By Anthony DiFlorio
On April 29, 2015, the Center for Science Diplomacy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) will sponsor and host “Science Diplomacy 2015: Scientific Drivers for Diplomacy,” in Washington, DC. Science Diplomacy 2015 is the first of an annually held conference on science diplomacy which aims to provide a more open platform for individual scientists, international affairs specialists, educators, and students to network, learn about, and share ideas on the latest developments in science diplomacy.
The emergence of the field as an active area of study and policy consideration has, as promoted by the Center, “increased its use and users…[whereby] Concepts such as the role of large scale infrastructures in science diplomacy and mechanisms for scientific cooperation needed in undertaking science diplomacy have becomes more recognized as important to bridging the scientific and foreign policy communities.”
Substantive discussion and collaboration are expected throughout the conference.
As Dr. Vaughan Turekian, Chief International Officer at AAAS has said, “We have a very high interest in this meeting. We anticipate that we will have foreign policy, congressional, academic, and policy attendees. Each session will have a reporter and we will produce a brief summary of the conference for policy makers.”
A panoply of scientists and policymakers will speak in morning and afternoon sessions themed around Earth and Environmental Sciences; Bio and Health; Physics; Transboundary and Shared Resource issues; Institutions and Networks; and Cooperation During Political Strain.
Notable speakers will include Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Frances Colón, Acting Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State, and Romain Murenzi, Executive Director of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).
Effectively communicating science to domestic and international audiences has been one of the primary goals of new Chief Executive Officer of AAAS, Dr. Rush D. Holt, Jr. Holt, who will give opening remarks at the conference, served sixteen years as the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12th congressional district and has championed the advancement of scientific education and evidence-based policy making.
Accordingly to AAAS News, Holt’s initiative to engage with the organization’s members will help make the case that “science will be able to give people the facts that they need to solve the problems in front of them.”
Dr. Marga Gual Soler, Program Director at the Center for Science Diplomacy, believes the science Science Diplomacy 2015 will be a strong forum for harboring understanding and future problem solving across disciplines: “The management of the global commons and shared resources requires a close partnership between scientists and diplomats, but they speak very different languages. The conference will showcase success stories on how to bridge the two worlds of science and diplomacy.”
In addition to the Center’s sponsorship of the conference it also regularly engage with policy makers, scientists, educators, and students via its open-access journal, Science & Diplomacy.
The quarterly publication “features a mix of original perspectives and research articles by science and diplomacy practitioners and thinkers from U.S. and international perspectives in areas of science for diplomacy; science in diplomacy; and diplomacy for science,” as published on its site.
Students interested in conference activities and Science & Diplomacy may follow on Twitter @SciDip using #SciDip2015 as well as Facebook, www.facebook.com/sciencediplomacy.
The author spent Spring 2015 as an editorial intern at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal, Science and Diplomacy, in Washington, D.C.