Astronomers, researchers, representatives from government and research institutions will gather in Cape Town next week for the Astronomy in Africa Business Meeting. It will bring together the key players in astronomy from around Africa to discuss strategic, policy, and governance issues related to the field as well as chart a course for the future of astronomy on the continent.
Over two days, on March 25-26, 2019, participants will deliberate on major issues such as relaunching the African Astronomical Society (AfAS) and working together to develop astronomy in Africa. Around 80 participants from 20 countries will be present in person at the meeting. All relevant stakeholders and interested parties are invited to contribute to the meeting by providing input on the constitution and expectations for the African Astronomical Society. More details on how to contribute is available here.
This meeting is of particular significance given the growing stature of astronomy on the continent. Several countries have research facilities and astronomy observatories and at least 35 countries in Africa have research astronomers/ geophysicists. Massive, international projects such as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) and African VLBI Network will soon have African countries and scientists leading cutting edge research. These are complemented by capacity building efforts training young Africans in astronomy, math and related fields, such as the DARA Newton Fund program.
Scientific expertise and committment in African astronomy was also recently recognized on the international stage when Cape Town, South Africa was chosen to host the biggest conference in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union’s General Assembly (IAU GA), in 2024. This will be the first time that the GA is hosted in Africa since the founding of the IAU in 1919.
In addition to the business meeting, an informal day of dicussions and networking will be held on March 24. This joint event of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) will bring together the space and astronomy communities to explore common ground and leverage each other’s strengths. More information here.
The meeting is sponsored by the South African Department of Science and Technology and organized by the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development. It is hosted by the South African Astronomical Obsevatory in Cape Town.
Program is available here.
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