Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden hosts Space Education International Workshop

More than 100 teachers, educators and policymakers from 25 countries gathered in Leiden from 18 October for the Space Education International Workshop. Their goal is to inspire children using astronomy and space sciences.


The workshop is organised by the European Space Agency (ESA), the European project Space Awareness and Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP). From 18-22 October 2016, it aims to explore best practices and innovative uses of astronomy and space sciences for education. Dhe workshop participants will discuss the use of inspirational education material, the introduction of space related careers from a young age and evaluating the impact of exposing children to motivational astronomy activities. The workshop will include keynote speakers, presentations, discussions, and practical workshops.


On 18 October 2016 the workshop was opened by George Miley, professor in astronomy and founding father of Universe Awareness (UNAWE). This educational programme aims to inspire young children around the world with astronomy, science and technology. UNAWE celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and released a new video for this occasion.

This video emphasises the mission of using astronomy for education: to motivate children to be aware of our world and universe and contribute towards global citizenship and protection of our own planet, Earth.

George Miley

Miley started the Universe Awareness programme with a vision to educate and inspire young children, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. During the last ten years, the Universe Awareness network has grown to a collaboration of more than a thousand educators, reaching almost half a million children in more than sixty countries. According to Miley, ‘When we started Universe Awareness ten years ago, I didn't imagine that so many special people would become involved and that UNAWE would flourish in so many countries throughout the world.’

Public talk

On Friday evening 21 October 2016, ESA’s Senior Science Advisor Mark McCaughrean will give a public talk in the Leiden University academy building about ESA’s latest space missions, like Rosetta, Gaia, Lisa Pathfinder and ExoMars. The talk is open to everyone and free.

Image: Still from Universe Awareness video

Space Awareness uses the wonders of the Universe and excitement of space science to raise the interest of children from eight to eighteen in science and technology and inspire them to become the new generation of space explorers. It offers a range of activities to support the inclusion of space in formal and informal education for teachers in primary and secondary schools, science educators, and science communicators. Space Awareness is an international network with national contacts in 22 countries in Europe and Africa. Its resources are available in eight languages. It’s network is coordinated by Leiden Observatory, Leiden University.

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