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Congrats to the Grads!

ICTP Postgraduate Diploma students honoured at ceremony

24/08/2018 - Trieste

The 2017/2018 class of ICTP’s Postgraduate Diploma Programme graduated in a joyful ceremony on Friday 24 August, alongside the Spirit of Salam Award Ceremony honouring scientists and non-scientists carrying on Abdus Salam’s vision. ICTP’s founder wanted a top-notch research centre to support scientists from developing countries, providing a place to do research and network, a resource and training center to help every scientist participate in the global scientific conversation. Each year the Diploma graduation launches talented young scientists from developing countries into careers in science, making Salam’s vision a reality.

See photos of the graduation ceremony


 Diploma Group



The Postgraduate Diploma Programme is designed to assist students from developing countries who are interested in further study in physics or mathematics. The programme helps fill in any past gaps in their education, exposes students to many different subfields, and prepares them to competitively apply to any PhD programme in the world. Since its inception in 1991, nearly 80 percent of Diploma alumni have gone on to earn a PhD.

It's been an intense year for the students, with two semesters full of tough classes as well as a summer spent working on a short research project and writing a thesis. The students choose one of four areas of instruction when they apply: high energy physics, condensed matter physics, mathematics, or Earth system physics. They defended their work in the weeks leading up to today's celebration, and many of them will be moving on to do PhDs or find jobs this fall.

"It was intense, studying was very hard, the programme was very competitive, and for me it was a challenge to complete the programme, but I am very happy that I did it!" said Sana Khadim of Pakistan. Khadim, who plans to pursue a PhD in algebraic geometry, said she benefited from a close collaboration with ICTP's Mathematics section. "I enjoyed my project with [ICTP mathematician] Lothar Göttsche, and I learned so many things. If, in the future, I have an opportunity to come here again, then I will gladly accept it!"

Other Diploma graduates shared their appreciation for ICTP's high-quality science and its international aspect. "The best thing was to meet a lot of people from many different countries, and also to attend lessons of high-level scientists. The professors here at ICTP are very good. I enjoyed very much all the lessons, and I learned a lot," said Alejandro Baró Pérez from Cuba. Eduard Araujo Lopez, a Diploma student from Colombia, echoed those sentiments. "For me, a highlight of being at ICTP was being surrounded by so many good scientists. Also, I was able to meet many people from different countries, cultures and languages. It is something from the beginning I liked-- the international character of the centre."

Both Baró Pérez and Lopez credit ICTP's Diploma Programme for helping them gain admission to universities in Europe for PhD studies. "Thanks to the Diploma Programme I was able to get a PhD placement in Sweden--the Diploma was key to my admission there," explained Baró Pérez. Added Lopez, "My goal is to get a PhD, and I was able to gain admission to a programme in Germany, for me an ideal place to continue my career. My idea is eventually to return to Colombia, integrate into academia and continue to promote ICTP there, where few people know about the centre."


Dip Ph DDestinations



Of the 37 graduating students, four were singled out as the top students of their respective programmes:

  • Luís Andrés Colmenárez (Venezuela) studied condensed matter physics and is heading to Dresden to start his PhD at the Max Planck Center for Complexity Studies;
  • José Guillermo Lara Delgado (Mexico) studied high energy physics and will be starting a PhD at SISSA this fall;
  • Elsiddig Elsiddig (Sudan) studied mathematics and will head to Paris to do his PhD work at Paris Dauphine University;
  • Florence Ramirez (Philippines) studied Earth system physics and is in the process of applying to PhD programmes.  

The graduation ceremony was livestreamed and can be viewed on ICTP's YouTube channel.

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