By Hannah Ashford
Today, we need international cooperation more than ever. And it all starts with people.
Karman Week Maldives 2023 was testament to the power of cooperation-through-action. When smart, well-intentioned leaders of different disciplines and cultures come together with trust, the challenges of space and our Earth can be addressed with speed, innovation and a shared sense of humanity.
The Karman Project’s Fellowship Week has emerged as a key event in global space unity, bringing together 15 exceptional Fellows annually to share their expertise, insights, and unwavering commitment to proactively shaping the future of space technology. This year's gathering marked a true convergence of minds, as we partnered with the Maldives Space Research Organisation and the Maldives Underwater Initiative to create a program centred upon space-for-impact in one of the most climate vulnerable nations on Earth - the Maldives.
Together, 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 we reflect on the success of Karman Week 2023 - with immense gratitude to our partners and Fellows - we invite you to join on our journey of shared responsibility for a common purpose: a peaceful and sustainable future in space and on Earth.
Our Fellows who were with us in Karman Week 2023
Our Experts who were with us at Karman Week 2023
Topics and Focus Areas we worked on during Karman Week 2023
The Karman Project's focus areas and topics at Karman Week span a diverse range of critical themes. The key topics were Climate Resilience and Future of Space.
Future of Space:
Karman Week Highlights
Karman Fellows traverse global issues informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that space technologies can contribute to solving, together with challenges that exist within the space sector. As a ‘space-for-impact’ foundation, The Karman Project built the Week’s program around its six key Impact Themes: Sustainability, Education, Empowerment, Cooperation, Science and Inspiration - with a strong focus on give-back to the Maldivian community at a local and national level.
Public Panel, Maldives National University (MNU)
At the invitation of the Maldives Ministry of Higher Education, our delegation headed to Maldives National University to share their diverse pathways into space with “Looking Above: Your Future in the Space Sector”.
School Visit & Postcards Project, Hithadhoo School
When given the opportunity to meet astronauts, space lawyers, scientists and researchers, the students at this local island secondary school were full of questions. 200 postcards with their artwork will soon be sent to space!
Space-for-Maldives Workshop & Expedition to Marine Protected Reefs + Mangroves
Structured around our Impact Themes of Space-for-Sustainability, Education and Science, we leveraged the multidisciplinary expertise of our Fellows and partners to create a tangible roadmap + recommendations for the Maldives.
Community Outreach - Public Lectures, ‘The Many Faces of Space’ & Guided Astronomy
Pursuant to our ‘give-back’ mantra, our Fellows gave public lectures about the time-critical challenges that space is aiding on Earth and brought the cosmos a little closer with activities such as telescope-guided stargazing.
Chatham House Day - The Future of Space
As leaders shaping the future of space, our Fellows navigate complex technical and political landscapes. These sessions provided a safe space to discuss solutions to complex challenges, and pathways to execute big ideas.
Building Trust Between International Leaders
The heart of our mission is to foster trust, independent dialogue and cooperation between global leaders - bridging international relations to address challenges with safety, imagination and freedom. We trust that the relationships built today will shape transformative moments of the future.
Outcomes & Commitments
With each Karman Week, we look to create tangible impact both locally and globally.
- 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.
Cooperation in space and on Earth is a global endeavour achieved together. Our sincere thanks to our supporting partners of Karman Week 2023.