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International Steering Committee

The International Steering Committee (ISC) offers guidance, operational and strategic direction to the Next Einstein Forum (NEF). The committee supports the NEF in the development of its mission, long-range goals, philosophies, and strategy.

The International Steering Committee (ISC) offers guidance, operational and strategic direction to the Next Einstein Forum (NEF). The committee supports the NEF in the development of its mission, long-range goals, philosophies, and strategy.

The NEF International Steering Committee consists of the following members:

Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO, AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative and Founder and Chairman, Next Einstein Forum 

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.

Seema Kumar, Vice President of Innovation, Global Health and Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson (J&J)


Seema Kumar is Vice President of Innovation, Global Health and Policy Communication, Johnson & Johnson (J&J). In this role, Seema works to position J&J as a global pioneer in innovation and in research and development (R&D), a thought leader and a partner of choice. Her responsibilities include communications regarding enterprise innovation and R&D, medical safety and ethics, policy, and global health.

She also serves as the communication leader for the Johnson & Johnson R&D Management Committee and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centers. Seema previously served, since January 2013, as the Vice President, Enterprise Innovation and Global Health Communication, J&J, and from 2009 to 2012 as Vice President, Global R&D Communications of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of J&J, which included oversight of internal and external communications.

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H.E. Dr. Eugène Mutimura, Minisiter of Education, Republic of Rwanda

Dr. Mutimura, is a researcher and former African Centers of Excellence Project Coordinator, an initiative by the Inter-University Council of East Africa and the World Bank to establish Regional Education and Research Centres in specific topics, based in Kampala, Uganda. This is with an aim to strengthen long-term African capacity to train at the highest level a new generation of Africans who can develop and apply science and technology to solve Africa’s most pressing challenges.

Mutimura has also previously worked at the Regional Alliance for Sustainable Development.



H.E. Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Higher Education and Research, Republic of Senegal

H.E. Professor Mary Teuw Niane is currently the Minister of Higher Education and Research of the Republic of Senegal. Prior to this post he was the Director of the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology at the University Gaston Berger where he held the position of Rector from 11 January 2007 to 29 October 2012.

H.E. Mary Teuw Niane is a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology of Senegal since January 2000; Board Member of the African Mathematical Union and Member of the International Mathematical Union Committee in Development and exchange. He holds a PhD in Mathematical Sciences from University Cheikh Anta Diop of Senegal.


Arun Sharma, Founder and Managing Director, Infinite Potentials Consulting

Arun Sharma is a founder of Infinite Potentials (IPC), an Africa focused management consulting agency working to deliver solutions in Africa, with expertise in the higher education sector. IPC is working with clients including Fortune 50 companies, multilateral institutions, governments, universities, private foundations and start-ups to develop strategies and implement projects.

He has previously played start-up and leadership roles in organizations including the Next Einstein Forum, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, International Red Cross and MSF.


Professor Nelson Torto – Executive Director, African Academy of Sciences

Nelson Torto is the Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), a pan African organisation which  drives sustainable development in Africa through science technology and innovation.

Prior to joining the AAS, he was the founding CEO of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), which values cocreation and empathy. He was the Head of Chemistry at Rhodes University, and Associate Professor  at the University of Botswana. He is a recipient of several international awards, has served in various capacities in African and international networks and organisations as well as editorial boards.


Dr. Ingrid Wünning Tschol, Senior Vice President – Senior Vice President Strategy at Robert Bosch Stiftung

I_Wuenning_Tschol_WebDr. Ingrid Wünning Tschol is a senior vice president at Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart, Germany. She belongs to numerous advisory boards, both in Germany and in other European countries. She was vice-chairman of the Euroscience Open Forum 2006 Steering Committee and co-chair of Euroscience Open Forum 2008, 2010 and 2012.  She is vice chair of the European Research Area Board, an independent board which advises the European Union  Commissioner with regard to ERA and the Framework Programme.

Ingrid earned her Doctorate degree in biology from the University of Tübingen, Germany. Between 1985 and1990 she conducted postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology  and State University of New York in Stony Brook. Further stations in her career were Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in Bonn, Germany. She also served as head of the medical section at the European Science Foundation in Strasbourg, France.