To welcome new international members to the American Statistical Association and create a trust for cooperation, the Educational Ambassador Program was launched by the Committee on International Relations in Statistics in 2005 to recruit a number of educational ambassadors from foreign countries. The program was developed to advance lasting collaboration between the ASA and other international statistical societies for permanent exchanges of knowledge.
A person holding a PhD in statistics or biostatistics who is open to studying a new area of research and who has an interest in teaching this new area of research is qualified to be an educational ambassador.
The Committee on International Relations in Statistics selects the country that will host the educational ambassador. The committee chair then selects a liaison for that country. The liaison is a prestigious statistician native to the country who works in the United States. The liaison provides names and contact information for prominent statisticians from the selected country who will form the Educational Ambassador Selection Committee. The selection committee, along with the chair of the Committee on International Relations in Statistics and the ASA director of education, identify qualified applicants.
The applicants are required to submit the following:
- A letter of intent, indicating why they should be selected for the award
- Curriculum vita
- One letter of recommendation
- The choice of a two-day course or two one-day courses from a list of courses offered at the upcoming Joint Statistical Meetings. The topic(s) selected should be relevant and ones in which their home country presently has no expertise. The candidate will be expected to give lectures on the subject matter when they return to their home country.
- A letter from the chair of the department of the university where the lectures will be given by the educational ambassador. The letter must state that the department will provide the educational ambassador with all the necessary supplies and facilities to present the class.
Educational ambassadors are subsidized to attend the Joint Statistical Meetings. At JSM, the chosen educational ambassador will attend a Continuing Education (CE) course in an emerging area of research (unknown in their own country) and receive ASA full membership for one year.
The educational ambassador will then return to his or her home country and, within the next year, teach a class of no fewer than 10 students at the master’s degree level the subject matter of the CE course taken. The presentation of this course will be financially subsidized by the ASA.
The educational ambassador will give a report to the Committee on International Relations in Statistics about his or her experiences as an educational ambassador.
During the following academic year, the educational ambassador will repeat the class he or she taught in neighboring countries in person or through webinars.
Current Educational Ambassador
2017 – Honoré Mitonga Kabwebwe
As the 2017 ASA educational ambassador, Honoré Mitonga Kabwebwe—senior lecturer at Windhoek, Namibia—attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Baltimore, Maryland, and completed continuing education courses.
Past Educational Ambassadors
2016 – Adedayo Adepoju, Nigeria
As the 2016 ASA educational ambassador, Adedayo Adepoju—senior lecturer and former acting head at the department of statistics, University of Ibadan, Nigeria—attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Chicago, Illinois, and completed courses on Bayesian methods, bootstrap and permutation methods, and ordinal categorical responses.
2015 – Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman, Bangladesh
As the 2015 ASA educational ambassador, Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman, associate professor of applied statistics at the University of Dhaka attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, Washington, to participate in Continuing Education courses.
2014 – Juan Carlos Salazar Uribe, Colombia
As the 2014 ASA educational ambassador, Juan Carlos Salazar Uribe of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia attended the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in Boston, Massachusetts, to participate in Continuing Education courses. He was particularly interested in a course on applied longitudinal analysis.
2012 – Keamogetse Setlhare, Botswana
The 2012 educational ambassador was Keamogetse Setlhare from the University of Botswana Department of Statistics in Gaborone. She attended the 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego, California, and the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Setlhare took courses in Bayesian methods and computation, simulation and sampling of data, and analysis of univariate and multivariate extremes, as well as several computer technology workshops.
2010 – Eiliana Montero, Costa Rica
In 2010, the educational ambassador was Eiliana Montero of the University of Costa Rica. In 2011, Eiliana presented “A First-Time Course in Modern Causal Inference at the University of Costa Rica” during the JSM contributed session From Courses to Majors, sponsored by the Section on Statistical Education.
2009 – Tatevik Zorhrabyan and Alexan Simonyan, Armenia
There were two educational ambassadors in 2009: Tatevik Zorhrabyan and Alexan Simonyan, from Armenia. Both took several CE courses at JSM 2009 and plan to teach what they learned in Armenia. They also created the Armenia Statistical Association.
2008 – Idir Ouassou, Morocco
The 2008 educational ambassador was Idir Ouassou from Marrakech, Morocco. He teaches at the Universit Cadi Ayyad Ecole Nationale Des Sciences. During JSM 2008, in Denver, Colorado, he attended the course Generalized Linear Mixed Models: Theory and Applications and the computer technology workshops An Introduction to Stat Studio for SAS/STAT Users, Introduction to Bayesian Analysis Using SAS Software, Nonparametric Regression Modeling in SAS Software, and Structural Analysis of Time Series Using the SAS/ETS UCM Procedure.
2007 – Loan Le, Vietnam
The 2007 educational ambassador was Loan Le, from Ho Chi Minh City. She is the vice director of the government statistics office and chose to attend three classes during JSM 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah: Latent Class Analysis of Survey Error, Modeling and Data Analysis for Complex Surveys, and Categorical Data Analysis.
2006 – Eshetu Wencheko, Ethiopia
The 2006 educational ambassador was Eshetu Wencheko, from Ethiopia. Wencheko, president of Alpha University College in Addis Ababa, took two classes during JSM 2006 in Seattle, Washington: Generalized Linear Mixed Models and Generalized Linear and Latent Mixed Models. He taught a class in generalized linear mixed models to 14 graduate statistics students in Ethiopia.
2005 – Diana Kelmansky, Argentina
The first educational ambassador was selected in 2005 from Argentina. Diana Kelmansky teaches at the University of Buenos Aires. She selected the Continuing Education course Analysis of Gene Expression Data, presented by Terrence Speed and colleagues at JSM 2005 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The title of her invited presentation in 2006 was “Building Statistical Capacity in Developing Countries.” Kelmansky presented her class at the University of Buenos Aires and repeated the class in Ecuador and Spain. She also co-taught the class with Speed in Mexico. After that experience, she wrote the class notes in Spanish and was invited to make presentations at three conferences in Argentina and one in Chile.