Sergio Andres Sanchez Sanjuan

Primary Photo

Affiliated Organizations
  • B.Sc. Electronic Engineer
  • Master's student in Astrophysics at Astronomy Institute - National Autonomous University of Mexico
  • Science Communicator

What are contexts and issues that you work on? How are you using peace education to address these issues? What keeps you going?

One of the most affected areas in Colombia is education, mainly due to violence. Currently, those regions dominated by the armed conflict do not have important access to any activity related to science and technology. According to local childhood foundations, 40% of children in Colombia do not have opportunities to attend high school due to living in vulnerable places (primarily in the countryside) and to the existence of a huge inequality gap in the country. I am serving as a science communicator at an astronomical observatory dedicating a big part of my time performing space-related activities for the general public. Colombia is going through a very special moment in its history after the signing of the peace agreement; this represents a big chance to start bringing education into vulnerable communities where astronomy can play an important role. What gets me going through good moments is the happiness of people when learning something new about the Universe. On the other hand, the lack of support in science and education is a bad thing to deal with.

What has been your most meaningful or noteworthy moment in your peace education career?

I do not have just one special moment in particular, I have had many of them. Any time I have the chance to visit a small community or disadvantaged school, where their members can see through a telescope for the first time in their life, to behold people's expressions of astonishment and happiness while seeing moon's craters of distant planets such as Saturn or Jupiter are totally priceless. So, any single moment in which I can be involved with people around space sciences is noteworthy to me. In addition, I have to mention that another important moment was the opportunity to attend the IIPE 2019 in Cyprus where I observed the great work done with children from both sides of the country in activities led by astronomer Franceska Fragkoudi with GalileoMobile and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR). Personally, I consider it very important to replicate such activities with youth from Colombia and Latin America.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

When I was in high school, I had the chance to watch one of the most life-changing series on TV called: 'Cosmos, a personal voyage', hosted by the astronomer Carl Sagan. Each episode awoke in me a real interest in astronomy and a desire to become a science communicator aiming to share and create awareness about the knowledge of the Universe and the technology used to explore it. Furthermore, I remember when I read the book 'A Pale Blue Dot', written by Sagan, in which he talks about the picture of Earth taken by the spacecraft Voyager-1 in 1990 six billions of kilometers away. Our planet is seen there as a little marble suspended in the vastness of the Universe. Thanks to that image I realized the tiny world where we live in and our responsibility to take care of it. For this reason, since I started giving my first talks, I have always tried to inspire youth around the importance of science as a lifestyle and the goal of seeking ideas for the improvement of society.