Forum: African Astronomical Society
Discussion around the establishment of an African Astronomical SocietyBack to Forum List >> Back to Topic List
From Omar
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Dear Dr. Kevin
I'll join your group during the skype conference at Friday 24 /9/2001 at 16:00 UT
to share with you our experience in the field of Astronomy education and Astronomical activities at the Planetarium science Center.
Thank you

Omar Fikry, Ph.D.
Head of Planetarium Section
Planetarium Science Center
Bibleothica Alexandrina
From Khalil
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Hi Kevin,

Sorry I can't make it for the Skype conf. However I'll contribute in the emergence of the AfAS.
Could I suggest to use the MEARIM conference as an opportunity to gather representatives of each African country and organise the founding Assembly of the AfAS? This requires that you devote a special day for that and alot of preparation from all of us under the coordination of a provisional committee.

The question of funding is much important. There must be membership fees but institutions such as the African Union should be sought for to provide a permanent fund to the AfAS, i.e. all african countries should contribute through this channel.

The most important is the spirit of the AfAS: I have witnessed the birth of so many societies that remined sterile because of politics and non spoken objectives of its founders: this should be cured from the beginning if one wants to assure a successful, productive and a life long society.

As to the white paper it needs polishing and a by law section should be developed.

We must be all grateful to Prof Okeke for his initiative.

Best regards


Dr Khalil Chamcham
Beecroft Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology
Astrophysics Department
University of Oxford
From Solomon
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Dear Prof. Pius Okeke,

First of all I appreciate the initiative of Prof. Pius Okeke and his team for the establishment of African Astronomical Society (AfAS).

I have taken a look at the proposed document that you have developed. Based on your document here I have addressed some of my comments and suggestions to be included into the proposal for further development.

1. I recommend that the document shall indicate a follow up By-Laws and Working rules of the society. I hope that the up coming by-laws and working rules bears the general article like: name of the society, Logo, Status, Scope, Objectives, Head quarter of the Society, Membership, Administrative bodies and divisions, Financial affairs, future prospective, so on. Here it is my believe that you may also communicate us for the draft by-laws and working rules you prepare in the future.
2. The document didn’t clearly state the scope, Logo, Head quarter and Status of the society. I recommend that you include the clear scope, Logo, status and objectives of the society into the upcoming by-laws by dividing it into different articles.
3. Since the proposed society is AfAS, then it will be better to involve African Union and African Science and Technology commission to facilitate the process easily and to get strong support from African governments. Also, I suggest that Head quarter of the society shall be at the capital city of AU to make the society stronger in finance and capacity.
4. I didn’t see the different categories of membership type. I hope that you include memberships like

National members, Full members, Associate members, Fellows Members, Honorary members, Emeritus members

5. I hope that Officers and Committee, election of committee and terms of committee and the General assembly shall be included into by-laws in detail.
6. Duties and responsibilities of Officers, Members Executive committee and Sub-committee shall be included into By-laws in detail in separate article
7. Responsibility and accountability of individual members, National Members and so on shall be included in the up coming by-laws
8. I didn’t see admission fee and annual fee, method of payment and in general financial transaction. I hope you will include into By-laws and working rules
9. In the administrative structure I believe that Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Editor shall be included.

I am looking forward to see detail By-Laws and Working rules for the establishement of African Astronomical Society (AfAS) soon.


Solomon Belay (PhD)

Ethiopian Space Science Society (ESSS) Board Member,

Education, Research and Outreach programe Coordinator,

ESSS, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Meeting at MEARIM
Posted Saturday, 25 September 2010 By Case Rijsdijk
Hi Kevin,

I agree with Khalil. I think the best plan is for as many individuals from as many African countries attend MEARIM-2, put aside some time there and start to set up the AfAS (or African Institute of Astronomy, AIA). I also firmly believe that a top-down approach will work better - even if initially only 3/4 countries start AfAS, it will grow. If you wait till countries have set-up their own organizations AfAS will never take off. Ouagadougou is too soon, but a great time to start seriously putting some ideas together and present them at MEARIM-2

From Abiy
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Hi all,

While it is a great idea to have a continental astronomical society for various reasons, I feel it is very very important to give a good thought, and also consult with concerned body in the continent before establishing it .

First of all this society is standing for the entire continent and hence I don't see any particular reason why it should be a business of very small number of people while the majority of the people don't know about it. I would recommend that the people the society is going to stand for should be given all the opportunity to discuss the matter well. There are very important institution in the continent which should have been consulted from the very inception of the process. This includes the South African Astronomical Observatory. Being from that institution, I can witness that maybe people just came to know about the entire issue let alone contributing towards it.

Second, we all should remember that astronomy in the continent is still in its infancy and only in the last couple of years astronomy stars to reach out to different part of the continent. This process is already starting to materalize and different regional societies are in the process of formation. If once these regional societies stand strong, maybe the the need of formation a bigger society that can represent Africa in international level would make more sense.

Otherwise, a society that is going to form without consulting different stakeholders in the continent and without waiting the right natural timing, could easily fail and reflect a bad picture about Africa.

Therefore, one option I would suggest is, while it is important to bring up and discuss the entire issue in the Ouagadougou, launching it might not be wise idea.

Best regards,

From Legesse
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Dear Kevin,

The establishment of AFAS will be a monument to Africa and it is in line with the IAU Strategic Plan for 2010-2020. AFAS will greatly help some of us struggling to get the basic knowledge of astronomy to the remote parts of Africa such as Ethiopia.

Legesse Kebede (PhD)
Addis Ababa University
From Keith
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Dear Kevin,

I fully support the founding of an African Astronomy Society. It is routine amongst such professional entities to have some minimum floor qualification, which he proposes be (1) an M.Sc & (2) active in research.

I would like to propose an amendment. To provide for some further category / s of membership that would enable existing societies such as ASSA to in some way affiliate.

Common terminology in these cases is to call professional astronomers
FELLOWS of AfAS, while amateurs, & other supporters & patrons of Astronomy could be called members.

Another option is to term professional astronomers MEMBERS, & the others
associate members,
student members,
affiliate members.

My motivation is that with our continent's limited resources, it will be optimal to not duplicate, but have one secretariat serving all,
Please pass my proposal to those concerned. I do not have access to skype etc.

with warmest regards, Keith.
From Ed
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Dear Kevin,
There are many exciting developments in Astronomy going on
in Africa. If you do not mind I will skype-in on Friday from

All my best (and best wishes to the AfAS)
Ed Guinan
From Peter
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
I strongly support this proposal. It would-be greets if it could provide a vehicle for networking between former NASSP graduates.

Sent from my iPad

Professor Peter KS Dunsby,

Director, National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme
and Co-Director, Centre for Astrophysics, Cosmology and Gravitation

Cosmology and Gravity Group
Department of Mathematics
and Applied Mathematics,
University of Cape Town,
Rondebosch 7701

Tel: +27 21 650 2344
10 year strategies
Posted Friday, 24 September 2010 By kg
Quick thought is that should the African Astronomical Society be established with everyone's buy-in then it should naturally adopt two important documents into its strategy, one being the IAU decadal strategy ( and the other being the 10 year plan for Africa (
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