Astronomy for Peace and Global Citizenship in Cyprus
30 April 2019
Bi-communal astronomy activities in Cyprus as part of the Columba-Hypatia: Astronomy for Peace project.
Credit: Columba-Hypatia: Astronomy for Peace
The Columba-Hypatia: Astronomy for Peace project takes place on the divided island of Cyprus and aims to inspire children to be curious about science and the cosmos, while promoting a feeling of global citizenship and a culture of Peace and non-Violence. IAU100 is supporting the activities of the project in 2019 as well as actions to to expand the “Astronomy for Peace” theme globally.
In 2017, the project was supported by the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and brought together children from the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities, to learn about our place in the Universe, and about each other, thus breaking down barriers and stereotypes, while building bridges between the two communities. The successful implementation of the project revealed the huge potential of astronomy in supporting diplomacy and peace. The OAD has now selected ‘Science diplomacy through astronomy’ as one of the flagship themes in its 2019 call for proposals.
In 2019, the project will continue its peace-building activities in Cyprus through educational astronomy initiatives in schools around the island, as well as by bringing together children from the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot community in the United Nations buffer zone to learn about astronomy and each other.
Another aspect of the project will be reaching out to global partners in post-conflict regions, who are interested in implementing “astronomy for peace” projects, providing them with materials (in the form of a guidelines) and support (both online and through a hands-on workshop which will take place during the IIPE conference in Cyprus) to promote the use of astronomy for peace and diplomacy on a global scale.
The initiative is a joint astronomy outreach project run by GalileoMobile and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR). GalileoMobile is a non-profit, itinerant, science education initiative that brings modern astronomy closer to young people around the world, with emphasis in regions that have little access to other outreach actions. The initiative was created in late 2008 inspired by the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009). AHDR is an intercommunal organisation based in Cyprus whose mission is to contribute to the advancement of historical understanding amongst the public and more specifically children, youth and educators, by providing access to learning opportunities for individuals of every ability and every ethnic, religious, cultural and social background.
Students from both the north and the south of the island of Cyprus come together in the buffer zone of the Cyprus capital.