Friends of the International Mathematical Union
201 Charles Street
Providence, RI 02904

Adopt-a-Mathematics Graduate Student

Human talent, determination and perseverance, and interest in mathematics are most probably randomly distributed throughout the youth of this world, but the opportunity to realize the promise made possible by those talents and human attributes definitely is not.

In most developed countries, graduate study of mathematics is supported by governments, universities and research institutes, and by private foundations. The story in many parts of the developing world is quite different. Graduate assistantships do not exist. Even teaching assistantships are typically not possible.  This is because all university teaching of mathematics is done by faculty needing to cobble together a living wage from income based entirely on the amount of teaching that they do.

Assistantships that would allow students in developing countries to study full-time require sums that seem minuscule for the developed world. For example, for a student in Cambodia, it might be 1000 USD a year; for a student in Cameroon, it might be around 1500 USD. In other developing countries, the cost may elevate to 2000 or even 3000 USD, but in any case this is an extremely modest amount. This modest assistance will allow these graduate students to study efficiently and with the singular focus that most professional mathematicians recall from their own graduate studies.

To address this need, the International Mathematical Union (IMU) is launching  at ICM 2014 a program called “Adopt a Mathematics Graduate Student“. The pilot design, initiated by the Friends of IMU (FIMU), aims to match interested donors, one-on-one, with talented mathematics graduate students at a university in the developing world in need of a graduate assistantship to continue their studies.

IMU’s Commission for Developing Countries has, over the years, developed a network of high quality centers of advanced mathematics in the developing world. Therefore it has a mechanism for identifying worthy candidates. The program is limited to students in those centers in emerging nations that the IMU has identified as of high quality, typically staffed by research mathematicians who have eschewed opportunities in developed countries to return and contribute in their country or region of origin.

We appeal to established mathematicians interested in extending the reach of the professional accomplishment that they themselves enjoy. A relatively modest investment will extend that opportunity to a talented young person, equally passionate about mathematics, but heretofore far less attended to in his or her formative years. IMU will match-make and provide the necessary assurances of quality and integrity.

Professional mathematicians interested in providing full or partial support to such a graduate student are encouraged to either “ADOPT” ONLINE or contact Lena Koch at the IMU Commission for Developing Countries at this email address:

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