The innovative and imaginative team behind the organisation of the event has been coming up with novel ways to enhance the networking (both in person and online) that is so essential for strong research collaborations. Recognising each other first as human beings, and embedding the African spirit of collaboration within all our interactions, we hope to ensure that an environment is created like no other to enhance scientific research collaborations and networking, whether at the conference venue itself, or any of the many visitor-friendly locations around Cape Town, or in the virtual spaces for all participants to engage in. The IAU General Assembly will also include “unconference sessions” which will allow for talks to be proposed and voted upon at the event itself. Practically it would mean that anyone attending the IAU GA (in person or online) will be able to propose a talk, workshop or discussion session and all the other attendees will have an opportunity to vote for their favourites. The proposals with the highest votes will be given a space in the venue to present their talk/workshop/discussion session. This means that any gaps in topics can be proposed, as well as new scientific developments that may have taken place since the submission of abstracts closed. Unconference sessions are an excellent way for participants to take to a stage and present any work/topic that is new and/or of interest to the other participants.


In everything we do towards the organisation of this meeting, we ensure that there is as much local economic development as possible. This ranges from using local small businesses as suppliers to engaging communities that can provide goods or services directly to the delegates to turning the conference venue into a potential art gallery or market for limited periods during the conference. It is a principle of stimulating the local economy through conference attendance. Every person who attends the conference physically will be contributing to our ambition of supporting the local economy.


Astronomy is a field that captures the imagination of people everywhere. With hundreds of astronomers descending onto the African continent, we want to ensure that there are opportunities for them to engage with schools and the general public about their science and potentially leave a lasting impact on the communities they visit. Our education and outreach team have a network of potential hosts across the continent who would be grateful to have conference attendees deliver talks or engage with children and the general public in their regions. Visit our Outreach and Education page for more information.


In a world where Africa has been historically looked down upon as a continent defined by suffering and a constant need for aid, we hope to demonstrate to the world the immense potential of the African people to rise above its very real challenges and contribute to the human endeavour. Astronomy is a field that challenges human capability as we try to understand the universe. It is arguably one of the hardest of all sciences and has historically been the field that captures the collective imagination of humanity. By showing to the world that Africa can play a significant role in this field – that Africa can contribute, on par with any other region, to the furthering of human knowledge – maybe, just maybe, we will be able to change the way the world sees Africa, and open up our future for greater connection and collaboration.