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The European and African Physical Societies, on behalf of a global partnership of over 40 scientific societies, academies and other institutions, in collaboration with the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP), have announced that the UNESCO Executive Board has enthusiastically supported the proposal to declare an International Year of Light in 2015.
Quoting from the press release, “Light is at the origin of all life, it plays a central role in human activities, and has revolutionized society through medicine and communications, entertainment and culture. Industries based on light are major economic drivers; they create jobs, and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light is also important to our appreciation of art, and optical technologies are essential in understanding and preserving cultural heritage. As light becomes a key cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century, it is essential that its importance is fully appreciated. It is equally vital that the brightest young minds from all areas of the world continue to be attracted to careers in this field.
An International Year of Light will raise public awareness of this essential theme, and thus support the missions and priorities of UNESCO in building capacity in education, science and technology for poverty eradication, responding to critical global social challenges, promoting universal access to information, and safeguarding culture. The study of light is accessible to all ages and all cultures; light is a tremendous subject to motivate education at all levels. “ As well as celebrating the anniversaries of important milestones in the history of science that fall in 2015, the International Year of Light project will include important aspects of education and development, focusing specifically on how the science of light can improve the quality of life in the developing world and in emerging economies.