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Charles Takalana, Assistant General Secretary
+27 66 479 3374 


Yunus Manjoo, Project Manager
+27 83 326 7695

The Inaugural Annual Conference of the African Astronomical Society (AfAS2021)

Cape Town, South Africa, 26 February 2021—The inaugural annual conference of the African Astronomical Society (AfAS) will take place as a fully virtual event from 8-12 March 2021. The event will focus on the astronomical science emerging from Africa and cultivating collaboration among countries in Africa as well as collaborations between Africa and the rest of the world. The conference will also look at how best to continue to generate interest in astronomy amongst the general public and learners, retaining youth and women in astronomy and strengthening the teaching of astronomy and related sciences.

The Conference aims to bring together at least 200 participants virtually from various institutions and networks conducting research in the field of astronomy primarily on the African continent. It will be a digital event hosted by AfAS from South Africa. The conference also aims to attract potential industry partners, representatives of Government, policymakers, Inter-governmental, and other international partners from across Africa and the Diaspora.

The AfAS2021 conference is the first meeting of the community since the Astronomy in Africa business meeting, which was held in Cape Town at the South African Astronomical Observatory on 25-26 March 2019 when AfAS was relaunched. The meeting was attended by around 80 participants from 20 nations including astronomers, public stakeholders, and research organizations. The South African government agreed to host the Secretariat of AfAS in South Africa for three years commencing 2020/21 and AfAS is currently run as a not-for-profit company. The initial plan was for the inaugural Annual AfAS Conference to be held in Cape Town in March 2020, this was subsequently postponed to 2021 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented all travel and personal contact. The meeting will now take place virtually over five days with two days of Science talks, two days of Outreach, Education & Development talks, and one day for the AfAS Business focus meeting and digital networking sessions.

Registration for the conference is free and open to astronomers from Africa and the rest of the world, and there will be several keynote speakers who are internationally recognised as well as a message from the South African Department of Science and Innovation. 

More registration information is available at www.africanastronomicalsociety.org/afas2021; the conference programme will be made public on the website as soon as it is finalised.

The African Astronomical Society (AfAS) is a Pan African organization for all astronomers and aims to actively promote and advance astronomy and associated activities including skills and infrastructure development, across the continent. AfAS is presently mostly funded by the South African Department of Science and Innovation. The Secretariat of AfAS is based at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) which is located in Cape Town.