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WAAW foundation at 2016 Next Einstein Forum, NEF at Senegal



From March 8-10, Dr. Unoma Okorafor, President and Founder of the Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) foundation participated in the NEF Global Gathering, an invitation-only event that united Nobel Peace Prize winners, heads of states and representatives from leading global corporations in Dakar, Senegal. She said “NEF was a great platform to connect with collaborators who share my passion and WAAW foundation vision to empower African women to become impactful leaders and innovators through STEM education.”

The First ever NEF Global Gathering took place in Dakar, Senegal under the patronage of H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and brought together more than 800 people from across the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. It further showcased the talent of African scientists and innovators, highlighting the laudable achievements of 15 of the continent’s top young scientists and NEF Fellows.

Held every two years, NEF Global Gatherings showcase Africa’s top young scientists and connect them with leaders from Africa and the rest of the world in high-profile, invitation-only forums that touch on the three pillars of science, society and policy.


NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

Moving forward, the NEF is committed to a holistic, action-oriented roadmap aimed at enabling science-driven development by forging strategic partnerships, securing increased investment, developing research capacity, encouraging education, empowering young African scientists and promoting diversity and women in STEM.

Alongside Neil Turok, AIMS Founder and Chairman and current Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, NEF President Thierry Zomahoun, signed a letter of intent with the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to open an AIMS center in Nigeria. The NEF also announced the launch of the AIMS Women in STEM Initiative (AIMSWIS), a collaborative industry effort to prioritize African women in STEM supported by the African Union Commission, the Government of Senegal, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa, Forum for African Women Educationalists, Johnson & Johnson, International Development Research Centre and others.

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The next NEF Global Gathering will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018, which is now home to the AIMS headquarters, Africa’s first quantum research centre Quantum Leap Africa and the NEF secretariat.

NEF 2016 made it clear – the “Next Einstein” might as well come from Africa, and young scientists are on the forefront of proving it.”