ann15037 — Announcement

Areg Mickaelian
23 October 2015
IAU inaugurates South West Asian OAD Regional Office in Armenia

On 13 October 2015, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) inaugurated the South West Asian OAD Regional Office at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) in Armenia.

The inauguration ceremony included talks from Radik Martirosyan, President of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia; Piero Benvenuti, IAU General Secretary; and Areg Mickaelian, director of the IAU South West Asian Regional Office. The event was attended by ambassadors and representatives from neighbouring countries, in addition to representatives from cultural, scientific and educational communities in South West Asia.

The establishment of this South West Asian regional node is significant as this part of the continent hosts an array of leading astronomical facilities, such as the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory in Armenia; and the Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory in Georgia. Iran will soon host the Iranian National Observatory, which is currently under construction.

The office in Armenia will utilise these facilities, and many more, to benefit the region at large. The office has already hosted its first workshop — featuring participants from the IAU, IAU OAD and the representatives of regional countries — and organised the first Armenian-Iranian Astronomical Workshop, which led to the discussion of joint scientific projects between the two nations.

This regional office forms part of the IAU’s decadal strategic plan, which aims to realise the global societal benefits of astronomy. Other regional nodes have already been established in China for the East Asian region and Thailand for the South East Asian region. Together with existing offices around the world, the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) now comprises a network of eight regional offices and three language expertise centres.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10 000 professional astronomers from almost 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.

The inauguration of this regional office follows the IAU’s Announcement of Opportunity which remains open to letters of intent and proposals for new regional offices and language expertise centres. For more information on OAD offices and activities, including the Call for Proposals for projects relating to the OAD’s three main focus areas (universities & research, children & schools, and the public), please visit



Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



Areg Mickaelian
Signing of the South West Asian Regional Office