ICTP Associates Video Series: Mentoring Young Scientists in Pakistan

Meet ICTP Associate Imrana Ashraf in the second video of the series “Science is Our Common Language”
ICTP Associates Video Series: Mentoring Young Scientists in Pakistan

The ICTP Associates Programme is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year; this important milestone will be marked by a three-day event that is taking place from 1 to 3 July 2024.

The Programme was started by ICTP founder Abdus Salam at the very inception of the Centre, and it allows researchers from developing countries to build and maintain networks of connections with other researchers, both at ICTP and elsewhere, by giving them the opportunity to regularly spend time at the Centre during their associateship. By offering a solution to the sense of isolation that scientists working in developing countries often experience, the Programme intends to fight brain drain.

As the celebrations are approaching, ICTP is releasing the video series Science is Our Common Language, featuring some of the current associates.

The second episode in the series is dedicated to Imrana Ashraf Zahid, a professor at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in Islamabad, Pakistan, specialised in atom, quantum and classical optics. Imrana was the first Pakistani woman to obtain a PhD in Quantum Optics and she has been a Senior ICTP Associate since 2019. Meet her in this new video:

Over the past 35 years Imrana has developed very strong links with ICTP, which she first visited when she was still a student. She then returned to the Centre on several occasions, as an associate, but also as a tutor, as a fellow of the ICTP Training and Research in Italian Laboratories (TRIL) programme and, since 2007, as a lecturer for the Winter College on Optics, which ICTP has been organising regularly. In 2004, Imrana received the ICO/ICTP Gallieno Denaro Award for her significant scientific contributions to the field of optics and photonics. Her exemplary dedication to mentoring students and young researchers and her tireless action to promote the education of young women earned her the 2017 Spirit of Salam Award. In 2022 Imrana also received the Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition Award from Optica, the leading society in optics and photonics.

Imrana is also very engaged within the optics community: she is a senior member of Optica,  a member of SPIE, the International society for optics and photonics, and the managing director of the International Commission for Optics in Pakistan. She is very active in science outreach, especially in disadvantaged communities in Pakistan, focusing on public girls’ schools, colleges and universities. In 2016, she established the Active Learning in Optics (ALO) to bring physical sciences to underprivileged high schools and college girls in remote areas of Pakistan, and in 2021 she founded Pak-ICTP Alumni Society (PIAS). The association aims to nurture research collaborations, organize scientific outreach activities, provide career and vocational mentorship and help to develop active academic linkages between Pakistani and Italian educational institutes.

The protagonist of the first episode in the series Science is Our Common Language is Luis Foa Torres, a professor of physics at the University of Chile. Watch it again here.

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