COSPAR Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Coordination Officer (ICO)

CIO Page

Mary Snitch, COSPAR CIO Officer

Mary Snitch (USA), 2022 – 2026


The COSPAR Strategic Plan presented a call to action to define a roadmap to achieve Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) across the entire organization and its membership, and enhance corresponding work.

COSPAR has two immediate objectives in defining its IDEA policy:

  1. COSPAR will promote diversity and gender equality in all of its activities, and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment.
  2. COSPAR will continue to encourage meaningful roles in all activities for younger scientists, who are the future of international space research.

Beyond these key objectives, the IDEA plan encompasses a broader and forward-looking definition of diversity to drive growth and impact for COSPAR constituents and stakeholders well into the future.  The aim is to develop a stronger culture of inclusion extending to COSPAR Assemblies and Symposia, Scientific Commissions and Panels, Honors and Awards, and COSPAR Governance.  The IDEA initiative should attract degreed scientists and general science enthusiasts from all economic sectors, without regard to gender, age, or chosen academic fields.  With IDEA principles being integrated into all aspects of  COSPAR – events, governance, member recognition – the organization will be recognized as a global stakeholder in welcoming the talent entering the field every year, where they will see themselves contributing to an environment embracing those principles.  A culture of IDEA begins within our own organizations, but it should also advance across the entire science and space enterprise.

COSPAR is regarded around the world as a model for pushing the intellectual envelope on space research.  Its membership and Associates represent the most highly esteemed scientists and scientific academies in the world.  Since 1958, COSPAR has promoted international scientific research in space, with emphasis on the exchange of opinions and collaboration open to all scientists, for the discussion issues affecting space research.  A culture of diversity and inclusion will only reinforce these achievements.

IDEA will drive change, evolution and transformation for the organization with a broadly diverse and growing membership of new stakeholders from industry, government, and academia.  It will invite the best and brightest women and men, young professionals and retirees, to become involved in the work and mission of COSPAR and to be part of its impact on the international scientific agenda and contribute to the scientific discourse.

Implementation

At the upcoming 44th Scientific Assembly in Athens (16-24 July 2022), COSPAR will organize an important workshop focused on these issues, “Enriching Scientific Discovery through Inclusiveness, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility – IDEA for Today and Tomorrow”.  Recognized experts who have devoted their careers to advocating for diversity and inclusion will share their perspectives, the critical imperative to cultivate diversity, and the way in which COSPAR can lead these efforts in the global scientific community.

The IDEA Coordination Officer

As a first step to implementation, COSPAR approved the appointment of the first Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Coordination Officer (ICO), reporting to the President and Bureau in a 4-year term to 2026.

The COSPAR President appointed Ms Mary Snitch to serve as the very first ICO in COSPAR.

Mary Snitch joined Lockheed Martin Corporation in 1990, and currently leads engagements with key technical and professional member organizations, such as COSPAR, the IAF and AIAA.  Advocating for Diversity and Inclusion and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers has been her career-long passion.  In 2015-2018, she served as Vice-President on the IAF Bureau, overseeing the Diversity Initiatives portfolio, and in 2018-2019, she served as Special Advisor to the IAF President to continue IAF’s work on Diversity Initiatives.