18.04.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

“Astro Ballet”: UNESCO celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first manned space mission

Rights reservedYuri Alexeevich Gagarin

UNESCO will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s space travel on April 21st with three events: a round table with famous astronauts and space explorers, the “Star Race” – World Space Contest award Ceremony, and the “Astro Ballet” show at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris (France).

The celebrations will start at 3 p.m. with the International Forum on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space for Science, Education and Culture (Room X). Russian cosmonaut and the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second human being to set foot on the moon, are amongst the participants, which include other famous astronauts, space explorers, scientists, historians and decision-makers from various countries.

The Forum will explore and discuss how space travel’s scientific and technological advances have also benefited humanity and helped to progress in areas such as fighting against climate change or the preservation of natural and cultural heritage. A press briefing will take place from 6pm to 6.30 pm in the lobby of Room X.              

The awards ceremony for winners of the World Space Contest “Star Race” in Room I will start at 7pm. This contest was launched in December 2010 by the Russian Federal Agency Rossotrudnichestvo to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s space mission. More than 80,000 teenagers entered the competition, with essays and drawings on space related topics. The 20 finalists are from Armenia, France, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan. The winner will travel to Baikonur Cosmodrome to attend a spaceship launching.  

“Astro Ballet”, the one-hour long performance that blends sounds from outer-space with classical and traditional music as well as multimedia effects, pictures and videos, will follow the award Ceremony also in Room I. “Astro Ballet” is a show based upon a composition of NASA researcher Andrew M. Kaiser and the choreography of former Bolshoi ballerina, Natalia Guslistaya.  

During the day guests and the public can also attend the exhibition “Reaching the Stars” (Foyer, outside Room I), which has been set up to mark the occasion. The Russian Space Agency, NASA, the European Space Agency, the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute, museums and other institutions have contributed to the exhibition with pictures, video footage and space-related items, like space hardware and other objects. The exhibition will remain open until 25 April.              

The events are organized by UNESCO, the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation to UNESCO and the Melody for Dialogue among Civilizations Association.


Journalists wishing to cover this event require an invitation from the media relations section. Contact: Djibril Kebe. Tel : + 33 (0) 145681741. d.kebe(at)unesco.org

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