Professor of Mathematics Tevian Dray recently returned from three weeks in West Africa. Through the Visiting Lecturer Program of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), he was invited to teach a graduate course in Lorentzian Geometry and General Relativity at the Institut de Mathémathiques et de Sciences Physiques (IMSP) of the Université de Abomey-Calavi in Benin.
The IMSP is an African Centre of Excellence in the Mathematical Sciences, sponsored by the World Bank, with additional support from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics. The IMSP attracts students from across West Africa; Dray’s course was attended by students from Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Guinée, Mauritania, and Togo, in addition to Bénin. The working language at the IMSP is French, although the course was given (mostly) in English. While at the IMSP, Dray also gave a colloquium entitled “Using active engagement to teach mathematics,” which led to several extended conversations about pedagogy.