The African Astronomical Society (AfAS), International Astronomical Union – Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU-OAD) are organising an AfAS-IAU-OAD Session on the sidelines of the World Science Forum 2022 themed “Advancing Africa’s Astronomy Agenda,” on 06 December 2022.
Africa has always suffered the effects of a damaging global perception – “Afro-pessimism” – economically, politically, and in science and technology. However, the rapid growth of astronomy in Africa over the past two decades, led by world-class initiatives such as the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), the MeerKAT Radio Telescope, and the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S), to mention a few, have served to change the narrative about what Africa is capable of. As a result, in astronomy, Africa currently claims its place among international peers in one of the most technically challenging fields imaginable.
Astronomy activities on the African continent have grown over the last two decades, and astronomy has become one of the emerging scientific fields bringing with its development in terms of infrastructure and human capacity through investments by government and various institutions in Africa and from across the world. Evidence of this rapid growth of astronomy in the continent can be seen through winning the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and hosting for the first time in Africa the IAU-GA in 2024. South Africa proposed the SKA and the GA 2024 as “African” bids that will eventually benefit the continent as a whole.
Using Africa’s geographic advantage of dark skies as a strategic driver for the development of globally competitive astronomy research programmes, there are numerous astronomy infrastructure projects, instruments and training programmes that have burgeoned, making the continent home to mega-science projects capable of producing cutting-edge science in optical, radio, and gamma-ray astronomy.
The hosts of the session, the African Astronomical Society (AfAS), a voice of astronomy on the continent working to address the challenges faced by Africa through the promotion and advancement of astronomy, and the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU-OAD) have significant experience and networks across Africa to lead a discussion on how the various initiatives are facilitating the development of astronomy in Africa as well as plans to ensure that Africa becomes one of the leaders in astronomy internationally.
This session presents an opportunity for significant role players to highlight how the different activities described above enable the advancement of astronomy in Africa and plans to ensure that Africa becomes one of the world’s leaders in astronomy. It will also allow the speakers to engage with one another and the audience and illustrate how the various institutions’ goals are aligned. The discussions aim to encourage collaborative research and innovation in astronomy and related sciences as well as address topics such as astronomy for development and outreach and education programs, promoting interdisciplinary approaches on how science can contribute to society and address global challenges, and how these collaborations can help us achieve the SDGs.
- Date: 06 December 2022
- Time: 11:30 – 13:00 CAT/UTC+2:00
- Format: Hybrid
- Venue: Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Cape Town, South Africa
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