Day 1 - 19 January 2015

Registration 08.30 – 10.00           

Morning Session 10.00 – 12.00

Welcome and Inauguration

High-Level Session with Welcome Addresses by UN and UNESCO Representatives and Member States and other Dignitaries.

Ban Ki Moon (Video-Message), Secretary-General, United Nations

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO

Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO  

Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, Minister for Education, Ghana

Enrique Cabrero, Director-General of CONACYT, Mexico

Ziad Aldrees, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO

Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director-General, CERN

Ligia Noronha, Director of the Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, UNEP


The Chairman of the International Year of Light Steering Committee will provide a brief overview of the objectives and themes of the year, the anniversaries to be celebrated, and a description of all major actions and programmes to be implemented.

John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL2015 Steering Committee

Plenary Lecture - Light and Life

Ahmed Zewail, the Linus Pauling Chair professor of chemistry and professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, USA).  A pioneer of femtoscience, Ahmed Zewail is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Board established by the United Nations Secretary-General. 

Inauguration of the 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham Campaign

1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham is an international educational campaign celebrating the 11th century pioneer Ibn Al-Haytham. Ibn Al-Haytham’s seminal Kitab al-Manazir (Book of Optics) was written around 1015, and its 1000th anniversary is listed in the United Nations resolution as a focal point of celebration of the International Year of Light. After abrief overview of the campaign from the podium, the audience will be invited to attend a display highlighting parts of the campaign in the adjacent Hall SeĢgur.

Ahmed Salim, Producer and Director 1001 Inventions

Afternoon Session 14.00 – 18.00

Plenary Lecture – Energy and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities      

Steven Chu, Nobel Laureate, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Humanities & Sciences and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University.   From January 2009 until April 2013, Professor Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy; during his tenure, he began ARPA-E, the Energy Innovation Hubs and the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings. 

Thematic Session  – The International Community of Light and Light-based Technology

Short messages from members of the global scientific community will reinforce the diversity and international nature of the planned events during 2015. 

Eric Rondolat, CEO of Lighting Sector, Royal Philips (Netherlands).

Jean-Luc Beylat, President of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs (France).

France Cordova ,Director, National Science Foundation (USA).

Francis Allotey, African Physical Society & IUPAP Vice President at Large (Ghana).

Zohra Ben Lakhdar, l’Oreal-UNESCO Prize Recipient for Africa & Arab world 2005 (Tunisia).    

Ana-Maria Cetto, Institute of Physics, National University of Mexico (UNAM) (Mexico).  

Thierry Montmerle, International Astronomical Union IAU, Paris (France). 

Danielle Harper, International Association Of Physics Students IAPS (United Kingdom).

Thematic Session – Lighting the Future

Short presentations addressing issues of lighting and challenges for the future, to be followed by panel discussion.  

Ann Webb, President of the International Commission on Illumination, Facilitator (United Kingdom).

Gustavo Avilés, Lightteam (Mexico).

Harry Verhaar, President of the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (Netherlands).

Sze-leung Cheung, IAU International Outreach Coordinator (Japan / Hong Kong SAR, China).

Barbara Horton, President of IALD (USA).

Thematic Session  – Light for Humanity  and Culture         

Short presentations addressing the many ways in which light influences human culture and our perception of the universe. 

Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture (Vatican).

Alessandro Farini, CNR-National Institute of Optics and University of Florence (Italy).

Charles Falco, University of Arizona (USA).

Musical and Cultural Interludes will also be included in Day 1.

Day 2 - 20 January 2015

Registration 08.30 – 9.00

Morning Session 9.00 – 12.25

Plenary Lecture –  Einstein, Light, and Time         

William Phillips, Nobel Laureate, Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a cooperative endeavor of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland (USA)

Thematic Session - Light on Development

Short presentations followed by discussion from speakers addressing issues of how light science and technology can impact on areas relevant to development worldwide.

Andrew Forbes, CSIR National Laser Centre, (South Africa).

Yanne Chembo, ERC Starting Grant Laureate (Cameroon / France).

Thanh-Nga Thrin Tran, Vietnam Vascular Anomalies Center (Vietnam, USA), Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA).

Sudhanshu Sarronwala, Earth Hour, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Plenary Lecture – Light and the Quantum          

Serge Haroche  Nobel Laureate, Professor at Collège de France and Holder of the Chair of Quantum Physics (France). 

Thematic Session  – Light at the Limits   

This session will include speakers covering topics at the frontiers of optical science. 

Gérard Mourou, IZEST, École Polytechnique (France).

Norio Kaifu, President of the International Astronomical Union (Japan).

Catarina Biscari, ALBA Synchrotron and (Italy, Spain).

Afternoon Session 14.00 – 18.00

Plenary Lecture – Efficient Light Conversion and Generation 

Zhores Alferov, Nobel Laureate, Rector of the St. Petersburg Academical University, Research and Educational Center of Nanotechnologies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

Thematic Session – The Future of Light     

This session will include speakers covering topics at the frontiers of optical science. 

Alain Aspect, UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal laureate (France).

Bernard Kress, Google [X] Labs (USA)

Brian Wilson, University Health Network Biophotonics (Canada).

Sune Svanberg  Former Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physics, (Sweden)

Thematic Session – Light Solutions

This session will see speakers address how innovative (and sometimes very simple) solutions using light-based technologies can have dramatic impact in solving problems in developing countries. 

Illac Diaz, LiterofLight and MyShelter Foundation (Philippines).

Martin Aufmuth, OneDollarGlasses (Germany)

Linda Wamune, SunnyMoney and SolarAid (Kenya). 

Thematic Session – Science Policy

This will be a high-level session with speakers from the UNESCO and UN systems and Science Policy experts from around the world speaking to issues such as: effective science advice to governments, how the North can help South in human capacity building, and the impact of photonics on global economic development.

José Mariano Gago, Former Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (Portugal).

Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology (South Africa).

Ana María Cetto, Institute of Physics, National University of Mexico (UNAM) (Mexico).

Khalil Rouhana, Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology, European Commission (France).

Maciej Nalecz, Director of the Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building, UNESCO.

Closing Remarks