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Diploma Reunion

ICTP event to celebrate 30 years Diploma Programme


Thirty years of high-level physics and mathematics instruction, and more than 1000 graduates from 80 countries: the success of ICTP's Postgraduate Diploma Programme will be front and centre at a three-day online event this summer to mark its 30th anniversary.

The event, which will take place from 23 to 25 August 2021, will celebrate one of ICTP's most cherished programmes, and will offer a chance for Diploma alumni to share their memories and make new connections.

Highlights of the event will include:

  • a keynote speech by 2020 Nobel Laureate in Physics Andrea Ghez
  • a talk on diversity in science by Sylvester James Gates, Jr, president of the American Physical Society
  • presentations by prominent Diploma alumni, including Freddy Cachazo, recipient of the prestigious New Horizons in Physics Prize in 2014
  • parallel sessions in various regions of the world to foster the creation of networks
  • social activities to encourage Diploma alumni to connect, reconnect and celebrate.

The idea to combine the Diploma anniversary with a reunion came from ICTP alumna Nushkia Chamba, of Sri Lanka, who completed the Diploma Programme in 2017. "ICTP is a hub for talented, diverse individuals from all over the world, and I was genuinely curious to connect and re-connect with my colleagues - even those I have never met," explains Chamba, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at Stockholm University. She adds, "Knowing that we all started our journey to become researchers, change makers, mentors and learners at ICTP made me feel like we needed a reunion. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of ICTP’s most successful programmes felt like a perfect opportunity to begin creating these alumni connections."

The event programme is currently under development; one key goal is to create an environment that will encourage the Diploma alumni to foster lasting networks.

"I hope that the reunion will provide a framework for alumni to re-connect with their colleagues at ICTP and together come up with clear strategies to build on the connections we have all made in our journeys abroad and bring them to our home countries," says Chamba, who is a co-organizer of the event. "This will be an exciting start to a new network of alumni, where each of us spreads ICTP’s goal of science and education without borders for the rest of our lives."

ICTP's Postgraduate Diploma Programme is designed to assist students from developing countries who come from various educational backgrounds and are interested in further study in physics or mathematics. The programme offers five areas of instruction: high energy physics, condensed matter physics, mathematics, Earth system physics, and quantitative life sciences.

More than 1000 students have graduated from the Postgraduate Diploma Programme since it began in 1991. Of these students, more than a quarter are female. Hundreds of Diploma graduates have gone on to earn PhDs from international universities, mainly in Europe and in the United States, and then have returned to their home countries to put their acquired skills. to good use, by becoming teachers or researchers.

More details about the event can be found at