Diversity in the Mathematics and Scientific Community I and II (07w2125)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Friday, July 27 and departing Sunday July 29, 2007


Petra Bonfert-Taylor (Wesleyan University)

(University of British Columbia)

(Simon Fraser University)

Kyewon Koh Park (Ajou University)

Suani Pinho (Universidade Federal da Bahia)

Edward Taylor (Wesleyan University)


The workshops will focus on the following activities:

1. Assessment of activities proposed at previous workshops on “Women in Mathematics”, in particular, the BIRS 2006 workshop.

2. Strengthening of initiatives to support diversity in the mathematics and broader scientific community, through communication, interaction, and cooperation with women in engineering.

3. International exchange and discussion of programs that support diversity across international borders.

The first goal follows up on two related workshops at BIRS. The 2-day BIRS workshop in 2005, “Connecting Women in Math across Canada” was focussed on topics in graduate and early career support and in understanding the changing culture in the mathematical community, both in academia and in industry. The second 5-day BIRS workshop will bring together individuals at all levels from across Canada, US and Mexico, providing opportunities for i) networking and interaction through panels, break-out groups, and informal discussions and engaging in scientific exchanges. ii) examining the activities of the institutes and professional organizations, and drafting a strategic document for guidelines and recommendations for future initiatives for the support of women in mathematics. In 2007 we will follow up on the progress of these initiatives, identifying successes and designing follow-up activities. In addition the conference will look into ways in which to disseminate the findings of these workshops and to promote the pursuit of successful activities at other departments and institutions.

The second goal is to strengthen these initiatives by interaction with related fields. Here we want to identify similarities and differences on the challenges and environment in the different fields. Then we want to apply this understanding in addressing diversity in both communities, seeking opportunities where the communities could work together to support diversity. In this way we look for ways to combine rather than duplicate efforts in the science and engineering communities, leading to better
efficiency and efficacy.

The third goal will be to find opportunities to support women in math through programs which collaborate internationally. Again we look for similarities and differences across cultures and countries in order to identify ways in which the strengths of each could be used across international borders. The recently formed PRIMA (Pacific RIm Mathematics Association) provides an ideal vehicle for developing international programs which place a high priority on diversity in the mathematics community.

At this time the organizing committee is still being contacted, as it will have to be selected carefully in order to address the major themes. The committee will include:

– Representatives from Institutes and professional organizations, and departments, with overlap from the BIRS Women in Math 2006 Workshop

– Representatives from Institutes and departments in other countries, e.g. from PRIMA members

– Representatives from Mentoring in Engineering Workshop