By Oyku Gursu
The Karman Fellowship
With our mission of fostering trust, independent dialogue and cooperation between those who shape the future of space, 2023 marked the conclusion of our fourth Fellowship with 15 leaders coming from Kenya, China, United States, Russia, Canada, Malaysia, Italy, Bulgaria , Egypt and beyond.
Our Karman Fellows' journey into leadership took off with an "Intention Setting" workshop designed and facilitated by ATÖLYE, masters in community, strategic design and innovation. It continued with an ¨Ethical Leadership¨ session designed and facilitated by Laura Anne Edwards from the University of Oxford Space Initiative. We then gathered our Fellows in a speed networking session to enhance the connections between them.
In November 2023, we brought a delegation of Karman Fellows to the Maldives for the Fellowship’s flagship event, ‘Karman Week’. This engagement came at a pivotal moment for the Maldives, with the recent establishment of the Maldives Space Research Organisation (MSRO), who are building a space ecosystem in support of critical climate resilience efforts. Together with MSRO and the Maldives Underwater Initiative, we were able to identify and initiate 28+ Karman Commitments to benefit our host nation and the international space community, including $5M+ committed towards research and social projects. We engaged in open and constructive dialogue around the future of space, identifying tangible solutions to time-critical and complex challenges. And we formed trusted friendships across more than 13 nations - between astronauts, climate scientists, researchers, space agency directors, executives and investors.
As leaders shaping the future of space, our Fellows discussed solutions to complex challenges, and pathways to execute big ideas both for the local ecosystem in the Maldives and for impact in space.
Local Karman Commitments range from facilitated access to the International Space Station for coral research, sustainable housing projects using robotics, and a key partnership to build a robust ‘Digital Earth Maldives’ climate monitoring system.
Space-related Karman Commitments range from a group commitment to raise $300M+ for Civil Society Efforts towards a sustainable and peaceful future in space, to a large-scale cross-regional educational program between South-East Asia and Africa, and the proposed establishment of a Code of Ethics to guide responsible decision-making for industry players in space.
You can find the highlights of Karman Week 2023 here.
Cooperation in space and on Earth is a global endeavour achieved together. Our sincere thanks to our supporting partners of Karman Week 2023.
We’re passionately preparing for our 2024 Fellowship, and will launch applications in late January. Stay tuned!
Advocating for Inclusive Dialogue and Responsible Practices in Outer Space Activities
In September, our Managing Director Hannah Ashford was invited to Geneva to present at the UNIDIR — UN Institute for Disarmament Research Conference on Outer Space Security. In her address, Hannah spoke about the fact that space security should be the concern of every individual working in space - state and non-state actors alike. Why? Because we all have a vested interest in keeping space safe, secure and sustainable in the long-term.
UNIDIR released their Summary Report, which you can find here.
We’re looking forward to continued contributions to these important discussions.
Empowering Nations: The Karman Project's UNOOSA Consultation and Recommendations
Given our unique access to high-level leaders across the world, The Karman Project was selected by United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to present at the 30th Annual UN-IAF Workshop. We consulted with 12 of our leaders from 11 emerging and non-space faring nations on (a) best practices in capacity building for education; and (b) the key enabling role of international partnerships and cooperation in capacity building. 20 Recommendations across Academia, Industry, Government and Public were submitted and presented. Our presentation of findings and recommendations is accessible via UNOOSA here.
Karman Futures Soirée 2023: A Gathering of Global Visionaries and Partners
Our Karman Community isn’t just about our Fellows, it’s about our friends all over the globe who join together in genuine efforts for our future: our ‘one common future’ as Karman’s Deputy Chair Jean-Jacques Dordain puts it. In November 2023, for the third year in a row, we were proud to bring together the international space community - with some live jazz and festivities - for the Karman Futures Soirée.
Our sincere thanks to our partners for the event - International Astronautical Federation (IAF), Azercosmos and The German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK Azerbaijan). Our appreciation also extends to Clay Mowry, President of the IAF and Vugar Bayramov, Counsellor on International Relations at Azercosmos for their words on the night, together with their energy and commitment towards building global friendships.
The Karman Project's Annual Journey to Oxford's Smart Space Elective
Since 2021, The Karman Project and the University of Oxford’s Space Initiative have worked together to foster the development of new relationships and initiatives critical to meet the changed world of 21st century space commerce and governance. In July 2023, we co-facilitated the annual Space Space Course of the MBA Program once again, selecting 12 Karman Community Members to participate and contribute their knowledge alongside 30+ Oxford students.
Thank you to our partners at the University of Oxford for your continued exchange and trust in our community.
Other Bits & Pieces: Gathering & Connecting Around The World
We’re proud to have attended the Space for Island Nations Conference 2023 in the Maldives organized by the Maldives Space Research Organisation. Our Managing Director Hannah Ashford had the opportunity to talk about how the cooperative and responsible use of space technologies at a global scale is essential to our collective future. Hannah chatted with Australia in Space about the experience and The Karman Project's work afterwards, you can check out the interview here.
We also kicked off our partnership with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), an award-winning social movement that uses mentoring and imagination to unlock the potential of marginalised youth to create a fairer world. Together with our community, we will be leveraging the wonder of space to inspire curiosity in young people across the globe. Hannah was invited to talk on IMAGI-NATION [TV] alongside James Forbes, CEO of Jane Goodall Institute Australia and Johny Mair, Co-founder at Ethic earlier this year.
We contributed an article which was featured in the Foundations Platform F20 Climate Solutions Magazine, examining how space technologies are helping to build a robust climate understanding and resilience, and the importance of international cooperation as we navigate this next chapter.
Our Karman Fellow and Editor in Chief of SpaceWatch.Global Emma Gatti started a Karman mini-series within the Space Cafè Radio, produced in collaboration with The Karman Project. Check out these amazing interviews here.
Finally, we had the pleasure to connect with many community members at the International Astronautical Congress in Baku. Cheers to another packed year ahead, and our most sincere thanks for your support throughout 2023!