This year, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) in collaboration with the Robert Bosh Foundation, has launched the Africa Science Week Initiative, under the theme: “ Igniting the Power of Science”. The initiative is going to be Africa’s annual weeklong celebration of science and technology with thousands of individuals – from academics, to students, to scientists to technologists – actively engaging in coordinated science events across the continent. 2017 science weeks took place throughout June & early July 2017, in 13 countries.
GYA member and NEF Ambassador, Abdeslam Badre, led Africa Science Week (ASW) in Morocco. Additional events were held in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania.
The African Science Week in Morocco included three main activities:
1. Science “Competition for Youth,” (June 23rd 2017 Rabat & Sale cities – Morocco): 33 high school students from 11 different schools from Morocco and 11 sciences education teachers were selected out of 100 students to compete at the finale of the science games. The competition not only provided a platform for the Moroccan youth to compete and demonstrate their passion for science, but it also promoted the importance and value of science among young generations.
2. Street Science Trivia: (29th June 2017, Rabat, Sale, Temara cities – Morocco). University volunteer students chaperoned by Badre invaded the streets of Rabat, Sale, and Temara, asking over 500 laymen (working at gas stations, bus stations, fast food shops, security guards) various funny and yet challenging questions about basic science. “The purpose of this activity”, says Abdeslam Badre, “is to publicize science; on the one hand. On the other hand, is to remind average-knowledge people that they know much more about science than they might actually think”.
3. A two-day seminar on “The power of Academic Research”: (3-4 July 2017, Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco). The conference brought together dozens of distinguished Moroccan professors besides two American Distinguished Professors from Duke University, all interactive with over 70 PhD Moroccan students over the question of how can academic research push forward Africa’s aspiration for a knowledge-based economy.
In the closing remarks of the conference, Badre reminded the audience: “Through the ASW, we want to encourage citizens to get involved, participate, and become interested in societal science. We hope to extend Africa Science Week to 30 countries in 2018 and all 54 by 2020. It is our hope that building strong partnerships with existing academic and science organizations and pooling resources, we can create a truly meaningful and sustainable program that encourages entry and retention in academic fields.”
A meeting of this year’s ASW participating NEF ambassadors is scheduled in September 6 and 7 in 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda in order to create a managing committee of ASW for the years to come; and the outcome of the 1st edition of ASW will be featured during the NEF Global Gathering in March 2018 in at the same venue.