Towards the UN SDGs: Sustainable Astronomy Tourism For Sustainable Development

Moderator: Peter Ndoro, Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Panelist: Prof Phil Diamond SKA

Panelist: Ms Anja Fourie, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory

Panelist: Mr Kevin Govender , Office of Astronomy for Development

Panelist: Dr David Morris, McGregor Museum

South Africa has strategic advantages in astronomy that can be leveraged for public relations and tourism for the country, including a rich history of cultural astronomy, world-class astronomy instruments hosted within its borders, and protected geographic areas for research in astronomy.

Sustainable astronomy tourism has the potential to contribute to the eradication of poverty and sustainable development in South Africa, particularly in the Northern Cape, where innovative astronomy tourism products built on the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Radio Telescope, can provide employment and reduce the province’s official unemployment rate of 30,5% (June 2017).

This session aims to ignite conversations about how astronomy can strengthen the South Africa brand and tourism; who should drive astronomy tourism in South Africa; how South Africa can learn from best practice in sustainable tourism and leap-frog the implementation process; and what the main priorities should be for authorities to help develop, innovate and implement sustainable astronomy tourism in South Africa.

Peter Ndoro, Broadcast Media, Multimedia and Film

Peter Ndoro is a current affairs journalist, producer and anchor for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). With two decades of experience as a broadcaster, and his indepth understanding of pan-African issues, he has become a familiar face and voice in Africa.Peter has worked as a news anchor and producer at the BBC World Service, CNBC Africa, M-Net, SABC Africa and Summit TV.Listeners have also heard his voice on Highveld Stereo, Talk Radio 702 and SAfm. Peter graduated from the University of South Africa with a degree in Accounting and trained as an accountant at Coopers & Lybrand. Prior to entering the broadcast arena, he worked in accounting, advertising, marketing and business management.


Prof. Phil Diamond, SKA

Professor Philip Diamond is the Director-General of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array). He was appointed to this position in October 2012, and is responsible for the global team designing and ultimately constructing the SKA, which, when completed, will be the largest scientific project on Earth.

An astronomer with over three hundred publications, Professor Diamond has worked in research and management positions around the world.  Before his role at SKA, he was the Chief of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (CASS), which operates the major radio astronomy facilities in Australia.  Prior to that, he was Director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, part of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester in the UK.  Today, Jodrell Bank Observatory is the location of the SKA’s global headquarters.

Professor Diamond’s research interests include studies of star birth and death; exploring both through the use of radio interferometers such as MERLIN. He is also interested in high resolution studies of supernovae, both in our own Galaxy and in others. Finally, he also dabbles in studies of discs of molecular gas rotating around super-massive black-holes at the centres of other galaxies.


Ms Anja Fourie, South African Radio Astronomy Observatory

Anja Fourie is Science Engagement Manager of the National Research Foundation’s (NRF) South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), Anja is responsible for the conceptualisation, implementation and evaluation of international and national science engagement activities in order to increase the public awareness, understanding and appreciation of astronomy, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and South Africa’sradio telescope facilities as well as their research, science, technology and innovation outputs. She has 15 years experience in the science engagement sector, which included the turn-key project management of exhibitions, activity zones and visitors’ centres and museumsin Africa and the Middle East, as well as Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, and its various outreach activities.

Mr Kevin Govender , Office of Astronomy for Development

Kevin Govender is Director of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD), a joint project of the IAU and National Research Foundation (NRF) with the support of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). With offices in nine regions around the world, the mission of the Office is to use astronomy, including its practitioners, skills and infrastructures, as a tool for development by mobilising the human and financial resources necessary in order to realise the field’s scientific, technological and cultural benefits to society. Kevin obtained extensive experience in using astronomy for development during his time as Manager: Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) Collateral Benefits Programme at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). He also chaired the Developing Astronomy Globally Cornerstone Project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) and was involved in the development of the IAU Strategic Plan. Kevin is the first South African to be awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for Science, jointly with the IAU.

Dr David Morris, McGregor Museum

Dr David Morris is Head of Archaeology at the McGregor Museum in Kimberley in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province and an Extraordinary Professor in the School of Humanities at Sol Plaatje University also in Kimberley. David’s principal interest is rock art in the Northern Cape, and he is actively involved in developing public archaeology exhibitions and projects, including the Barkly West Museum, Mokala National Park, Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre and Wonderwerk Cave. His publications include research articles in national and international journals, as well as the co-authored book Karoo rock engravings (with John Parkington and Neil Rusch, 2008) and co-editorship of Working with rock art (with Ben Smith and Knut Helskog, 2012).

By | 2017-12-01T09:29:56+00:00 October 9th, 2017|