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Bangladesh Participates In IYA-2009 Opening Ceremony In Paris

On January 15-16, the opening ceremony of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Delegates from about 136 countries, different organizations, government officials, diplomats, scientists, Nobel laureates, astronauts and notable persons around the world attended the ceremony. The United Nations declared 2009 the International Year of Astronomy to mark the 400th anniversary of the first observation of the sky through a telescope by the eminent Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. This celebration has been jointly arranged by UNESCO and IAU (International Astronomical Union). A two-member delegation from Bangladesh participated in this opening ceremony. The members were Dr. A. R. Khan, President of the Bangladesh Astronomical Society and Mr. F. R. Sarker, General Secretary of the Bangladesh Astronomical Society and Single Point of Contact (SPoC) of IYA2009 for Bangladesh. On January 15, the inauguration program started at 9 a.m. and UNESCO Director-General Mr. Koichiro Matsuura delivered the welcome speech and the keynote paper was read out by Catherine Cesarsky, the President of International Astronomical Union. During this ceremony, scientists from different countries delivered their lectures and showed multimedia presentations on various fields of astronomy including topics such as the evolution of the universe, exoplanets, are we alone?, existence of aliens, paralleled universe, the Big Bang, and black holes. The main theme of this IYA2009 celebration is “The Universe: Yours to Discover” which covers the visions and goals to aim for to engage the general public to take an interest in astronomy and introduce them to planets, stars and other celestial objects through various programs of sky observation around the world.

During the meeting, Dr. A. R. Khan and Mr. F. R. Sarker met with IAU President Ms. Catherine Cesarsky, USA Nobel Prize winner Bob Wilson, IYA2009 International Coordinator Pedro Russo and Chief of Cosmic Diary and Cornerstone Projects Mariana Barrosa. They discussed various issues about the year-long celebration and appraised the plans and programs that would be held in Bangladesh. On the evening of January 16, a captivating musical event was held by Grammy award winner and German musical team Kronos Quartet. IYA officials highly appreciated the activities of the Bangladesh Astronomical Society, especially the inauguration ceremony of IYA2009 in Bangladesh which was held on January 1, 2009 at Enayetpur, Sirajganj. Thousands of people including students, teachers and space enthusiasts were present in that spectacular astronomical event.

Mamun Ahamed Sharif
Office Secretary
  • A partial view of UNESCO Head Quarters in Paris

  • Mr. Kiochiro Matsuura, Director-General UNESCO delivers Welcome Address

  • Mrs. Catherine Cesarsky, President, IAU delivers Inaugural Speech

  • Dr. A. R. Khan and Mr. F.R. Sarker are seen attending the Opening Ceremony of IYA2009

  • Dr. A.R.Khan with Mrs. Catherine Cesarsky, President, IAU

  • F.R. Sarker with Mrs. Cathrine Cesarsky, President, IAU

  • F. R. Sarker is talking with Noble Laurette, Bob Wilson

  • F. R. Sarker with Pedro Russo, the Coordinator of IYA2009

  • UNESCO Head Quarters snapped from top floor of Eiffel Tower

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