As part of our celebrations around International Day of Peace, UNAIDS in Iran organized an astronomy lecture and a star-gazing event in association with StarPeace Iran with the aim of reducing stigma and discrimination to end violence.
In his opening remarks Dr. Fardad Doroudi, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Iran said “In my particular field of responsibility, HIV and AIDS, education for peace means educating to end violence. Ending violence, especially against women, whether in peacetime, during conflict or post-conflict period, is critical to ending AIDS.” He further pointed out that a peaceful world is one where women and men can equally protect themselves from HIV.
In addressing the gathering, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gary Lewis, said that humans should consider how the Earth looks from Space and proceeded to display images of mankind’s footprint on the earth and the damage caused by overconsumption of the Earth’s natural resources. He then pointed to the mega-threats facing the planet.
These he said, included: overpopulation (a planet of 7 billion), climate change causing extreme weather conditions like increased droughts and flooding, rising sea levels, unprecedented heat waves, famine and food insecurity, water shortages, ocean destruction, deforestation, desertification, pandemics, conflict over resources, the spread of military technology (including weapons of mass destruction, transnational organized crime, terrorism.
He pointed to how small and insignificant our planet looks from outer space. “Surely,” he added, “if we can put a man on the moon and send Voyager into space to send us all those amazing photos, we can solve the problems which confront us here on earth.”
“We cannot fail”, he said, “for this planet – this Earth – is our only home.”
The event then witnessed presentations by members of StarPeace, Mr. Siavash Safarianpour, Mr. Reza AmirArjomand, Mr. Kazem Kookaram, Ms. Neda Mobara and freelance photographer, Mr. Oshin D. Zakarian. The invitees were then invited onto the rooftop where – despite unclear skies – they looked at stars and constellations – as well as a waning moon – through telescopes.
The event witnessed participation of UN Representatives, People Living with HIV, media, and universities.