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UN75 Dialogue: Astronomy - a Unique Educational Tool for furthering the SDG
Event Date: 
Mon, 2020/09/28

The IAU E-ROAD will organise an online UN75 Dialogue about astronomy as a unique educational tool for stimulating global citizenship.


About this Event


Astronomy is an effective tool for international development because it combines fundamental science and cutting-edge technology with culture and inspiration. This is the pioneering mission of the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town and its network of 11 regional offices throughout the world.


Alongside the UN 75th General Assembly, the E-ROAD will organise an online Dialogue on 28 September 2020 and a face-to-face event in 2021, focusing on the unique contribution of astronomy, its technology and inspirational power to advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This online UN Dialogue is part of the ISC ScienceDigital@UNGA75 conference, that will address how science and ICT can contribute to attaining the SDGs.


The SDGs addressed in this Dialogue include SDG4 (Education), SDG9 (Infrastructure & Innovation), SDG13 (Climate Action) and SDG16 (Peaceful inclusive societies), while safeguarding SDG5 (Gender Equality) and SDG10 (Reduced inequalities). During the dialogue, particular attention will be paid to how stimulating a cosmic perspective from a young age can contribute to a child’s global consciousness and foster universal solidarity. Such an approach to education is particularly important in the light of the several global threats that face our planet, including pandemics, climate change, ethnic conflicts and racism.


The Dialogue on Astronomy for Development will feature several high-profile speakers discussing how astronomy can contribute to achieving the UN SDGs, with a focus on astronomy as a tool for stimulating global citizenship via early education. We plan to include short, pre-recorded contributions by children from countries in the worldwide IAU Astronomy for Development network about how they view the world and the need to preserve and cultivate it, after seeing the iconic "pale blue dot" picture of our planet from space. The Dialogue will conclude with a discussion about the value of astronomy for global citizenship education and the UN SDGs.


The programme

The short, inspirational videos will be shown throughout the programme


Short talks by:

  • Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor (prerecorded), South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation: Opening address
  • Kevin Govender, Director IAU Office of Astronomy for Development: Astronomy for development and the flagship project on Astronomy for Humanity
  • Michelle Willebrands, Coordinator European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development: Astronomy education for global citizenship in Pale Blue Dot
  • Lydia Ruprecht, Specialist UNESCO Global Citizenship Education: The UNESCO global citizenship education framework
  • Orla Doyle, Associate Professor at the School of Economics University College Dublin: Early childhood interventions
  • Cecilia Scorza, Coordinator for public outreach and school contacts at physics faculty LMU Munich: "Astronomy for Climate" educational box
  • Premana Premadi, Researcher and teacher at Bosscha Observatory Indonesia: UNAWE and Astronomy education in Indonesia

30 minute Q&A with all the speakers


The event link will be emailed to registered participants.


Organised by the IAU European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development as part of the Global Science Collaboration Conference around the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA75).


Organising Committee

George Miley (Leiden University, the Netherlands / IAU E-ROAD)

Michelle Willebrands (Leiden University, the Netherlands / IAU E-ROAD)

Pedro Russo (Leiden University, the Netherlands / IAU E-ROAD)