UNAWE became a Cornerstone Project of the successful UN-ratified IAU/UNESCO International Year of Astronomy in 2009 (IYA2009). UNAWE was also involved in other IYA2009 projects, including the Cornerstone Project Galileo Teacher Training Program and the Special Project GalileoMobile.
Most of UNAWE's activities in IYA2009, however, were organised by national nodes, with thousands of projects organised in more than 45 countries by nearly 400 individuals. A few examples of these activities include:
• UNAWE Belgium produced a DVD of cartoons, stories and songs about the Universe for children, which was accompanied by a booklet for teachers. Funds were raised to distribute 1500 of these in primary schools across the country.
• Award-winning astronomical art workshops were held across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Children's artwork from a workshop that was organised by Blackrock Castle Observatory in Cork, called Capture the Cosmos, was auctioned to raise funds for a telescope for UNAWE Tanzania. This gave UNAWE Tanzania the necessary momentum to establisha national programme that continues to grow.
• 43 Teacher training workshops held in Venezuela, which involved more than 1500 teachers and reached well over 60,000 children and led to 10 regional astronomy festivals.
• Specific UNAWE activities for children at science festivals in China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Palestine, South Africa, Turkey and many other countries.
• The development of a UNAWE programme for social integration within inner cities in Germany with child development specialists.
• UNAWE Uruguay built on long-term and successful efforts to include an astronomy curriculum for primary schools to be implemented nationally.
• The development of an astronomy curriculum for primary schools to be implemented nationally in Uruguay.
• Astronomy and science awareness programmes in the major cities in India and in rural areas in Tamil Nadu, reaching hundreds of thousands of children.
• Popular lecture series in Guatemala.
• A travelling ‘Astro-Bus’ reaching many rural primary schools in every province in Tunisia, as well as numerous teacher training workshops and curriculum development activities.
• A book of traditional astronomical stories from the Spanish-speaking world produced by UNAWE Spain was translated into several other languages. A CD of traditional Spanish music with astronomical lyrics (traditional and modern) was produced to accompany the book.
• A national programme was established in the Netherlands with professional coordination and integration into the education system via partner organisations and ministerial support.
• A number of articles were published about UNAWE, including a feature article in the French magazine l’Astronomie.
• Educational resources translated by the Slovenian national IYA2009 task group.
• Astronomy plays at a children’s theatre festival in Serbia.
• Multicultural astronomy workshops at science festivals in Italy with foreign astronomers.