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NEF Team

Thierry Zomahoun – Managing Director 

About NEF - ISC - Thierry

Thierry Zomahoun is the president and CEO of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), leading the growth of Africa’s first and largest network of centers of excellence in mathematical sciences. Under his tenure, AIMS has grown into a global network with more than 740 graduates from 42 African nations and its approach has won international acclaim for its scientific model and independent thinking. In 2013, Thierry founded the AIMS Next Einstein Forum (NEF), a global forum for science and technology, the first ever to take place on African soil. The first global gathering of the NEF will take place in Senegal in March 2016. Through the NEF, AIMS sets to make of Africa the next hub for global science.

Prior to joining AIMS, Thierry led multiple international non-governmental organizations. He was CEO and special advisor to the board for Impact First, a pioneer combining microfinance and health for remote and marginalised communities in 15 low-income countries. Thierry also served as regional director and manager for Right to Play International, a global organization using play to educate and empower children facing adversity. He also served as country director for Aide et Action International, an organisation focused on empowerment through education, and served as a country program adviser for ChildFund International, which strengthens communities through child sponsorship.

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.