As we drove into Kigali for a meeting of the international board of directors of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) recently, I found myself reflecting on a song I sang with the school choir when I was growing up.

Titled Amadoda Ambalwa (A Few Men), the song tells of the thoughts of several men passing through a beautiful territory. One saw only grass. Another saw the stars. A scientist saw still water and considered the diseases in it. A war hero saw the land as ideal for war while a realtor considered the possibilities for land sales and construction...

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