Our project aims to address two significant challenges, one academic and one aimed for the general public.
Guatemala, along with many countries of the Central American/Caribbean region, lacks of a solid and well consolidated program of astronomy/astrophysics at Graduate level. The challenge that the GUASA school aims, is to trigger the change needed to improve upon that situation.
Regarding the general public, the challenge we want to address is to keep using astronomy among the general public as a tool to inspire their life. We want to inspire young and adult Guatemalans, specially underrepresented young teenagers and children with op quality, public, free activities related to astronomy.
We are going to launch the third GUAtemalan School of Astrophysics (GUASA). We aim to organize one of these schools every two years, and due to the great success of the first two, we are optimistic of rising funds for the next edition, which we plan held in Antigua Guatemala in 2017. The school aims to bring together local Central American/Caribbean undergraduate students of physics/mathematics/engeneering, with experts from prestigious astronomical institutions from around the world. During each of the editions, we expect to cover a wide range of modern topics of astrophysics in order to motivate the students to pursue major degrees in astronomy elsewhere. We hope that this school will contribute to create a critical mass of professional astronomers/astrophysicists in the region along with the conditions needed for research, thus leading to the creation of strong astrophysics departments in the Universities of the region. In the future, after a few editions of GUASA, we hope to be able to include lecturers from the local academic community. As a complementary activity of every edition of GUASA, we also want to organize outreach activities for the general public, such as public lectures followed by observations using small telescopes. These activities we hope, will encourage children and teenagers to get closer to science and to continue their studies aiming for superior education.