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Meeting the Next Generation of Nuclear Scientists: IAEA at the First African Youth Nuclear Summit

Group photo of the participants of the first AYNS2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Mr Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director of the IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Division for Africa, has represented the IAEA at the first ever African Youth Nuclear Summit ­– AYNS2017 – which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 27 to 30 March 2017. This innovative event, organized by the Kenyan Young Generation in Nuclear (KYGN) in collaboration with African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN), brought together over 300 young and senior nuclear professionals.

Mr Abdulrazak delivered a keynote lecture during the plenary session, emphasizing the importance of nuclear science and technology for the sustainable socioeconomic development of Africa. In Africa, cultivating new crop varieties, reducing soil erosion, and helping countries respond to the Ebola Virus Disease are just some of the areas in which the IAEA helps Member States to benefit from nuclear science and technology.

Africa is the second largest and second most populous continent in the world with over 60% of its population below the age of 35 years. “By investing in youth, we invest in our future,” said Mr Abdulrazak. “This is why the organization of this summit is very timely. By providing a platform for exchange between senior professionals in nuclear science, academia, research and development and other providers, we ensure that youth is involved in the process of building a sustainable future by peacefully using nuclear science and technology,” he said, emphasizing the need to empower youth by providing suitable opportunities for training and employment in the areas of nuclear science and technology.

Attendees at AYNS2017, who came from academia, research and development institutes, radiation service providers, health institutions, nuclear facilities and regulatory bodies, were able to share experiences, exchange ideas and build their networks on issues related to the safe application of nuclear science and technology. The main topic of the summit ‘Nuclear for a Sustainable Future’, engaged delegates from across the continent in discussions conducted through plenary, panel and technical sessions, as well as via workshops on four thematic areas: Nuclear powering Africa, Radiation protection and safety culture, Application of nuclear science, and Technology for socioeconomic development.

By investing in youth, we invest in our future (...) By providing a platform for exchange between senior professionals in nuclear science, academia, research and development and other providers, we ensure that youth is involved in the process of building a sustainable future by peacefully using nuclear science and technology.
Shaukat Abdulrazak

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