First IAU Symposium on Inclusion and Diversity held in Mitaka Campus
3 December 2019
Group photo of delegates for the IAU Symposium 358 on “Astronomy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - a roadmap to action within the framework of the IAU centennial anniversary” at the Mitaka Campus, Japan. Credit: IAU OAO / NAOJ
From 12-15 November 2019, the IAU Symposium 358 on “Astronomy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion - a roadmap to action within the framework of the IAU centennial anniversary” was held at the Mitaka Campus in Japan, welcoming 124 participants from 31 different countries.
Co-organised by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), Japan, and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), South Korea, the IAU symposium aimed to create a people-centred strategy for action to improve diversity in astronomy.
The conference hosted four keynote sessions, 57 talks and 37 posters; four Shared Spaces, one Safe Space and two special sessions dedicated to the conference’s resolutions. The themes addressed focused on Identifying and Addressing a Climate of Inclusivity; Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Gender Equality and Its Intersections, Astronomy for Society — Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Empathy in Communicating Astronomy; Diversity in Research: Identity, Ethnicity and Culture in Research Teams; and Research, Outreach, Education for Inclusion.
Through these activities, the meeting brought together both the IAU community and participants from other fields of expertise to lay grounds for the Mitaka Resolutions on Astronomy for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policies. These resolutions will be followed by a "Roadmap to Action", in alignment with the new IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030 and with specific measures for different organizations (countries, institutes, organizations, individuals) in direct collaboration with the IAU Working Groups dedicated to diversity and inclusion.
As a special satellite event, this IAU meeting also hosted the IAU100 Global Project Inspiring Stars, an IAU exhibition that showcases a broad variety of resources to support inclusiveness. Talks were also given during the conference about the considerations of equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the IAU100 celebrations in 2019.
“We hope that this first IAU symposium on diversity and inclusion in astronomy can direct change in our national astronomy landscape, and give the international research community a proof of concept for the sustainability for these meetings, and more actions to occur,” said Junichi Watanabe, Vice-Director of NAOJ and Vice-President of the IAU.
The symposium’s organisers also sought to move beyond the traditional group photo for this event. The 124 participants together shouted in their own language the word (or words) that meant an action for change for inclusion and diversity. This audio clip can be heard here.
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan / IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach
Jorge Rivero González