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2019 Diploma Graduation Ceremony

33 ICTP Diploma students honoured at ceremony

2019 Diploma Graduation Ceremony
2019 Diploma Graduation Ceremony


The ICTP Postgraduate Diploma Programme class of 2019 graduated on 29 August, in a joyful ceremony that concluded a long and intense year of learning and hard work. In conjunction, the Spirit of Salam Award Ceremony took place, honouring scientists and non-scientists carrying on Abdus Salam’s legacy. The match is indeed fitting, since ICTP’s founder's goal was to establish a high-quality international research centre to support scientists from developing countries in pursuing a top-class career in research, providing them with training, resources and networking possibilities. Each year the Diploma programme students take a first step toward a bright future in science, making Salam’s vision a reality.

The Postgraduate Diploma Programme is designed to assist students from developing countries who are interested in further study in physics or mathematics. The programme especially helps students reach international standards of knowledge and competences, striving to fill in any past gaps in their education. This is done in order to prepare them to compete successfully for graduate studies at any institution in the world. The programme offers four areas of instruction: high energy physics, condensed matter physics, mathematics, or Earth system physics.

Diploma2019Founded in 1991, the Diploma programme consists of an intense year-long course of study, made up by two semesters of classes. It is then concluded by a final research project and a thesis, that the students defended in the weeks leading up to today's celebration. After all this hard work, most of the Diploma graduates enrol in PhD programmes in European or North-American universities, in which they continue their path in research. Many of them plan on returning to their home countries when they finish their studies, to contribute with their newly acquired skills and expertise to research development.

“At the beginning, when I started my year here, I found it a little difficult to understand things, because the level of what is taught here is rather higher to what I studied in my country,” said Asad Ullah, a student in the Mathematics section from Pakistan. “But here I got more motivation, and I learnt the most important thing of all, that is, how to study”. Ullah has applied to some PhD positions in European universities and wishes to continue his research in the field of dynamical systems. “After my year here at ICTP, I feel more confident to apply for a PhD, I feel a lot better.”

Other students also share their appreciation not only for the Diploma Programme high-quality education, but also for the informal and friendly atmosphere at ICTP. “My favourite thing about the months I spent at ICTP is that I could play ping pong here at the Centre, even with my own professors,” said Rabindra Raj Oliya, a student in the Condensed Matter Physics section from Nepal. “During classes, they are our teachers, but outside the class they are really accommodating people. We could share with them any problem we had, may it be study-related or personal, and it was really good.”

Many of the graduates agree that their time at ICTP made them improve as scientists and that they feel now considerably more confident on their capability of succeeding in science research.

Diploma Future“Before coming here I was studying high energy physics and wanted to move to mathematical physics, but it required much more fundamental knowledge of mathematics than I had, so I chose to study mathematics here,” said Song-Jin Ri, a student from Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “At the beginning it was quite hard for me, because it was the first time that I studied mathematics rigorously, but I tried my best,” continued Ri, who has been accepted for a PhD in mathematical physics at SISSA (the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste). “After my year at ICTP, I feel that I have the knowledge and abilities necessary to succeed.”

Of the 33 graduating students, four were singled out as the top students of their respective programmes:

  • Asem Abdelraouf (Egypt) studied mathematics and has been admitted to a MSc2 programme at University Paris Diderot;
  • Nicolas Loayza Romero (Ecuador) studied high energy, cosmology and astroparticle physics and will be attending a MSc programme at Bonn University;
  • Nishan Ranabhat (Nepal) studied condensed matter physics and will be starting a joint ICTP/SISSA PhD programme after the summer;
  • John Bosco Ssebandeke (Uganda) studied Earth system physics and is extending his stay at ICTP to continue investigating the topic of his thesis.

In the following interactive map you can see where the Diploma students have come from over the past ten years:

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

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