Report by Andreas Griewank (April 2012)

I am writing from the university of Thiess Senegal. During the last year I wasted considerable time through my involvement in AIMS Senegal and the VACAMO proposal in the Trilateral American-French-German Program. The president of AIMS considered the two as rival initiatives and had me removed from AIMS as well as keeping half the money from the VACAMOS proposal. Now he seems to have fallen from grace himself and in any case AIMS will have to set up good relations with the new Senegalese government. I have written a long report on this and can fill you in on details of interest over a glass of wine.
        Yesterday I attended an open air concert by Youssou Ndour in Dakar on the occasion of the presidential changing of the guard in Senegal. I was one of very very few pale faces in jammed crowd that was clearly elated. As it grew denser and denser I eventually made my way out deperately holding onto my belongings. That was even before the great man started his act and today I read in the paper that there were 40 wounded. It seemed clear that even a minor stampede could kill hundreds.
        I had landed here on Tuesday after the Sunday election and was worried that disputes about accumulating results might erupt exactly in those days. Fortunately the old man conceded hours after voting ended and everybody seems elated. Tomorrow is the national independence day, so there will be more celebrations. All this is sort of a vacation trip to get away from Berlin for a few days.
        Naturally I have also talked with potential VACAMOS partners and I will meet Mary Nieuw Niane, a well known mathematician who was rumored to become Minister of Higher Education later this week.
        I also visited Mongolia, China and Russia mainly for the attendance of conferences but some specific collaborations as well.
        For the big International Symposium on Mathematical Programming in August in Berlin I am responsible for the support of participants from developing countries. We got a grant of 1500 Dollars from IMU and 2000 Euro from GAMS Development Corporation. Used the money mainly to halve or waive the registration fee of 300+ and 150 Euros for staff and students respectively.
        I have two PhD students from North Africa/West Asia who I have a very hard time graduating. They had a week background and have not really caught up.
        Currently there are various calls for grants out from the EU and the German government. Specifically, EduLink just came out and ACP-ST is expected soon. I participated in a preparatory workshop for prospective applicants by the DAAD in Nairobi last fall and used the opportunity to climb Mount Kenia (exactly: Point Lenana (4985 m) for people in the know ). Lets stop on that high note
        Andreas
PS (April 21, 2012).
    I mentioned at Limoges a new program by the German ministry of education that offers funding for a wide range of activities in Subsaharan Africa including training and even hardware for Information Technology, which could for example be concerned with access of libraries etc.
    The link is
        http://www.bmbf.de/en/furtherance/18242.php
Money can be spend on Africans (e.g. scholarships) and Germans, so one would need a German partner for sure. The deadline for the submission of a preproposal is June 15.