OAD Workshop

Short Summary of the OAD workshop

The IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) held its first stakeholders workshop from 12 – 14 December 2012 at the SAAO in Cape Town. Fifty-five participants attended from 28 different countries. Attendees included representatives of relevant Commission 46 Program Groups, Commission 55, other IAU-endorsed activities (GTTP and Universe Awareness) and external organisations interested in contributing to implementation of the IAU Strategic Plan “Astronomy for the Developing World”. The workshop was streamed via the web.

In his welcome address, Kevin Govender announced that more than 340 potential volunteers had already registered in reply to the call issued to IAU members.  The format of the meeting mostly consisted of several five-minute talks followed by extensive discussions, focusing on such matters as governance of the various envisaged Task Forces, the nature of Regional Nodes and future fund raising campaigns. Additional topics such as the role of distance learning, institute twinning and evaluation in future capacity building programmes were also talked about at length.

We regard the workshop as having been a great success and an essential stepping-stone on the road to implementing the IAU Strategic Plan. The second meeting of the OAD Steering Committee was held directly following the workshop and devoted considerable time to discussing the next stage in implementing the Plan. Among the actions planned for the OAD during the next few months are:

  • Issuing a call for proposals for the IAU regional nodes
  • Instigating the 3 Task Forces (Universities & Research, Schools and Children and Outreach to the Public)
  • Setting up study groups to investigate some relevant topics, such as distance learning.

Kevin Govender (Director, IAU Office of Astronomy for Development)
George Miley (IAU Vice President, Chairperson OAD Steering Committee)

** See videos of the OAD Stakeholders Workshop which was live on ustream!**

** See final programme and links to presentation files **

** See final list of participants who were in attendance **


Below is the historical information that was on this page about the workshop…


Dates: 12 to 14 December 2011
Venue: South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), Cape Town, South Africa

1. Purpose

In order to fulfil its ambitious goals the OAD needs input and support from individuals and organisations across the world that share the OAD vision of “Astronomy for a better world” and wish to contribute to achieving the goals of the IAU Strategic Plan 2010 – 2020, “Astronomy for the Developing World”. This first workshop of OAD Stakeholders is intended to bring together key partners who will contribute to astronomy-for-development activities. In the longer term the OAD will consider holding such a workshop annually, perhaps in conjunction with other international meetings. Specific goals of the first workshop are:

a. Seek input into the activities of the OAD and its implementation strategy
b. Plan for the establishment of regional nodes and task forces
c. Discuss ways in which interested organisations could provide support for implementation of the IAU Strategic Plan
d. Formalise partnerships with stakeholders and establish action plans
e. Discuss astronomy-for-development activities and implementation responsibilities of stakeholders, as well as fundraising

2. Participants

This workshop should attract those who wish to partner with the OAD and contribute to its activities. These would include, amongst others, the following:

  • relevant IAU programme group chairs;
  • coordinators of IYA2009 activities (secretariat, cornerstones, active nodes)
  • astronomical institutes and organisations;
  • large amateur astronomy groups;
  • astronomy education projects and stakeholders;
  • planetaria and similar institutions
  • individuals championing astronomy-for-development in their regions

Attendance is by invitation only, based on the motivations and potential contributions submitted by participants, as well as strategic roles that organisations could play. The size of the workshop will be limited to approximately 40 participants in order to ensure maximum interaction and discussion.
See final participant list here

3. Programme (meant to be dynamic and flexible)
See detailed programme here

4. Anticipated Outcomes

  • Input to an implementation plan for OAD
  • Input on establishment of Task Forces, with interim drivers and draft Terms of Reference (final task force to be ratified by OAD Steering Committee and launched before April 2012 EC meeting)
  • Input on establishment of Regional Nodes (actual establishment to take place between the workshop and the EC meeting in April 2012 – following call for proposals, considerations of workshop discussions, and ratification by due process)
  • Establishment of list of astronomy-for-development activities with respective drivers and partnership

5. Your input (still) requested:

This workshop has been oversubscribed by about a factor of two! Unfortunately we had to restrict the numbers to ensure a reasonable and effective discussion – if you did not receive an invitation we hope that you will still contribute in some other way.
Input from you is extremely important to us and so we request that you send us your thoughts on the following points (we request you send your input via the online form):

  1. Programme (see below)
  2. Task force implementation (click here for discussion document)
  3. Regional Nodes implementation (click here for discussion document)
  4. Existing (related) activities – lessons, best practice, potential collaborations
  5. Ideas for future astronomy-for-development activities
  6. Ideas on fundraising – possible sources, how should we approach funders, etc.
  7. Comments on the mission, roles, guiding principles, etc of the OAD (see About pages)

In order to help gather this input from you most effectively we have set up a simple  online form that we request you to fill in (click here to access the form).

You are also welcome to contact us directly if you would like to communicate your input in any other way.

6. Logistics
Click here for accommodation options surrounding the venue
Click here for information on the optional tour to Sutherland
Click here for some recommendations on things to do around Cape Town