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Ethiopia hosts first IAU office of astronomy

The International Astronomical Union has agreed to set up an office of astronomy in Africa.

FILE: Ethiopia is now host to the first IAU office of astronomy in Africa.

JOHANNESBURG - The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has signed an agreement with partners in Ethiopia to host the first regional office of astronomy in Addis Ababa.

This is the first arm of the organisation to be established on the African continent and forms part of the IAU's strategic plan which aims to drive global education.

Director of IAU office of astronomy for development Kevin Govender says "This is extremely important for Ethiopians and for the East African region because the efforts we've been making for the past several years culminate in the establishment of an office".

"We now have coordinators in Ethiopia that will help to drive activities across the region."

Govender says the office is part of a process to establish co-ordinating centres around the world.

"The objective is to use astronomy to stimulate education and development. The biggest challenge we face today in the world is educating people.

"Education sits at the core of everything, and astronomy is a field that touches on several aspects of society including science, technology and culture.

"What we want to do is use astronomy to stimulate education across the world."