10.11.2016 - Natural Sciences Sector

UNESCO promotes access to science for sustainable development with science centres and science museums

© UNESCO/Sarah Colautti Performance by Science Made Simple in the framework of the PERFORM project

UNESCO underscored the importance of science for sustainable development and the crucial role science centres and science museums play by providing access for all and empowering people through science during the celebration of World Science Day for Peace and Development at the Organization’s headquarters today.

Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the important role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

This year’s theme was “Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums”, which acknowledges the important role that science centres and science museums play in engaging, empowering and communicating science to the public. 

Science centres and museums plays key roles in nurturing the curiosity of women and men, as living laboratories of creativity, catalysing research and solutions to help societies meet challenges,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova in her message for the Day. “Science museums and centres are platforms for dialogue, understanding and resilience. They produce sparks of delight and wonder that inspire all visitors, regardless of age and background, in an experience that brings all women and men together around common values.

Events were organized all around the world in celebration of the Day, notably a series of events organized with partners at UNESCO headquarters. 

A conference entitled “Discover Your World – Celebrate Science Centres and Science Museums Worldwide” illustrated the need to build trust between science and society, to encourage science citizenship, to develop the feeling of public and personal responsibility over science within societies, and to recognize that science is a public good. The event was organized in collaboration with UNESCO’s partners for the Day; the Association of Science Technology Centres (ASTC), the International Council of museums (ICOM), and their regional networks. Meanwhile, a UNESCO Campus, which took place under the theme “Scientific Research Today”, was a great success with more than 200 high school children attending.

The PERFORM (Participatory Engagement with Scientific and Technological Research through Performance) project was presented to 53 UNESCO Permanent Delegations and three shows were performed. PERFORM is an EU-funded project aiming to investigate the potential of innovative science education methods based on performing arts to foster young peoples’ motivations and engagement with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in selected secondary schools in France, Spain and the United Kingdom. The project is managed by UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector. Partners include the NGO’s Théories et Réflexions sur l'Apprendre, la Communication et l'Éducation Scientifiques (TRACES - France), The Big Van Theory (BVT - Spain) and Science Made Simple (SMS - UK) in Europe.

Later in the day, 80 school children enjoyed three of the PERFORM shows. 

Together with its partners – the Association of Science Technology Centres (ASTC), the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and their regional networks – UNESCO organized events at science centres and science museums, as well as various other science organizations and institutions, around the world. This marked the first joint celebration of the World Science Day for Peace and Development with these international networks of science centres and science museums. Henceforth, they will celebrate science together around a common theme each 10 November.

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