In late 1999 the AAAS Africa Program invited a small group of Mozambican scientists to the United States to participate in several key meetings that enabled them to share information of interest to U.S. scientists and to explore possibilities for collaboration. The meetings took place in New York, Miami, and Washington D.C. in February 2000, coinciding with both the AAAS Annual Meeting and the National Summit on Africa. The project was made possible by support from the National Science Foundation.
The centerpiece of the Mozambicans' visit was a forum on "Science in Mozambique: Exploring Opportunities for Collaboration," featuring brief presentations by each of the visiting scientists, followed by discussion focusing on collaborative opportunities. The papers presented at the forum are included here in this online proceedings volume (see links at right). The session was held Friday, 18 February, in conjunction with the AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington and was well attended by an audience of U.S. policymakers, donors, and scientific colleagues. The Mozambican delegation included scientists from Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in the disciplines of agronomy, forestry, marine biology, ethnobotany, and information technology (IT). The delegation also included Venancio Massingue, IT specialist and Vice Rector for UEM, and Lidia Brito, who, in addition to being a forester, was appointed Minister for Science, Technology, and Higher Education during the planning for the meeting.
By fortuitous coincidence the 2000 AAAS Annual Meeting (17-22 February) significantly overlapped with the National Summit on Africa (16-20 February). Thus we were able to cooperate with the Summit organizers, and indeed a highlight of the Mozambique project was Minister Brito's address to the National Summit on Africa during the opening plenary on Thursday, 17 February. Following President Bill Clinton's address at the opening ceremony, Dr. Brito's panel also included U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Ibrahim Gambari (Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Adviser on Africa), J. Brady Anderson (Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development), K.Y. Amoako (Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa), and Gayle Smith (Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council). By special arrangement with the National Summit organizers, participation in the full Summit was enabled for all the members of the Mozambican delegation.
The delegation made good use of its time in the United States and at the AAAS Annual Meeting. The entire delegation was fully registered for the Annual Meeting, enabling them to participate in all meeting events and interact with a broad cross-section of their peers.
Two Annual Meeting events (in addition to the "Science in Mozambique" forum) specifically incorporated individuals from the Mozambican delegation.
Delegation representatives also had personalized individual itineraries allowing them to pursue specific collaborative opportunities relevant to their own fields of interest. The UEM delegation arrived with three specific initiatives that they were prepared to discuss with all counterparts: the Limpopo River Basin Project, focusing on integrated resource management and agricultural research; Large Marine Ecosystem research projects within the Mozambique Channel; and biodiversity research at UEM's Botanical Garden and at the Marine Biological Station on Inhaca Island. Thus representatives visited a number of institutions during their visit, including government research and funding institutions, private foundations, and universities. Highlights of their visits included:
In short, the delegation returned with a long list of government and university contacts who wished to be engaged in some or all of the three priority projects. Each project had its own Mozambican representative leading an implementation team with a defined timetable for follow-up activities. Care was taken to ensure that each US contact had specific interests within their personal portfolios and/or research agendas related to the Mozambican focus initiatives. Thus the actionable results of this delegation's trip are already palpable and set on the road toward fulfillment.
On behalf of the AAAS Africa Program, I would like to thank NSF for its support, and in particular International Division Program Manager Alice Leeds, without whose sage advice and guidance this project would not have been possible. I would also like to thank Harriet McGuire, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Maputo, for her tireless efforts in innumerable ways ranging from logistical preparations to large-scale visionary planning. Her impeccable record-keeping and reporting also contributed enormously to the preparation of this summary. My AAAS colleague Alphonse Bigirimana was invaluable in organizing the often-confusing travel details for the delegation as they moved variously from Mozambique to New York, Washington, Miami, and finally safely back home. Finally, I would also like to express my gratitude to the delegation members themselves for their time, energy, and good will, and in particular to Lidia Brito, who could have been forgiven for backing out of the trip in the wake of her appointment as Minister and all the new responsibilities that entailed, but who, fortunately for us, did not.
Overview of Mozambique
Ethnobotany and Health
Care in Mozambique
Marine Sciences and Oceanography