We are excited to inform you that the third annual conference of the African Astronomical Society (AfAS-2023) will be held from 13 to 17 March 2023. The conference will be organised as a hybrid meeting (online and in-person) in collaboration with the Wits Centre for Astrophysics. The physical venue is the Wits Origins Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The maximum number of in-person attendees at the venue is 100 (hundred), and the rest will join virtually.
THE 2023 AFAS CONFERENCE AND BUSINESS MEETING: AFAS-2023
In line with the objectives of AfAS and its science strategy, the third AfAS annual conference will be held from 13 – 17 March 2022. The conference will again focus on the science, outreach, communication, and education activities emanating from Astronomy in Africa. It will seek to enhance further collaborations among countries in Africa and the rest of the world. It will also focus on the status of astronomy infrastructure, the International Astronomical Union General Assembly taking place in Cape Town in 2024 (IAU-GA2024), AfAS and IAU-GA2024 flagship projects, astronomy for development, and initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining youth in astronomy and strengthening existing activities in the field. The conference will be organised with the involvement of all the AfAS committees and partner projects (the African Planetarium Association (APA), the African Science Stars Publication (ASSAP), the African-European Radio Astronomy Platform (AERAP), and the Office of Astronomy for Development (IAU-OAD).
The AfAS Business Meeting (BM) will be held at the annual conference on 17 March 2022. This will be the first BM of the current Executive Committee and will provide an opportunity for the AfAS Executive to update the community on the general status of AfAS. The Executive Committee will also provide an update on a review of the Constitution by a Task Team as agreed at the GA in March 2022. Any proposed constitutional changes will be presented for approval to the GA in March 2025. The Membership Committee will also use this meeting to update the community on introducing membership fees within the next 2 years and suggested benefits to members. The introduction of a registration fee for future annual conferences will also be tabled.
- Share astronomy research from across Africa and promote dialogues, critical conversations, and debates around research topics.
- Foster collaborations between the African Astronomy Community and the rest of the world
- Showcase recent developments in Astronomy in African countries.
- Provide a platform for policymakers, funders, researchers, outreach officers, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, concerns, challenges encountered, and solutions adopted.
- Provide a platform for deliberations on strategies and policies, including the establishment and roll-out of astronomy schools, flagship projects, etc.
- Discuss continental, regional, and national plans leading to the IAU General Assembly in 2024, Vision 2024, and the envisaged legacy thereafter.
- Discussions on membership and conference fees and benefits and acceptance, in principle, for introducing membership fees from April 2024.
- New partnerships and collaborations in the fields of astronomy and related big data research in Africa and internationally
- Increased Awareness of activities in Africa, both by Africans and international collaborators
- Increase in collaborations and better dialogue amongst countries
- Young African researchers inspired to take ownership and drive the development of astronomy in Africa.
- Strategic partnerships for the implementation of AfAS flagship and other projects for the development of Astronomy in Africa and aligned to the goals of the GA2024 and beyond
- Approval of conference and membership fees and benefits
LOCAL ORGANISING COMMITTEE (LOC)
The LOC will be responsible for the general planning and organisation of the annual conference. It will be responsible for the finalisation of the programme. Members of the LOC are members of the AfAS EC as well as members of the AfAS Committees. Members of the LOC are listed below:
- Charles Takalana (Chair) – AfAS
- Yunus Manjoo (Co-chair) – AfAS
- Duduzile Kubheka – BRICS Astronomy/AfAS
- Nuhaah Solomon – IAU-OAD
- Roger Deane – University of the Witwatersrand
- Contact point from the University of the Witwatersrand
- Chair of the AfAS Science Committee
- Chair of the Outreach and Education Committee
- External Member to be nominated by the Executive Committee
The secretariat administration staff (Mutshidzi Nelwamondo and Lutendo Ramadwa) will support the LOC and SOC.
SCIENTIFIC & OUTREACH/EDUCATION ORGANISING COMMITTEE
This Committee will be co-chaired by the Chairs or a delegated member of the Science and Outreach & Education Committees of AfAS. It will be responsible for selecting the talks for both the Scientific and Outreach/Education programmes.
- Co-Chair: TBA
- Co-Chair: TBA
- A maximum of 6 other members are to be co-opted by the co-chairs
13 – 17 March 2023
The conference will be hybrid (online and physical), with the physical venue being the Wits Origins Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. The proposed format for the conference is listed below:
- Day 1: (i) Short address by specially invited guests who represent the major stakeholders of AfAS 3 keynote talks on major topics/flagship projects
(ii) Science talks
- Day 2: Science, Education, Development, and Outreach Talks
- Day 3: Science, Education, Development, and Outreach Talks
- Day 4. Workshops, Science, Education, Development, and Outreach Talks
- Day 5: AfAS Business Meeting, networking sessions, and Hackathon
The keynote plenary talks will take place in the mornings, followed by parallel sessions, which are more thematic. The Science, Education, Development, and Outreach sessions will include a variety of primarily invited talks and contributed posters. Interactive networking sessions, including the Hackathon and Workshops, will promote discussions, stimulate conversations, and provide a platform for sharing knowledge and best practices.
The in-person venue will be the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits Origins Centre). The Wits Origins Centre will also serve as the host for the Control Centre for the virtual platform. The virtual platform will be contracted to an external service provider. It is envisaged that 100 delegates will attend the event in person.