The recent heart-breaking events that have resulted in the huge visibility of the global Black Lives Matter movement and which highlight the many years of systemic racism around the world, have forced us to reflect on our own environment.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation is a partnership that involves over a thousand people from more than 14 countries on five continents. It is a multi-cultural, global science collaboration that is by nature diverse, and where racism and discrimination have no place. Equality and diversity are enshrined in the SKA Convention, an international treaty that is currently being ratified by the governments of our member countries. We are proud that these values are written in the founding document of the future SKA Observatory, committing us to an organisation in which they are promoted and respected. However, just writing these principles down is not enough, meaningful action is required, by me as Director-General, by our team leaders and by all of SKA’s staff.
I have instructed SKA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group to look at practices and processes across the organisation and produce a plan on how we might enhance them to ensure that discrimination and bias in our workplace and recruitment processes are totally absent. I am also challenging SKA’s staff, our community and the members of the Board to identify any issues of inequality to ensure we can seek and retain diverse talent from all parts of society. Both actions are critical as we enter a period of significant recruitment.
As a global science collaboration, the SKA Observatory will work tirelessly with members to root out discrimination in all its forms.
Prof. Philip Diamond, SKA Director-General