AWB BLM Statement

 

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By Johannes Stübler

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In some respects yes, in some no.

Without doubt, Global Astronomy Month (GAM) is one of the biggest and most successful follow-up events of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009 (IYA2009). It has grown from 100 hours of astronomy during 2009 to 30 days of worldwide astronomy celebration every year!

GAM started in 2010 with big enthusiasm by the same people running one of the IYA2009 flagship programs, which was called “100 Hours of Astronomy.“  It was driven by the wish to create a sustainable follow-up, beyond the great IYA2009. Most people were very sad, when the International Year of Astronomy was over. Many good ideas and programs came into existence during this period.  People who have been involved wanted to continue these ideas and programs, sometimes with the ambitious goal to develop more from it. All of these individualists and enthusiasts, who helped bring the International Year of Astronomy to its big success, cherished the hope to hold the spirit of IYA alive for the future.

During IYA, a lot of good cooperation started between professional and amateur astronomers. They all, around the globe, had the goal to tell as many people as possible about the wonders of our universe and what the science of astronomy is doing and about its big impact to our societies and to all of us.

Today, public outreach is a successful fixed component in science educational work.  Today, it's business as usual. The initial excitement, the spirit of optimism ebbed away. The idea to change the world, to make a kind of better world, faded more and more and the sometimes cruel reality of world events seems to prevail.

Instead of breaking down frontiers there is today in many places of the world, a new bad spirit to make new borders, new walls, new isolation. So GAM failed to take a turn for the better. But, that's not the fault of the idea of GAM - it's the fault of all of us. We all have to intensify our efforts to spread the word of AWB's message “One People, One Sky,“ and also the spirit and the power of AWB's mission statement - that is to say, to foster understanding and goodwill across national and cultural boundaries, by creating relationships through the universal appeal of astronomy. Astronomers Without Borders' projects promote sharing. Sharing resources, sharing knowledge and sharing inspiration. All through a common interest in something basic and universal. Sharing the sky.

To celebrate 10 years of GAM, I am again taking a long distance trip with my car, similar to my first GAM-trip 2010 to Turkey, Syria and Jordan. My planned road trip during GAM2019 leads me to Iran. It's my personal attempt to point the way, to light a beacon of hope, to cherish the unshakable, on the idea of a world without borders, to keep alive the idea and message of “One People, One Sky“. Not only am I saying this, but I am taking this message, crossing borders, breaking down frontiers, old ones and new ones. It's again a journey back to the cradles of science and astronomy and a kind of courtsey to the historic achievements coming from the middle east and which have inseminated the rest of the science world,

Today, during Global Astronomy Month, good projects like the StarPeace-Project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/StarPeace_Project), which has it's roots during IYA2009 in Iran, should be revitalized in the hope of a peaceful future.

To my way of thinking, the everlasting, valid and true slogan, “One People, One Sky,“  is much more than a slogan, it's our key to the future. It's a mission, it's a philosophy, it's worth to be lived – every day!

Everytime and everywhere we have to inspire young people, they hold our future in their hands. So each Global Astronomy Month affords a big opportunity to do this.

With this in mind: “A cheer for the next 10 years of GAM!“

 

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Joe giving a lecture at the Arts Electronica Center

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Jerry and me

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Jerry Bonnell and Joe

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Joe at the IAU General Assembly 2018 in Vienna

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Mike Simmons and Joe at Kepler's home in Linz

 

Johannes Stübler resides in Linz, Austria, known as "Keplertown-Linz," named after the famous astronomers Johannes Kepler, who also lived and worked in Linz (1612-1626).
Johannes is a dedicated amateur astronomer who spent more than 35 years networking with both amateur and professional astronomers around the world. He is devoted to Astronomers Without Borders' mission statement and and tries to live the mission in his daily astronomical work and life.

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Learn more about Johannes here
Read Johannes' Member Reports here

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