December 26, 2019 0

“It needs to be fun and interesting” – Francesca Fragkoudi, Columba-Hypatia:Astronomy for Peace


So I think what is key for engaging people in science topics is that first of all needs to be fun and interesting I’ve worked a lot with children and their you need to grab their attention And keep it And also, I think it’s very useful if you connect it to them somehow So if you tell them how it’s important for them for their life for their future Etc So I was part of a astronomy outreach initiative called Galileo mobile and I participated in a project with them where I went to some rural villages in Peru and remote locations in the Andes and what we what I saw there was how Powerful astronomy was in bringing people together. So people I had never met before that We didn’t have much in common from a cultural point of view, but this is kind of curiosity about the sky Brought us together and helped us create quite strong bonds so I thought While astronomy is really powerful and bringing people together and I wanted to implement such a thing also in Cyprus where we have a divide Between people so I thought it would be amazing to use science and astronomy to bring people together What surprised me the most was how well it worked so I didn’t expect I Didn’t I mean I course I knew that okay astronomy is it’s a really powerful tool there was the whole basis of the concept, but what was really him moving and surprising was when we started the project to see just how engaged the children were how interested they were and then how after this first experience of kind of dipping their toe in astronomy and getting this globe of this feeling of global citizenship how that then I think helped them also to engage more with the other group and that opened their I’d say their minds and their hearts and made them more receptive more having more empathy and Really? It was just so easy to get children interacting with children from the other community and playing together and learning about astronomy together So I had some fear in the beginning of the project that it would not be so easy this interaction But in the end it was actually just very easy and went very smoothly and the children were even saying at the end of the day How they had learned that they were so similar and how they had large that they could get along and it was just the best Positive reaction that we could have expected. So that was I was happy, but it was also surprising that it worked so well Like I said, I Hoped that it would work but I was I was how well it worked and how easily it worked was a bit unexpected I mean to that look to that degree But what turned out the way I expected Well, I was happy to see that people enjoyed the project and and engaged with it and Other people that weren’t even participated thought it was an interesting way of Kind of engaging children. So that’s good that that worked that way Um, so what was absolutely essential was the local collaborators that we had in our project without that It would not have been possible. So I think knowing well the context that you’re working in and the relevant stakeholders in your region and The people who can make the project happen because we had the Astronomy know-how but we didn’t necessarily Have the peace education know-how so we joined forces with an NGO that works in Cyprus on this and so that was fundamental inspired Teachers and that helped us to carry out this project that’s participated in the project. They were Fundamental so in general I think people who are engaged and inspired by the project if you have people that are inspired by the project You’re doing and they’re going to commit a lot of time often. A lot of these projects are run on voluntary basis so having people that really think it’s worthwhile, I think it’s fundamental for making it a success and I think yeah, I guess really believing in in the project yourself So what you’re doing? so I I was very passionate about it was something that was obviously very close to my heart because it’s where I’m from and So I think that was very important for putting in all the efforts that it took

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