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From February 26th until March 1st Diletta, Nicos and Raf visited the Anton de Kom University in Suriname to assess possibilities for cooperation between our institute and the math department in Paramaribo. Below is a short account of their visit.

The Anton de Kom university is the only university in Suriname and is located in the west of Paramaribo. It currently has around 4000 students spread over four faculties. They offer a three year bachelor degree in mathematics, which is offered every two years to a fixed number of twenty students. The teaching staff consists of about ten teachers, offering a curriculum that looks similar to our mathematics curriculum apart from the fact that they offer fewer optional courses in year two and three.

Currently the Paalman-de Miranda foundation, named in honor of Ietje Paalman-de Miranda, a former professor at our institute of Surinamese origin, offers two students from the Anton de Kom University the possibility to do an exchange semester at the UvA. Building on Diletta's experience with establishing collaborations with the Global South, we organized a visit to the Anton de Kom University to find ways to expand this connection.

During our stay we held several meetings with the teaching staff and students of the mathematics program at Anton de Kom University. These discussions centered around crucial topics such as structuring bachelor projects, offering joint advanced courses, and fostering research collaborations.

One of the primary focuses was on structuring the supervision of bachelor projects. Currently, many projects at Anton de Kom University are supervised by specialists from outside the university, presenting challenges in coordination and continuity. Drawing from our experiences in Amsterdam, we shared insights on how to choose relevant topics, coordinate student progress, and looked at possibilities to do joint supervision between internal and external supervisors.

A second topic that we discussed is to offer a joint advanced modeling course, building upon their existing courses, inspired by our course Modelleren en Simuleren in year two, with the addition of some practical applications interesting for Suriname. The possibility to offer a joint Advanced Modeling course in year three was very well received and concrete steps to implement this will be done in collaboration with Clarisha Nijman, one of the local teachers.

Finally, the visit also provided an opportunity to discuss research. Despite facing challenges balancing teaching responsibilities with research duties, several staff members at Anton de Kom University are looking for interesting research projects. We identified areas of mutual interest and looked at collaborations with colleagues from related disciplines, and even research visits to the Netherlands, which could enrich their research profiles and enhance teaching quality.

Overall, the atmosphere during the visit was very positive, and offered a good stepping stone to enhance the collaboration between Anton de Kom University and the Mathematics Institute at UvA. Besides the working sessions we also had free time to explore Paramaribo, taste the local cuisine, and have a couple of daily trips in the tropical forest and the surrounding areas. If you would like to be involved in this, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Diletta, Nicos, Raf

Dr D. (Diletta) Martinelli

Faculty of Science


Dr. R.R.J. (Raf) Bocklandt

Faculty of Science


Dr. N.J. (Nicos) Starreveld

Faculty of Science

College of Science