The South African Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs Naledi Pandor, launched the IAU Global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) at the headquarters of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), on 16th April 2011, amidst a large audience of special guests.
The Global Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) is a partnership between the IAU and the South African National Research Foundation to coordinate a wide range of worldwide activities designed to use astronomy as a tool for education and development. This is part of the realisation of a visionary decadal plan by the IAU entitled “Astronomy for the Developing World”. This plan aims to use astronomy to stimulate development at all levels including primary, secondary and tertiary education, science research and the public understanding of science, building on the success of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. In a strong partnership between the IAU and the South African government, the OAD began its work on 1st March 2011.
According to Minister Pandor, “In South Africa, people in the astronomy field, from those working on the ground to the highest levels of government, share the vision that astronomy will play a significant role in the development of society.”
The President of the IAU, Prof Robert Williams, who also spoke at the launch, said: “Astronomy has incredible potential to impact on the developmental aspirations of Africa and the rest of the world. It is appropriate that this global coordinating office be situated in Sub-Saharan Africa as this is a focus region for the IAU’s strategic plan.”
- Speech by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor
- Speech by the President of the IAU, Robert Williams
- Speech by the Director of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development, Kevin Govender
- IAU press release
- Youtube video