5th World Conference on 21st Century Mathematics, Lahore 2011: Declaration of support
The 5th World conference on 21st century mathematics took place at the Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences (ASSMS) at Lahore (Pakistan) in the period 9-13 February 2011. Info: http://wc2011.sms.edu.pk/doku.php?id=home
The following declaration asking for international support of the Pakistani mathematical community was signed by many of the international participants, among them EMS-president Marta Sanz-Solé:
The Pakistani mathematical community needs international support. Its most important research centre, the Abdus Salam School of Mathematical Sciences (ASSMS), is fighting for its survival.
The ASSMS is a Doctoral School. Its main objective is to provide Pakistan with competent young mathematicians to serve in its institutions of higher education and research. This is done through a national PhD programme in cooperation with international supervisors. It also promotes mathematics in schools and colleges, by providing the professional enhancement training to the faculty at universities all over the country, and by organizing a large number of Seminars, Research Schools, Intensive Courses and Lecture Series open to the Pakistani faculty and researchers. ASSMS also organizes a number of events for students of high and elementary schools in Pakistan to encourage students to excel in mathematics. Under the leadership of its Director, Professor Alla Ditta Choudary, the ASSMS has become the main functioning Institution in Pakistan for Mathematical Research and Higher Education and it is therefore not dispensable.
Mathematics is the lingua franca for all science, its importance in the technological development, which is the basis for today's global economy, is well established. In recent years mathematics has in fact become a key technology for industry and economy. For example, the so-called Tiger States with their rapid technological advancement invest enormously in mathematical education. Evidence can also be seen in many other countries, as in the USA where the NSF budget for mathematics has been strongly increased during the last decade. Several outstanding prizes in mathematics have been established recently. The best known are the Abel Prize, which is the equivalent to the Nobel Prize, funded by the Norwegian Government, the Shaw Prize by the Shaw Prize Foundation in Hong Kong, and the Chern Medal jointly founded by the International Mathematical Union and the Chern Medal Foundation. All these express the credo that mathematics is an operative force in nowadays cultural and economic reality.
However, the ASSMS has recently seen its budget decreased by half. The institute was therefore unable to admit new students in 2010, and its situation is now such that its existence as a major regional research institution is in imminent danger. If the economic support could not be quickly reestablished, the very professional international staff will have no opportunity to continue its work, and it will be lost.
We, the undersigning mathematicians, urge the Federal Government of Pakistan and the State of Punjab to reconsider the cuts in the budget for ASSMS, and, at the same time, we strongly recommend to the International Community to offer every possible support to this institution.