcomed participants. Co-Chair of the Rwanda Young Academy of Sciences (RYAS), Eva Ujeneza, introduced RYAS and the science landscape in the host country.
The meeting was officially opened with welcoming words from the German Ambassador to Rwanda, Thomas Kurz, and Rwandan Minister of Education, Valentine Uwamariya.
Following their remarks, outgoing GYA members officially became alumni and 41 new GYA members were inaugurated, and introduced themselves with their “six word stories”.
Annual General Meeting
AGM sessions included the Activities Groups Fair, open Working Group meeting times and General Assembly meetings. Minutes of General Assembly sessions will be shared with all GYA members shortly. This year’s AGM included a session to highlight special achievements of several activities from the past year:
- The Science and Society project of the Trust in (Young) Scientists – Global Young Academy
- An upcoming publication by the Interdisciplinary Grant project Young Researchers and the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021/22) – Global Young Academy
- The launch of the GloSYS LAC qualitative study report: The Global State of Young Scientists (GloSYS) – Global Young Academy
- The first Science Leadership Programme in Latin America and the Carribean: Science Leadership Latin America and the Caribbean – Global Young Academy
- Opening of the Science Advice Resource Centre – Global Young Academy
- Recent and ongoing joint projects of the Working Group Scientific Excellence – Global Young Academy
On Thursday, 8 June, the GYA elected 11 members to the 2023/24 Executive Committee (EC) to lead the organisation in the coming year. Priscilla Kolibea Mante (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana) will continue as Co-Chair, joined by new Co-Chair Felix Moronta Barrios (International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Italy).
International Conference of Young Scientists “Technological Innovations for Discovering Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenges”
The Conference addressed new technologies and innovations to tackle grand challenges at different scales, along with the role of young scientists and scholars in contributing to global, national and regional solutions.
Panels delved into the topics Vaccine Production in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, the Role of Young Academies, Engaging Youth, and Local action in a global world, as well as Science Advice and Scientific Publishing. All sessions were conceptualised and led by early-career researchers and featured interational and local perspectives.
A key-note talk by Magdalena Skipper, Nature Editor-in-Chief, emphasised the importance of the voice of early-career researchers in science, and of diversity in publications.
Member lightning talks featured GYA members’ research. Speakers present for 3-4 minutes in short, engaging presentations, providing insights into a wide variety of disciplines and laying the foundations for future interdisciplinary cooperation. Abstracts for 40 Lightning Talks presented in 2023 can be viewed here.
At the Gala Dinner on 7 June, the Bio2Bio Working Group presented results from their project on protein structure and music, along with a new video on biodiversity preservation. You can watch it here (password: zedem).
Three pre-AGM workshops were held at the Carnegie Mellon University Africa in Kigali, which generously lent its space to the events. During the week, additional workshops were organised by Working Groups.
Over 25 new GYA members took part in a 2-day science leadership workshop, preparing them for their 5 year membership and practicing collective leadership skills. More about this event here.
Over 100 early-career reserachers from univerisities and research institutions in Rwanda and from the GYA took part in additional workshops organised by the GYA Science Education for Youth Working Group (WG), the Bio2Bio WG, the Science Advice – Global Young Academy WG and the Global Health WG.
Partners and Sponsors
A special thank you to those GYA members and members of the Rwanda Young Academy of Sciences who helped design, organise and raise funds for the meeting, as well as to the numerous cooperating partners, funding institutions and sponsors who made this event possible: