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Australian Maths Trust

AMT CEO Nathan Ford AOTA Speech – 19.6.23

AMT and ISI are thrilled to announce the teams for the 2023 International Olympiads. Nathan Ford, CEO, AMT, delivered an inspiring speech to the talented Olympians, emphasising the crucial elements of confidence, creativity, and the unwavering belief in their own problem-solving capabilities. Read his empowering speech below.

Thank you, Graham.

Good morning everyone – my name is Nathan Ford, and I am the CEO of the Australian Maths Trust. 

On behalf of the Board, staff and volunteers of the Australian Maths Trust, I would like to thank you all for attending this morning’s Olympiad teams announcement. 

I too would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people who are the traditional custodians of this land on which we are meeting and thank Aunty Violet for her warm welcome.  And as we meeting today to celebrate the achievements of these wonderful young mathematicians and scientists, I would like to especially acknowledge the vital role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have played in Australia’s rich and vibrant scientific history for over 60,000 years.

To our 2023 Olympians, I would like to congratulate you on your outstanding achievement in being selected to represent Australia this year.  Well done!   Please enjoy this moment – all your hard work and persistence have paid off and you deserve the chance to celebrate! 

While I know you are all focused and perhaps a little nervous about the competitions ahead of you – you should feel great confidence in yourself and rest assured that the hard work, skills, creativity and problem-solving that brought you here today will serve you equally well on the international stage tomorrow.  We are all very proud of you and excited to see what you will achieve in the coming months!

I would like welcome the Honourable Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science and the Honourable Anne Aly, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth, and their Federal and State ministerial colleagues, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley, Ms Anna-Maria Arabia, CEO of the Australian Academy of Science, Mrs Romilly Madew, CEO of Engineers Australia, Professor Tim Marchant, Director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, Mr Allan Dougan, CEO of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, Ms Melanie Bagg, CEO of the National Youth Science Forum and Mr Brandon Nguyen from Optiver.

I would like to thank the Trust’s sponsors, in particular the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, and Optiver, our National Sponsor of the Australian Informatics and Mathematical Olympiad Programs, for their continued and generous support of our Olympiad Teams. I’d also like to welcome our newest partner, the University of NSW, and thank them for their support with our growing Informatics and computer science pathway.

I would like to welcome our maths Director of Training, Dr Angelo Di Pasquale and our informatics Director of Training, Mr Kevin Tran as well as their colleagues in physics, chemistry, earth science and biology.  Thank you for teaching, nurturing and leading our young Olympiad students.

Thank you to Ms Anna Davis and ASI team for their organisation of today’s event and our team at AMT for their contributions from the Trust.

And to all the parents, teachers, administrators, friends and supporters of our Olympiad students who have travelled here today to acknowledge and celebrate these young students.  You have played a critical role in their success which cannot be understated. 

You have all provided unheralded moments of comfort and assistance whether it was a:

  1. A well-placed word of advice,
  2. An extra hour of guidance, explanation or care, or
  3. Something as simple and essential as a reminder to eat or drink or sleep or get out of the house and get some fresh air.

Thank you.

Before I hand back over the Graham, I would like to say one more thing to our students today:

You are some of Australia’s best and brightest young problem solvers.  You are remarkable individuals and excellent teammates. 

You are also leaders and scientific diplomats –

In the coming weeks, as you travel to your competitions, reflect on what you’ve achieved and where you are.  It’s an amazing opportunity you’ve grabbed for yourself. 

Enjoy the competition but also make sure you meet as many other competitors and peers as possible – share your passions, your intellect, your hopes.  And listen them when they share theirs.   It might be over a table tennis or card game, it might be over a meal, or just outside of a lab or examination room. 

It doesn’t really matter because you will make some life-long connections in the coming weeks and months – as friends today, and potential research collaborators or scientific colleagues in the future.

These are the people with whom you will share the problems and solutions of tomorrow –  whether you find yourself working in renewable energy, artificial intelligence, space exploration, food security, medical research or chemical engineering. 

You and your fellow competitors are the leaders of our scientific future and we couldn’t be in better hands.

Congratulations again, we’re all behind you and best of luck in the competitions!

AMT CEO Nathan Ford and Brandon Nguyen from Optiver with the 2023 IOI and IMO teams.