ann15048 — Announcement

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11 December 2015
IAU Encourages Astronomy without Borders

In light of the recent tragic events around the world, several countries are increasing their security measures and enforcing restrictive immigration procedures. These restrictions will tighten visa-free travel and, in some cases, affect the issue of entrance visas. The International Astronomical Union ensures its members of its full support during this time so that the freedom of movement of scientists is minimally affected by these new measures.

Whereas the International Astronomical Union does not want to influence the political decisions of any country in terms of its security policy, it is concerned about the potential adverse consequences of these restrictions in terms of the mobility and circulation of its members.

Triggered by these recent measures, the IAU wishes to encourage its members not to refrain from their planned participation in international activities, no matter how inconvenient visa and immigration procedures may now become.

If you encounter any serious difficulties in carrying out travelling for scientific purposes, please contact Piero Benvenuti, IAU General Secretary (, and the Union will do everything in its power to try to overcome the hurdles. Special attention will be given for IAU Symposia, Regional Meetings and International Schools for Young Astronomers that take place in countries particularly affected by the restrictive immigration measures.

The IAU would like to strongly reaffirm its adherence to the ICSU Principle of Universality of Science, which “requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists… and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion.”

The IAU believes that astronomy, the oldest science, can help in promoting peace and tolerance by reminding everybody that we are living under the same starry sky.


Piero Benvenuti
IAU General Secretary
Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 43 25 83 58

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

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