UN Branch to Educate Students in Arab States with Leading Wolfram
January 21, 2004--The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has chosen Mathematica
technology to help accomplish the main objective of improving programs in
science and technology in the Arab states. The UNESCO Cairo Office (UCO)
recently signed a two-year comprehensive agreement for the use of all
Wolfram Research products. The software is being used to establish a
Mathematica demonstration and training center for the 17 Arab states
covered by the UCO.
The UCO is a regional office for science, technology, and informatics for the
Arab states. Dr. Tarek Shawki, regional advisor for Communications and
Information at the UCO, says that he decided to focus on promoting the use of
Mathematica because "it offers a wonderful system for handling both
numerical and symbolic mathematics. Mathematica is an excellent tool for both
students and teachers alike. It provides a wealth of features that are ideal for
students' visualization and exploration of mathematical concepts, while
providing the teachers with an excellent array of tools to make teaching
mathematics a lot more effective and fun. Furthermore, extensions like
webMathematica introduce an exciting tool for distance education--a tool that
helps students learn complex mathematics concepts."
Shawki has used Mathematica extensively in his own work and was appointed
as regional advisor on the strength of his technical expertise. Educated at
Cairo University in Egypt and Brown University in Rhode Island, USA, Shawki
spent 13 years as a researcher and professor of theoretical and applied
mechanics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, one of the
top engineering schools in the world. His leadership is now paramount to the
Arab region in modernizing university education in basic and engineering
sciences, and he feels strongly that Mathematica is integral to this effort.
In September 2003, Shawki demonstrated Mathematica technology before
attendees of the UNESCO Communications and Information sector retreat in
Paris, France. His presentation emphasized to the UNESCO board the importance of
Mathematica as an educational tool. Shawki says that the sector specialists
were most impressed by the "numerical, symbolic, and visualization aspects of
Mathematica. They were pleased to learn about the
Teacher's Edition of
Mathematica, which offers great potential for UNESCO to help improve the
teaching of mathematics in both schools and colleges."
The software and demonstration center will enable the UCO to introduce Arab
leaders to Mathematica and its many applications for university and high
school education. Ministers of technology and education throughout the Arab
states will be able to visit the Mathematica center at the UCO offices in Cairo
and learn how they can use the technology to build and improve curricula in
their own countries. As the center becomes more established, it will also serve
as a hub for certified Mathematica training. Paul Wellin, director of Wolfram
Education Group, is scheduled to visit the center in January 2004 to work
toward this objective.
The UCO's new demonstration and training center is not the only Mathematica
technology initiative currently underway in the Arab Gulf region. The 2004
Mathematica Gulf Conference, the first of its kind in the Arabian Peninsula, will
be held in Muscat, Oman, in January 2004.
More information about the Mathematica
Gulf Conference is available.