“Astronomy for a better World”
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the largest body of professional astronomers in the world and has set up the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). The OAD was officially opened on 16th April 2011 at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. Since then nine regional offices have been established in Armenia, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Jordan, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand and Zambia.
The mission of the OAD is to help further the use of astronomy as a tool for development by mobilizing the human and financial resources necessary in order to realize the field’s scientific, technological and cultural benefits to society.
Regional Nodes and Language Expertise Centres are offices based around the world with similar objectives as the OAD but with regional focus. These offices work closely with the OAD in order to implement the IAU Strategic Plan. “Regions” which they focus on could be geographical (neighbouring countries) or cultural (language or cultural similarities spread over a large geographic region).