Astronomy for a Better World: IAU OAD Task Force-1 Programs for Advancing Astronomy Education and Research in Universities in Developing Countries
We discuss the IAU Commission 46 and Office for Astronomy Development (OAD) programs that support advancing Astronomy education and research primarily in universities in developing countries. The bulk of these operational activities will be coordinated through the
OAD’s newly installed Task Force 1. We outline current (and future) IAU/OAD Task Force-1 programs that promote the development of University-level Astronomy at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Among current programs discussed are the past and future expanded activities of the International School for Young Astronomers (ISYA) and the Teaching Astronomy for Development (TAD) programs. The primary role of the ISYA program is the organization
of a three week School for students for typically M.Sc. and Ph.D students. The ISYA is a very successful program that will now be offered more frequently through the generous support of the Kavli Foundation. The IAU/TAD program provides aid and resources for the development of
teaching, education and research in Astronomy. The TAD program is dedicated to assist countries that have little or no astronomical activity, but that wish to develop or enhance Astronomy education. Over the last ten years, the ISYA and TAD programs have supported programs in Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, South East and West Asia, and South America. Several examples are given. Several new programs being considered by OAD Task Force-1 are also discussed. Other possible
programs being considered are the introduction of modular Astronomy courses into the university curricula (or improve present courses) as well as providing access to “remote learning” courses and Virtual Astronomy labs in developing countries. Another possible new program would support visits of astronomers from technically advanced countries to spend their sabbatical leaves teaching and advising University Astronomy programs in developing countries. Suggestions for new Task Force-1 programs are also welcomed. Useful information about the participation of IAU members and volunteers in these programs will be discussed and practical information will be provided.