Soheil Salimi


Global Astronomy Month 2013

After GAM2012 and holding some educational astronomy programs at rural regions of Iran, as Executive Director at “Astronomical Society of Pasargad Sky”, I decided to invite other students and people of my community to be a part of motto of AWB “One People, One Sky”

Soheil - GAM lecture

So I tried to establish “Engineers Without Borders-Iran” to promote Peace, Educational Justice, Humanity and Environmental Awareness.

Finally Engineers Without Borders-Iran (EWB-Iran) was founded by supporting of Fasa University. I always talk about the same goals of AWB and EWB-Iran in my lectures and the inflorescence of these goals is in Global Astronomy Month in each April.

“Astronomy shows us our place, and who we are.” dear Mr. Mike Simmons said in his GAM blog.

Regardless of political boundaries, different colors, variety languages, cultures and religions we celebrate Astronomy and Peace in each April (GAM). No matter where we live, we enjoy the sky.

So it’s a good opportunity to fight with Prejudice around the world by participating in GAM programs such as “30 Nights of Star Peace”.

Since hard educational situation for Afghan children who had immigrated to Iran, I decided to hold some educational classes for them. Most of these little angels have to work to support their poverty-stricken parents and tolerate the prejudice behaviors.

Children of Afghan immigrants in Iran suffer from inconsistence policies for educational services. Until recently undocumented Afghan children could not attend formal school. Presently, those attending formal school cannot obtain certifications. (1)

The costs for enrolment in schools even for those refugee children holding Special Identity Cards, was raised by the Iranian government. In general, by increasing the cost of living for Afghans the government tried to justify the deportation and encourage the departure of the rest. Nevertheless, the massive deportation that took place in 2007 and continued through 2008 led to a ‘political and humanitarian crisis’ *-(Davin & Majidi, 2008:16). (1)

I tried to gather Iranian and Afghan children to tell them we have an important thing in common, the same sky. First problem was finding them. Fortunately I found a young Afghan teacher who is holding free classes for Afghan kids in her home. I asked to gather her students. I presented some posters from space and astronomical events to little students after Space Painting Competition. Of course all of them were winner. Many of them were very enthusiastic to know more about the Sun after seeing that by eclipse glasses.

There is a generation of Afghans who have been born and raised in Iran without holding any official document, including birth certificate. Almost all these children have never had access to formal education. (1)

In 2009, the Iranian government and the UNHCR policies made a shift away from the exclusive focus on repatriation toward the improvement of living conditions of Afghan refugee children in Iran (UNCCW, 2010). In September 2009, Afghan refugee families, including undocumented families, who wished to enroll their children in the formal schooling system, were asked by the Iranian government to obtain ‘educational papers’, Barge Amoozeshi. The children who had the papers could then supposedly start school, after paying fees. However, many of Afghan families without legal documentation papers refused to obtain the educational papers in fear of being recognized as illegal migrants by the government and eventually being deported. Some of those who received the educational papers were declined to start schooling by local school managers. At the same time, several NGOs, working with child laborers, were funded by UNICEF to expand their programs and set up primary schools for Afghan refugee children. Additionally, the self-run Afghan schools were given more freedom by the government to operate. However, the undocumented Afghan children are still not allowed to take exams or receive certifications. (1)

When Dr. Dara the agent of “Iran Ministry Of Science , Research And Technology “ came to our university some months ago, I mentioned the bad situation of Afghan children. I hope they do something for them in their laws and policies.

Dark Sky Awareness

Another aspect of the motto ‘One People, One Sky’ is protection of environment .So what does “Environmental Protection” mean?

Environmental protection refers to any activity to maintain or restore the quality of environmental media through preventing the emission of pollutants or reducing the presence of polluting substances in environmental media. (2)

Among all pollutions it seems Light pollution is the most important of them for astronomers.

Light pollution is the artificial brightening of night skies and has negative impacts on wildlife, human health, energy, and safety. (3)

I try to increase the public knowledge about light pollution and its effects on human health and environment. As the Executive Director of GAM2013 at “Astronomical Society of Pasargad Sky” and President of EWB-Iran, I have had some lectures for students and audiences on Dark Sky Awareness.

I have encouraged the students to participate in Globe at Night project. According to Dark Sky Awareness in GAM2013, I’ll have some meetings with mayors of Shiraz, Fasa and Saadat shahr during the April.
Engineers Without Borders Iran

I have presented some amazing photos and movies related to protection of dark sky in my lectures in “International Dark Sky Week”, April 5-11. Most of them were prepared by ‘International Dark Sky Association’ (IDA).I’m so grateful to dear Ms. Amee Hennig “Project Manager of IDA” for sending those valuable resources.


After star parties we have submitted the data of sky on the website of Globe at Night.

I have tried to promote the motto of Astronomers Without Borders in all my efforts during Global Astronomy Month 2013.

One People * One Sky
Engineers Without Borders-Iran


1) Where Do I Belong to? A Critical Assessment of Children with No Identification, Setareh Masoumbeiki




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    About Me

    Soheil Salimi was born on July 5, 1992 in Shiraz . From an early age, he has loved the environment and civil engineering. This great passion for engineering has led to an ambition to choose civil engineering as his major in academic studies. He entered Fasa University and achieved many awards during his undergraduate program such as Top Student of the Year Award in Civil Engineering and also ranked himself as the Excellent Student of Civil Engineering, Class of 2014. Soheil started his MSc. in Environmental Engineering at Shiraz University, Iran; and after awarding "Université Paris-Saclay International...


    Location:Shiraz, Fars
    Iran (Islamic Republic of)