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NEF Team

Thierry Zomahoun, Managing Director   

Thierry Zomahoun is the President and CEO of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Next Einstein Initiative and Founder and Chairman of the Next Einstein Forum. Thierry is a global development expert with a successful 22-year track record in educational and scientific programmes administration, not-for-profit business start-ups, and growth and microenterprise development in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Under Thierry’s leadership, AIMS – Africa’s first network of centers of excellence in mathematical sciences founded in 2003 – has won international acclaim for its scientific model for independent thinking, problem-solving and widely applicable mathematical solutions to development fields of greatest relevance to Africa and the rest of the world.

Thierry earned a Master’s of Business Administration from McGill Desautels Faculty of Management, a Master’s Degree in development studies from the University of Geneva and a Master’s Degree from the National University of Benin.


Youssef Travaly – Director, Programs and Content

Youssef Travaly is the NEF’s Director of Programs and Content. Youssef is in charge of articulating the NEF’s scientific and technological ambitions including managing the policy aspects and Global Gathering program. He also manages the Communities of Scientists. Youssef holds an MBA together with a PhD in Materials Science. Following a 2-year postdoc in the USA working on semiconductor and biomedical research, he joined IMEC, a research centre for next generation electronic devices, and then Ion Beam Application (IBA), the world’s leading integrated solution supplier for cancer treatment to work on cancer treatment solutions by proton therapy.

He was also the chair and co-chair of several international scientific committees and has in-depth experience in managing national, regional and transcontinental initiatives of strategic importance, with multiple stakeholders in a variety of sectors. Before joining NEF, he was managing a multi-country European project on carbon capture and utilization.


Nathalie Munyampenda – Associate Director, Partnerships and Public Engagement

NEF Team - NathalieNathalie Munyampenda is the NEF’s Associate Director of Partnerships and Public Engagement. She is in charge of maintaining existing partnerships as well as bringing on new strategic partners that further the NEF’s vision and support its activities. She is also in charge of building the NEF’s public engagement profile through its growing programs as well as manage all communications and media for the NEF including for the NEF’s marquee event the NEF Global Gatherings.

Prior to joining the NEF, Nathalie worked in the Canadian public service and international social media consulting before working to build the Government of Rwanda’s central communication unit as coordinator in the Office of the Government Spokesperson. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Stategic Communications from Seton Hall University.



Audrey Namdiero-Walsh – Program and Operations Manager

Audrey Walsh is the NEF Program and Operations Manager. She manages a wide range of projects and operations to ensure that operational deliverables are completed consistently on time and meet the quality standards of the NEF. She brings international project management experience from several years of working in the international development cooperation sector.

Audrey holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the United States International University of Africa, and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance. She is committed to using her educational background combined with her interest in community development, to assist developing effective programs that maximize the benefits to the communities they serve.



Esther Kunda – Program and Operations Coordinator

Esther Kunda is the NEF’s Programs and Operations Coordinator. She provides support in the management of NEF programs and operations and works to build the NEF’s Community of Scientists, including on digital platforms.

She comes to NEF from Intel as Education Support Manager where she supported the Rwandan Ministry of Education to design and pilot the ICT in Education policy. Prior to that she worked in product development for telecommunications company Tigo Rwanda. She has experience in product development, business strategy and innovation. Esther holds a M.SC in IT from Carnegie Mellon University.


Pearl Karungi – Digital Media Coordinator

Pearl is the NEF’s Digital Media Coordinator. She supports the digital and public engagement efforts of the NEF, creating and updating content across NEF digital platforms. She develops and implements an integrated content schedule across NEF platforms. Pearl brings communication and digital expertise from working at the UN Population Fund, and for private PR firms with corporate clients including MTN.

Pearl holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Fine Art and design, majoring in Advertising and graphics design from Makerere University, a certificate in Public Relations from University of Cape Town and a Master’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Mount Kenya University. She is committed to using her education and experience combined with her interest in digital media to drive the NEF’s global digital footprint and public engagement efforts.



Joëlle Rubagenga – Project Officer

Joëlle is the NEF’s Project Officer. She oversees NEF’s procurement and logistics processes, and provides support for NEF’s resource mobilization and funds management. She brings her expertise in administration, logistics, project management and customer service, from Entreprenarium Foundation, where she handled administration procedures, record keeping, logistics and event managements. Joëlle holds a Master’s in International Business and Management from the Catholic Institute of Business Studies (ICHEC) and a Social Entrepreneurship Certificate from Wharton University in Pennsylvania. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship.



Gloria Mutunge – Administrative Officer

Gloria Mutunge is the NEF’s Administrative Officer. She provides support to the Next Einstein Forum and its team members, to ensure smooth and efficient delivery of its ongoing initiatives, and acts as the point of contact for NEF’s key stakeholders and partners, as well as responding to and redirecting inquiries. Gloria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from Cardiff Metropolitan University. With her interest in community development, she is committed to use her acquired skills from Rwanda’s Business Development Fund (BDF) combined with her educational background, to assist with ongoing NEF’s initiatives.