ASP2020: A Virtual Conference
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Inspiring the Next Generation of Muslim Scientists & Engineers
From the 7th to the 13th century, a period often referred to as the "Dark Ages" in Western Europe, Muslim scholars preserved, applied, and contributed to diverse fields of knowledge like medicine, philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy. Their work set the stage for the "Renaissance" that followed, which ushered in the scientific revolution that reverberates to this day. Today, science and religion seem to be mutually exclusive, even though this false dichotomy has clearly not been a hallmark of our shared history. The Shia Ismaili Muslims are a community of ethnically and culturally diverse peoples living in over 25 countries around the world, united in their allegiance to His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan as the 49th hereditary Imam. The Aga Khan Education Board (UK), a voluntary organization established to support the educational needs of children of the Ismaili community, created a summer "Space Camp", an educational initiative aimed at children aged 8 to 12. The camp has operated for 3 summers, with the primary objective of educating and inspiring the current generation about careers in science & engineering, as well as to highlight emerging opportunities in human space exploration. Initially designed as a residential camp, with 32 children from the UK attending in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to adapt and deliver content online this past summer. Our 2020 virtual Space Camp saw 571 children register from 20 countries, demonstrating one of the advantages of this format: allowing large numbers of participants to access content regardless of their geographic location. Following from the success of this year's camp, we are now producing and designing a curriculum that can be implemented and adapted by Ismaili institutions around the world to deliver a local Space Camp with prepared educators. In this presentation, we will share why we developed and designed our camp, discuss its impact on our participants, and highlight the path forward for online camps.
Conference Strand: Public Engagement in Informal Settings