Kevin Govender

Kevin began work at the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in 2011 as its first Director, and has since led the establishment of eleven regional offices around the world. During his previous position as the Manager of the Southern African Large Telescope’s Collateral Benefits Programme at the South African Astronomical Observatory he worked extensively, especially within the African continent, in the area of “astronomy for development”, including a focused effort to stimulate the local economy of Sutherland through astro-tourism. In 2007 he was part of a small IAU delegation that successfully lobbied the United Nations to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). He chaired the “Developing Astronomy Globally” Cornerstone Project of IYA2009 and was involved in the development of the 2010-2020 IAU Strategic Plan, a visionary document mapping out a decadal strategy to use astronomy to stimulate global development, and contributed to the subsequent 2020-2030 strategic plan. Kevin has served the South African education and outreach community in various roles such as Chair of Scifest Africa’s Advisory Committee, board member of the Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres, member of the Quest Editorial Board and STEM Committee of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Internationally he has served on the IAU’s Executive Committee Working Group on IYA2009, member of the EPO Advisory Council of Associated Universities Inc, the OECD Expert Group on the Socio-Economic Impact of Research Infrastructures, and member of the Board of Astronomers Without Borders. He was a key facilitator in the establishment of the African Astronomical Society and remains an advisor to their Executive Committee. Coming from an experimental nuclear physics background and with experience from many community development initiatives in post-apartheid South Africa, Kevin was previously named one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans, and received the National Science and Technology Forum’s Science Communicator award in 2011. In March 2016 Kevin was jointly awarded the Edinburgh Medal, together with the IAU, for “the creation and practical establishment of the Office of Astronomy for Development, which integrates the pursuit of scientific knowledge with social development for and with those most in need”