Academic Council Debate Series - The Role of International Organizations in the Promotion of Technology and Science for Development

Wednesday, 25 May, 2011 - 17:00 to 19:00
EPFL - Lausanne


A round-table debate, organized in collaboration with the Cooperation at EPFL Department (UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development), took place on Wednesday, 25 May 2011, at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

A lively debate on the role of International Organizations to promote science and technology for development took place and offered the opportunity for an interesting interaction with the audience.


Dr Maurizio BONA
Adviser to the Director-General, in charge of Relations with International Organizations

Adviser to the Director-General on Relations with Non-Member States
Responsible for Relations with Canada, the United States, Ireland,
the Middle East, Africa and Japan


Senior Adviser to the Executive Director


Désiré Karyabwité

Internet Protocol Coordinator at the ITU, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT)



The debate was chaired by Professor Jean-Claude Bolay, Director for International Cooperation and Professor (urbanization and sustainable development, North-South cooperation) at EPFL.





More about the speakers:

Dr Maurizio BONA was born in Milan. He holds an engineering degree (1979) and a Doctor degree on material science (1983) from Politecnico di Milano.

Starting in the mid-eighties he participated in the design and development phases of the LHC* superconducting magnets. In particular he was in charge of the finite-element structural design of the main dipole, as well as of the development in industry of some short-length prototypes, of the first three 10-m long prototypes and of the first 15-m long prototype. In the period 1993-95 he was Invited Professor at University of Genoa, teaching applied superconductivity and superconducting magnets. Once the R&D phase of the LHC dipoles concluded, he led the Technical Group (1998) and the Integrated Safety and Environment Group (2003) of the CERN Safety Commission. He then led the Safety Commission from June 2006 until the end of his mandate in December 2008. As from mid-2009 he is the Adviser to the Director-General, in charge of relations with International Organizations. (* CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is the world largest (27 km circumference) and highest energy accelerator.)

Dr John ELLISis a theoretical physicist whose main research interests are in particle physics, who also works in related areas of astrophysics, cosmology and quantum gravity. Most of his research work has been directly related to experiment, for example the discovery of the gluon was based on a suggestion he made, and he frequently co-authors scientific papers with experimental authors. He is the author of over 800 scientific papers, with some 47,000 citations in the SLAC Spires database of papers in high-energy physics and related fields.

Much of his research work has also concerned the physics prospects for high-energy accelerators such as LEP (Large Electron-Positron Collider), the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and now CLIC (Compact Linear Collider). He has been a frequent contributor to studies of their physics capabilities, co-authoring the first survey of possible LEP physics in 1976 and making the first survey of possible beyond the Standard Model physics at the LHC in 1984. He was also an editor of the survey of possible CLIC physics published in 2004.

Dr Ellis has been at CERN since 1973, and led the CERN Theoretical Physics Division between 1988 and 1994. He has advised successive CERN Directors-General on relations with Non-Member States since 1998. Currently he has primary responsibilities for relations with Canada, the United States, Ireland, the Middle East, Africa and Japan. One of his particular interests is finding and providing training opportunities at CERN for students and teachers from Non-Member States. For example, in 2009 he has overseen the integration into the CERN Summer Student programme of over 100 students from 40 Non-Member States.

Mr Mohand CHERIFI  has been appointed Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research) on January 2011. Previously, he held the position as Principal Coordinator of the World Alliance of the Cities against Poverty (WACAP) – a network created by UNDP Geneva aiming at reducing the urban poverty in the framework of the UN Decade for the eradication of poverty (1997 – 2006). From 1993 – 1996, he had accomplished several missions within UNCTAD’s technical assistance programme in favour of African countries of the “Franc Zone”, in order to adapt their trade policy to the multilateral and international trade context.

Before becoming an international expert of the United Nations, Mr. Cherifi was a high official of Algeria’s government. From 1984 to 1989, he was consecutively appointed Secretary-General of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Minister of Commerce and Minister-Counselor to the Head of Government. From 1990 to 1992, he  was heading the Scientific Council of the Graduate School of Management and Administration (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Administration et de Gestion) of Alger.

Mr. Cherifi is a graduate of the University of Grenoble, France (Engineer – Master’s degree in Physics) and of the University of Harvard, United-States (Master’s degree in public administration).


Mr. Désiré KARYABWITE is the IP (Internet Protocol) Coordinator at the ITU, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). Since 1989, he has played a leading role in the field of technology transfer and in the Introduction of Internet/Intranet in High Technologies Enterprises in Switzerland and worldwide and specially in Developing Countries.

In 1997, he started to work with the ITU as expert in the fields of telecommunication, IP-based Networks and management information systems for fixed and mobile networks. He is now managing IP activities and assisting developing countries worldwide in setting up and implementing policies and strategies of IP-based Networks, NGN, IPTV, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Triple & Quadri-Play technologies.

He has published several books and documents on strategies relating to modern IP-based communication and broadband access technologies. He has participated in international panels and organized IP Telephony, e-services applications and related events worldwide.

Before joining ITU, he was a member and President of IDM (Ingénieurs du Monde, Sector member of ITU), Internet Coordinator at Synergies Africa in Geneva, Switzerland. He also worked with Northrop Grumman, Maryland, USA, as Coordinator of “Air Traffic Management System and Radio Access” for Rwanda, and as Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA). He is also Swiss citizen and was born in December 1963 in Rwanda. He has a M.Sc. from “Switzerland Federal Institute of Technology - (EPFL)” as Electrical and Communication Engineer and he is also qualified in “Management of High Technologies” from EPFL.


The organizing institution:

The Cooperation@epfl unit is attached to the Vice-presidency for Academic Affairs of the EPFL and was nominated a UNESCO Chair in technologies for development in 2007.The aim of the Cooperation@epfl unit is to contribute to tackling development issues through the promotion and strengthening of scientific cooperation, in conjunction with academic and research institutions in emerging and developing countries. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines the knowledge produced by the different disciplines at the EPFL and the social, economic and institutional capacities of the countries of the South, Cooperation@epfl seeks to promote the application of state-of-the-art technologies to real social, environmental and economic needs in order to respond to the most pressing world challenges and to contribute to the efforts being made to reduce poverty. Cooperation@epfl activitiesare focused in 4 main axes: Research, Management of Research programs, Education, Expertise and advice, Communication and events.