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  • Jean Michel Jarre acts as Master of Ceremonies for the Global Launch of the International Year of Astronomy (2009)

    10-05-2009 2:25 pm Mr Jean Michel Jarre, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, served as Master of Ceremonies the Global Launch ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy(2009), which took place at UNESCO Headquarters on 15 and 16 January.Mr Jean Michel Jarre during the ceremony.jpg

    The Year, a joint initiative of UNESCO and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which was proclaimed through Resolution 62/200 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2007, has the ultimate aim of encouraging citizens of the world, especially young people, to rediscover the universe in which we live and to promote widespread access to the basic sciences and to increase scientific literacy, especially among youth. The Year also aims to promote the role of women in astronomy and the sciences and help developing countries strengthen their capacity in the astronomical sciences.

    Also participating in the Global launch opening ceremony were Mrs Catherine Cesarsky, President of the IAU, Mr Reynald Seznec President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, and Mr Giuseppe Pizza, Vice-Minister for Education, Universities and Scientific Research of Italy.

    In his opening address, Mr Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, began by noting that “the celebration of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) is the culmination of the vision and hard work of many partners.” He continued by paying tribute to the IAU, whose leadership had been instrumental in making this vision a reality.

    He highlighted that the Year provides us with a fantastic opportunity to expand the knowledge and understanding of the universe, its stars and planets, and their link to and impact on our daily life, and enable all people to explore the wonders of the universe and appreciate the benefits of its study for society

    There are quite a few events taking place throughout the Year, notably the eleven cornerstone projects. These projects are comprised by such events as the worldwide observation of “100 Hours of Astronomy”, a round-the-clock awareness-raising event spanning all the continents and scheduled to take place from 2 to 5 April, and the “Dark Skies Awareness” project, which aims to preserve and protect dark night skies in places such as urban cultural landscapes, national parks and sites connected with astronomical observations.

    Mr Matsuura highlighted UNESCO's thematic initiative, “Astronomy and World Heritage”, whose main objective is to establish a link between science and culture and acknowledging the cultural and scientific values of properties connected with astronomy. The Director-General ended his intervention by underscoring that the sky belonged to all of mankind, regardless of beliefs and religions and was therefore a tool for peace and understanding among the peoples of the Earth.

    Photo (© UNESCO/M Ravassard) :Mr Jean Michel Jarre during the ceremony of the launching of the Year of Astronomy.

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    Actualizado :11-05-2009 12:54 pm