International Conference: Slave Trade, Slavery and Transition to Indenture in Mauritius and the Mascarenes 1715-1848

April 21, 2011

Researchers coming from interrelated historical backgrounds brought to our minds reminiscence of slavery and the indentured labourers in Mauritius and the Mascarenes, centres of a dynamic and substantial slave trading network in the region from 1715 to 1848, during the International Conference on Slave Trade held at the University of Mauritius from 11 to 13 April 2011. The Prime Minister, Dr the Hon Navinchandra Ramgoolam, GCSK, FRCP, launched this three-day conference and a Slave Trade database and inventory on the archival records of the number of ships involved in slave trade at the opening ceremony on 11 April.

The Conference was organised by the Truth and Justice Commission in collaboration with the University of Mauritius, le Centre d’Etudes des Mondes Africains / Université Paris 1 and partner institutions. This international platform regrouped some 50 historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and many more researchers from Mauritius, Rodrigues, Réunion, France, Madagascar, South Africa and United Kingdom. Eminent scholars including Françoise Vergès, President of the ‘Comité pour la Mémoire et l’Histoire de l’Esclavage, consulting at the Centre for Cultural Studies, from the University of London were present.

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Mauritian Sign Language at the University

April 21, 2011

For the first time since the introduction of MSL, students of the University have been trained from January 2011 to March 2011 in the Mauritian Sign Language (MSL). The aim of the training was to equip students with basic skills in sign language and to encourage a greater understanding of disabled people while promoting at the same time a sense of unity among the youth.

This training was initiated by the Public Relations Officer, Mrs Nivault, and organised by the PR’s office, in the context of the National Day celebrations and was ensured by the famous weekly MBC news sign interpreter, Ms Indrani, assisted by Mrs Bisnauthsing of the School for the Deaf of Beau Bassin. It focussed on the signing of the National Anthem.

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Distinguished nominations

April 21, 2011

Prof Radakrishna ‘Dinesh’ Somanah: CSK

Prof Somanah was appointed Commander of the Order of the Star and Key of the Indian Ocean for his contribution in the fields of Education and Research on the occasion of the National Day by the President of the Republic of Mauritius. Prof Somanah joined the University of Mauritius in 1989 and his research interest focuses on Physics and Astrophysics at the Faculty of Science and the Mauritius Radio Telescope.

Prof Somanah has received several other distinctions including the naming of a minor planet of our solar system after him “Somanah” by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the NASA in 2007 for his contribution to research in astronomy.

TWAS Academy of Sciences for the Developing World Young Affiliates

Since 2007, each Regional Offices of TWAS-The Academy of Science for the Developing World nominates some five scientists as TWAS Young Affiliates for a period of five years. Candidates must live and work in developing countries and have an excellent track record of at least 10 international publications. These Affiliates are invited to participate in TWAS general meetings and conferences during their tenure. Following her nomination as TWAS Young Affiliate for the period 2008-2012, Dr Archana Bhaw-Luximon, from the Faculty of Science, was nominated as an outstanding young scientist by the InterAcademy Panel/World Economic Forum “Summer Davos China”. She has also received the Bruce Hartmann Award, Polychar 16, India for her work on the modification of agarose from seaweeds.

Top ten articles by BioMedLib

An article published by Dr S P Seetulsingh-Goorah, Head of the Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, in Biofactors in 2006 entitled “Mechanisms of adenosine-induced cytotoxicity and their clinical and physiological implications” has recently been ranked first amongst top ten articles published in the same field between 2006 and 2011 by BioMedLib (

Graduation Ceremonies and Conferment of Honoris Causa

April 21, 2011

The University of Mauritius held its Graduation Ceremonies on 22 and 23 March 2011 at the Paul Octave Wiehe Auditorium, where 741 undergraduate and 272 postgraduate students graduated from the different Faculties of the University and institutions jointly running courses with the University. On that same occasion, Mr Bernard Gruson, Chief Executive Officer, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) and President of the Comité de Direction, was conferred the Degree of Doctor of Civil Law honoris causa in the presence of Dr The Hon Rajeshwar Jeetah, Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology.

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Rapid response to curb Pulmonary Tuberculosis on UoM campus

April 21, 2011

On 23 March 2011, the University of Mauritius was informed by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life that four of our students had been diagnosed as suffering from Tuberculosis and had been placed under good care for treatment at the Poudre D’Or Hospital. The University of Mauritius immediately set up a step by step action plan to ensure that the campus remained a safe environment for work and study.

Working in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life and the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, the University took necessary control measures to address the problem. The day following detection of Tuberculosis, medical experts from the Ministry of Health with the assistance of UoM medical staff carried out preliminary screening tests among students and staff who had been in close contact with the infected students as per the protocol of Infection Control.

Concerns of staff and students were addressed by the medical team during a series of briefing sessions where medical experts explained about the disease and its control measures. The media was also convened to a press conference with the Vice-Chancellor, the Public Relations Officer and Dr Rajiv K Janjua, respiratory physician from the Ministry of Health, to reassure parents and the public that the situation was under control and was closely monitored by the authorities.