American Univesity of Beirut

CAMS launches UK-Lebanon Atiyah Fellowships

​​​​​Safa Jafari Safa, Office of Communications,​​

The UK─Lebanon Atiyah fellowships have been launched, allowing exchange and interaction amongst promising mathematics students in Lebanon and the UK. The fellowships operate in partnership between the London Mathematical Society (LMS) and AUB's Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (CAMS). The new partnership was announced during a three-day symposium held by CAMS celebrating 20 years since its founding and paying tribute to its mentor, renowned mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah.

The fellowship scheme provides for an established UK-based mathematician to visit Lebanon for a period of up to six months, or alternatively for a mathematician from Lebanon of any level, in particular promising advanced level students from AUB, to visit the UK to further their study or research for a period of up to 12 months. One or more fellowships may be awarded in any one academic year as funds allow.

Selected based on mathematical excellence and willingness and ability to communicate and interact with mathematicians in the host institution, awardees will deliver lectures and/or an advanced course or courses in the host country. In Lebanon, fellows will engage with members of the Lebanese mathematical community and deliver courses and talks at AUB or other universities with mathematical interests in Lebanon, including the Lebanese University, St. Joseph University, and Notre Dame University.  

CAMS was established in 1999 as a center of excellence for research in the mathematical sciences in the Middle East. It provides an intellectual environment for scientists in Lebanon and the region and serves as a catalyst for academic collaboration and interdisciplinary research. Through the efforts of international scientists like Sir Michael, the center developed to foster collaborations with distinguished academics it hosts from around the world.

The UK-Lebanon Fellowships comes at the service of mathematics in Lebanon and a fulfillment of Sir Michael's longstanding commitment to this service. It allows advanced-level students to visit the UK to further their research and interact with mathematicians in host institutions. The fellowship program also allocates resources to direct activities around the expertise of the fellows and their colleagues and nurtures interactions with members of the Lebanese mathematical community. 

“It was a distinct pleasure for me to collaborate for the last few months in the formulation of this initiative in a way that reflected at once the commitment of Sir Michael Atiyah to the development of high quality mathematics in Lebanon and to the mission and vision of CAMS which has been in operation for 20 years," said CAMS Director Jihad Touma, who explained the vision for developing this partnership and the way it links previous progress to future directions, strengthening programs as nurturing hubs for students and offering opportunities for further interactions with academics in their countries as well as the hosting country.

Sir Michael Atiyah (1929-2019) was a towering figure who shaped the British and international mathematical landscape for over half a century. Born in England to a Lebanese father and Scottish mother, he retained strong links with Lebanon throughout his life. He was made a Commander of the Order of Cedars in 1994 and received the Lebanon (Gold) Order of Merit in 2005.

Sir Michael was AUB's commencement speaker in 2001 and was awarded an honorary doctorate​ in 2004 for his contributions. He was deeply implicated with AUB's Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences since its inception. A frequent visitor, he served as chair of its International Advisory Committee and was an insightful mentor to its directors and associates. An endowed chair of mathematical sciences named in his honor was established at AUB in 2008.

“For 153 years to date, AUB has been a leader of excellence in education in the region, and a front-runner in the advancement of knowledge through research, in the service of the peoples of the Middle East and beyond," said President Fadlo Khuri at the launch. “We are extremely proud to foster collaborations with esteemed partners such as the London Mathematical Society as we continue to commit to our mission of research excellence and our vision for collaborative work with Lebanese and international universities."

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