Supporting the use of astronomy as a tool for development in specific region and languages, the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) has established a Portuguese ‘Language Expertise Centre for the OAD’ (LOAD), hosted at Núcleo Interactivo de Astronomia (NUCLIO), in collaboration with the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal. The centre is one of the new coordinating offices announced at the IAU General Assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii on 13 August 2015.

The five new offices will perform two important functions. Regional offices will coordinate astronomy for development activities in nearby countries, whilst language expertise centres will deal with language and/or cultural aspects. Each of the offices will be hosted by a local institution or consortium of institutes and supported in their efforts by regional partners.

OAD New Coordinating Offices Established. Image credit: IAU/F. Char

OAD New Coordinating Offices Established. Image credit: IAU/F. Char

“The office in Portugal will be the first of the OAD’s regional coordination offices to focus exclusively on a particular language. The Portuguese language region is an important global community with a strong connection across several borders – the LOAD will maximise on this in order to realise astronomy-for-development ambitions” says Kevin Govender, director of OAD. The president of NUCLIO adds, “The LOAD will be essential to build bridges between the different stakeholders in the different member countries. Members already committed are very hopeful that this will be a strong partnership that will open a variety of opportunities for country members and a privilege place to exchange best practices. NUCLIO will be the first coordinator and we hope to design an effective road map to help strengthen communication among countries and set the example for other similar initiatives in the future.”

Together with existing offices around the world — the East Asian Regional Office and Chinese Language Expertise Centre in China; the East African Regional Office in Ethiopia; the South East Asian Regional Office in Thailand; and the Southern African Regional Office in Zambia — the OAD now comprises a network of eight regional offices and three language expertise centres looking forward work according to the IAU’s decadal strategic plan — which aims to realise the societal benefits of astronomy.


Press release in English and Portuguese
OAD website:
IAU The Strategic Plan