AWI Launches International Scholarship Programme

first_imgzoom The international advancement of young scientists has assumed a new dimension at the Alfred Wegener Institute: ten scholarship holders from just as many different nations will be embarking a ten-month traineeship as ocean experts this week.The Japanese Nippon Foundation and POGO (Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans) have selected the Alfred Wegener Institute to conduct their joint project to strengthen the globally networked oceanographic research in the coming years. Federal Research Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka welcomed the scholars to the official programme launchd in Berlin.There will soon be an even greater international feeling in the laboratories and on the vessels at the Helgoland and Sylt sites of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI): ten young scientists from Togo, Tibet, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Tanzania, India, Cuba, Bangladesh and Indonesia will be investigating the North Sea in the coming ten months. Their common goal is to learn standard methods of marine research in order to later apply them in their home countries. All have a master’s degree as minimum in a subject with a marine research reference.Federal Minister of Education and Research Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka officially launched the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography (CofE) at the AWI in the Berlin Museum für Naturkunde today. The sponsors of the CofE, Kentaro Oguie from the Japanese Nippon Foundation (NF – Nippon Foundation) and Prof. Dr. Trevor Platt from POGO (Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans) were attending to deliver opening speeches on behalf of their organisations. The Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, and her deputy and head of AWI Helgoland und Sylt, Prof. Dr. Karen Wiltshire welcomed international ocean researchers as new AWI colleagues. The scholars will then travel from Berlin to Helgoland for the first five months of training.Basic courses will be taking place on this North Sea island first of all so that meteorologists, biologists and chemists are brought up to a common level of knowledge. These will cover, for example, the plate tectonic formation of the oceans, physics and chemistry of the oceans and biodiversity. In the statistics exercises or explanations of long-term data analysis they will be meeting those scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute in whose working groups they will also be conducting their own research projects later on. All senior scientists of the AWI on Helgoland and Sylt are involved in the training. Other AWI colleagues and external experts support them.All in all the scholars will get to know over 30 experts during their ten months in the Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography, providing a sound basis for the subsequent exchange with experienced researchers. This is the declared aim of the programme: a permanent and sustainable knowledge transfer to the home countries. With the backing of the network the young scientists are enabled to pass on their know how in their home counties. Nippon Foundation and POGO support the alumni of the CofE in future too via the NANO programme which, for example, offers network, research and travel activities. This week the new scholarship holders will be meeting alumni of the previous Centre of Excellence conducted between 2008 and 2012 at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).The fact that the AWI is Germany’s leading polar research institute also has a very practical advantage for the scholarship holders even if they explore the moderate latitudes: in the wintry Bremerhaven they have been equipped with clothing which is otherwise used in Polar expeditions. This will hopefully enable the participants from predominantly tropical countries to become accustomed to the German research landscape as warmly and quickly as possible.Key data on the NF-POGO Centre of Excellence in Observational Oceanography at the AWI:Sponsored by the Nippon Foundation and POGO (Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans).Sponsorship term of the first scholarship year: December 2013 to September 2014 (ten months). A further four years are planned following a positive interim appraisal.Grants per year: around 290,000 euros for the training based on the model of a campus university including travel expenses, room and board as well as money for personal use.AWI, December 6, 2013last_img read more

UNHCR pledges to continue to work with Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka said it recognizes refugee returns as vulnerable individuals who require government assistance for re-integration, and as such the Government provides assistance to returning refugees, especially in the sectors of livelihoods and housing in addition to the re-integration grant and non-food relief assistance provided by the UNHCR. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filipo Grandi, has said the UNHCR will continue to work on, the return of those Sri Lankans who want to return, solutions for internally displaced people and commendable work that the Government is doing for the statelessness.The High Commissioner made this observation, in response to the national statement of Sri Lanka delivered by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, at the 67th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR, held in Geneva. Aryasinha said the Government is assisted in the resettlement process by the UN and other development partners, yet, Sri Lanka requires further assistance for the displaced and the Government hopes that the international community will be forthcoming in this regard.  (Colombo Gazette) A National Steering Committee on Refugee Returnees has also been established enabling those involved in the refugee returnee process to discuss challenges, find solutions and have regular follow- up. read more

Trudeau and Trump hold face to face meeting on sidelines of G7

BIARRITZ, France — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not expected to meet with a top Iranian official who dropped in to the G7 summit unannounced Sunday, even as other Group of Seven leaders and officials have been sitting down to talk about how to save Iran’s fissuring nuclear deal.France’s invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led to sidebar meetings with French, German and U.K. officials in Biarritz Sunday — an attempt by French President Emmanuel Macron to broker an ease in growing tensions, notably in the Strait of Hormuz, where a dispute between the U.K. and Iran has been unfolding.Canada has been supportive of restoring the Iran nuclear deal, but is not a central character in the negotiations now playing out on the margins of the G7 summit, said a senior Canadian official who provided comments on background.Trudeau did, however, participate in some tense discussions about Iran during a meeting of the Group of Seven leaders Saturday evening at the foot of the Biarritz lighthouse.Macron said the leaders agreed during this dinner that France could serve as a G7 messenger to Iran. Trump later denied agreeing to anything, and Macron was forced to play down his role and acknowledge Trump’s status as “the president of the world’s number one power.”Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Meetings between Zarif and the U.S. are not expected.Zarif did meet with Macron and also held a joint briefing with the U.K. and Germany on Sunday on the margins of the official G7 programme, Zarif said in a tweet that also included photos of the meetings.For several months, Macron has taken a lead role in trying to save the 2015 Tehran nuclear accord, which has been unravelling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement last year.Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the nuclear agreement it forged with its fellow United Nations Security Council members — Britain, France, China and Russia — as well as Germany has been widely viewed as the spark for renewed tensions between Iran and the West.The agreement provided that nuclear activities in Iran would be restricted in exchange for reduced sanctions.Trudeau discussed the Iran deal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a bilateral meeting he held with her Sunday, where they agreed on the importance of the deal and the need for de-escalation, according to a readout of the meeting provided by the Prime Minister’s Office.Speaking to reporters before their meeting, Merkel said Canada and Germany have an excellent friendship, something that is much appreciated “in a world that is in turmoil,” she said, as translated by an interpreter.“(In) a world where there are so many conflicts, there’s a lot of common ground between our two countries, a lot of areas we see eye to eye.”The surprise arrival of the Iranian official to Biarritz threw a monkey wrench into efforts by Trump and Trudeau to keep the focus of the summit on trade and global economic issues.They crowed about their successfully negotiated trade agreement, known as the United-States-Mexico-Canada agreement, or USMCA, during a one-on-one meeting Sunday and their good working relationship — a far cry from the stormy end of last year’s G7 summit that saw Trump calling Trudeau “dishonest and weak.”Despite this, the mood between leaders at the annual get-together has repeatedly been described as tense, with a clear divide reported between Trump and the leaders of the other G7 countries — France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan.Trump has disputed any accounts of tension. In a tweet issued early in the weekend deliberations, he said all the leaders were “getting along very well,” and he took issue with some media reports indicating otherwise.The leaders will wrap up their official summit meetings tomorrow, but this will not include a final joint statement. Instead, individual agreements between countries are expected to be released and the leaders will hold wrap-up press conferences to discuss summit and international issues. read more