Skip to main content

Volunteer Lecturer Program

The Volunteer Lecturer Program offers universities in the developing world lecturers for intensive 3-4 week courses in mathematics at the advanced undergraduate or master's level. The funds for all living expenses, including travel (up to 4,400 EUR) are provided by IMU/ CDC or its supporting  organizations (AMS, USNCM and Abel Board). 

The volunteer lecturer’s home institution is requested to offer leave with pay during the lecturer’s 3-4 week absence.The CDC identifies mathematicians interested in contributing to the formation of young mathematicians in the developing world, and maintains a VLP database in which it lists each mathematician's curriculum vitae, the areas of mathematics in which he or she is prepared to teach courses, language abilities, typical dates of availability, and previous experience. CDC also identifies universities and mathematics degree programs in the developing world that are in need of, and can provide the necessary conditions for productive collaboration in the teaching of advanced mathematics. 

Two main objectives of the Volunteer Lecturer Program are:

  1. to build capacity in mathematics and mathematics education in developing countries, and
  2. to increase mathematical interaction between the mathematical community in the developed world and the vast, mostly untapped reservoir of mathematical talent in the developing world.

The program draws on a large pool of research mathematicians who have already indicated their willingness to participate, essentially pro bono, in the VLP in the coming years.  They stand ready to offer 3-4 week math lecture courses in topics at the advanced undergraduate level, such as statistics, differential equations, numerical analysis, etc., the capacity for which is lacking at many universities in developing nations. 

This program receives financial support from the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the US National Committee for Mathematics from the National Academy of Sciences (both USA) and the Abel Board (Norway). A list from previous courses sorted by countries can be found here (Country Reports).

    Deadlines

    The next deadlines for Mathematics Insitutions in developing countries to apply for participation in the program are:

    • March 25, 2018 for lectures starting from June 1, 2018.
    • June 30, 2018 for lectures starting from September 1, 2018.
    • September 30, 2018 for lectures starting from December 1, 2018.
    • December 15, 2018 for lectures starting from March 1, 2019.

    The goals of VLP

    vlpfront.jpgThe Volunteer Lecturer Program (VLP) offers mathematics departments in universities in the developing world lecturers for intensive 3-4 week courses in mathematics at the advanced undergraduate or master's level. Long-term goals of the VLP involve: 1)  establishment of a critical mass of successful students of advanced mathematics in individual developing and less affluent countries, in particular countries who have so far small mathematical communities, 2) establishment of contacts between the research mathematics profession and the brightest young mathematical talent in developing countries, 3) fostering research and international cooperation between developing and less affluent countries and the international mathematical community, 4) increased collaboration between the mathematics research communities of countries in the developed world and the IMU, their international professional organization.

    The course given by the volunteer should be part of a regular mathematics undergraduate or master degree program at the hosting university. Also courses for a Master of "Mathematics and Informatics” or similar are admissible. Unfortunately mathematics courses for an undergraduate or Master degree in Engineering or similar degrees are not permissible.

    Since 2007 courses have been given in Africa, Central America, South East Asia and the Middle East on topics in core mathematics. In a few cases courses in mathematics for mathematics education (or in institutions for focusing on mathematics education) were given. 
     

    The volunteer lecturer is chosen by the host institution from an online database of mathematician volunteer lecturers maintained by CDC.

    The funds for all living expenses, including travel (up to 4,400 EUR) are provided by IMU/ CDC or its partner organizations. The volunteer lecturer’s home institution is requested to offer leave with pay during the lecturer’s 3-4 week absence.

    The hosting university has no financial obligations, but is expected to provide a local assistant. 

    Where warranted, continuing participation in the VLP by a single university in the developing world is encouraged.  For example, in collaboration with the French CIMPA program, the VLP has provided intensive courses to the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, over the last several years. 

    For information and registration for host institutions click here.

    For information and registration for lecturers click here.

    For information from previous courses (sorted by countries) click here.

    History VLP Program

    The initiation of the Volunteer Lecturer Program was inspired by the programs of the Centre International de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées (CIMPA) at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) in Cambodia, the London Mathematical Society's Mentoring African Research in Mathematics (MARM) program, and the Norwegian Program for Development, Research and Education (NUFU) with southern African universities. 

    At the invitation of the Cambodian Mathematical Society, USNC/Math Chair and first CDC Secretary for Policy (2010-2015) Herbert Clemens (USA) traveled to Cambodia in early 2007.  Prof. Clemens was asked by French and Cambodian mathematicians for assistance and guidance in teaching short intensive courses at the advanced undergraduate level in a Masters degree program organized by the Centre International de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées (CIMPA) with input from the French government at the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP). Based on the experience of this visit in the summer of 2007, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) disseminated a USNC/Math appeal to U.S. mathematics department chairs that detailed the purpose of the program and invited U.S. mathematicians to participate as volunteers.  The appeal immediately received 50 viable responses. Following the responses the Volunteer Lecturer Program (VLP) was established in 2008 by International Mathematical Union (IMU) and the U.S./IMU Adhering Body (USNCM). During 2010-2012 the US Board on International Scientific Organizations received a grant from NSF to establish an on-going program and supported 10 lecturers (from the US) per year. Since 2010 lecturers come from all over the world.