IYL2015 Opening Ceremony in Morocco

On February 26th the Opening Ceremony of the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) in Morocco took place in Rabat, at the University of Sciences of Rabat. In addition to the participation of researchers, students, institutional partners and journalists, the main audience of this ceremony was children and teenagers, largely represented by student associations, astronomy clubs and UNESCO’s associated schools, amounting to a total of 300 attendees.

Attendees of the IYL 2015 Moroccan Opening Ceremony
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Attendees of the IYL 2015 Moroccan Opening Ceremony

The ceremony presented the Moroccan events celebrating IYL 2015 and was comprised of a number of lectures offering different viewpoints on the role and impact of light in our lives.

The Opening Ceremony is one of the starting points for a series of events taking place all over Morocco during this year. The events programme is very rich and varied and includes a number of activities that benefit schools. These activities include: conferences, scientific coffees, days dedicated to light and light-based technologies, and pedagogic workshops on “Ibn Al-Haytham’s Camera Obscura,” and optics. In addition to the aforementioned events, the “Dark Skies Rangers” programme of the “Globe at Night” campaign - an international campaign against light pollution - will audit light use in schools.

Among the activities being organised, it is also worth mentioning the national competition entitled “Cadran solaire” on the theme of ‘light, shadow and time,’ the public sky observations on 20 March, 2015, for the occasion of the partial solar eclipse, and teacher training workshops on the topic of ‘innovative techniques in optics teaching’ in partnership with the National Ministry of Education and the UNESCO Active Learning in Optics and Photonics (ALOP) programme.

Mr. Michael Millward, Director of the UNESCO office in Rabat, during his speech. Credits: Mohamed Kessabi.
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Mr. Michael Millward, Director of the UNESCO office in Rabat, during his speech. Credits: Mohamed Kessabi.

In his address at the auspicious event, Mr. Michael Millward, Director of the UNESCO office in Rabat, best captured the essence of the year by stating:

The proclamation of an International Year dedicated to the theme of light and its applications serves as international recognition of the importance of raising awareness as to how light and light-based technologies can contribute to sustainable development…. On behalf of the Director-General of UNESCO, I call on all professionals and capable parties to take part in this celebration and to include light and light-based technologies in the dynamics of sustainable development, thus strengthening the foundations of a knowledge-based society and the values of sharing and of peace.

The Opening Ceremony was organized by Al Akhawayn University and Mohammed V University in partnership with the Moroccan Foundation for Science, Innovation and Research (MAScIR), the African Laser Centre (ALC), the CITI Association for the integration of new technologies in the teaching of science, the Network of Amateur Astronomers of Morocco (RAAM), astronomy associations of Rabat and Casablanca, the astronomy club Al Akhawayn , Moroccoan Association of nanotechnologies (AMANAT), the association Migrations co-development Alsace (MCDA) and Moroccan UNAWE-network (UniverseAwareness).

For more information about upcoming events visit the website from the IYL2015 Moroccan Committee.

About IYL 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative adopted by the United Nations (A/RES/68/221) to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.  With UNESCO as lead agency, IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.  The IYL Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP).

The Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the lightsources.org International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). 

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Royal Philips Lighting, Thorlabs and UL.

Contacts

Hassane Darhmaoui 
National Committee Chair
Point of contact of the IYL2015 in Morocco
H.Darhmaoui@aui.ma 

Zakaria Belhaj
Point of contact of the IYL2015 in Morocco
Senior Quality Engineer at HPS
z.belhaj@gmail.com

John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015
president@eps.org

Joe Niemela
Global Coordinator (IYL Secretariat)
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015
light2015@ictp.it