The Hurford Science Diplomacy Initiative
Sponsored by the Hurford Foundation, the Hurford Science Diplomacy Initiative aims to help early career scientists understand the global context for their work and thus enable them to work more effectively at international levels.
Science Diplomacy 2023: Faces of Science Diplomacy
Jesse Ausubel, Director of Program for the Human Environment, & Mandë Holford, Professor of Chemistry, Hunter College, & American Museum of Natural History
The shorthand term Science Diplomacy (SD) spans wide-ranging activities connecting science and technology with international affairs. This series of seven seminars will sample the current landscape of SD issues, programs, and organizations. The goals of the course are to help early career life scientists: (a) think more systematically about the global potential of their work, including ethical, political, and economic implications; and (b) become acquainted with the people, networks, and resources available for scientific cooperation, including for those nations and communities with whom cooperation may be especially difficult.
The complexity of the real world, including the plural rationalities that exist and persist in human societies, is central to issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and biodiversity loss, to wars and threats to preservation of cultural heritage. These issues also exemplify the centrality of science and technology in international negotiations and policies that benefit the global well-being and relations among nations. COVID-19 has shown the importance of open channels of communication worldwide among working scientists and physicians, and among science advisers to governments. While familiarizing many people with the promise and perils of international organizations involved in Science Diplomacy such as the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown the vulnerabilities associated with poor monitoring, ignorance, overconfidence, disinformation, and misinformation. The intergovernmental negotiations over climate change and biodiversity are a real-world case study of the potential and problems of groups of scientific experts "speaking truth to power." The hard and soft powers on display in Russia’s war in the Ukraine graphically demonstrate how science and technology continue to determine the shapes of conflict.
Meanwhile, the Internet and other technological innovations have sharply increased capacity and appetite for global scientific collaborations, often based on open access and transparency, but they may also increase volatility of knowledge and behaviors with surprising outcomes, in turn affecting the practice of both diplomacy and science.
In the course, we will offer some frameworks for thinking about Science Diplomacy and share some of its history, including how it relates to The Rockefeller University. We will explore how SD can matter for a range of issues, from the Ukraine War and outer space and Havana Syndrome to snake bites and preservation of art. We will examine challenges for SD, including tangible initiatives to address changing needs and goals, and excessive reliance on models of rational behavior. We will also explore some critiques of SD, in particular that it reinforces particular structures of power.
This course is a sequel to the ones previously offered, and participants from prior years are welcome to attend again. Several sessions will use polling to learn and analyze views of the course participants.
The blend of in-person and remote participation will depend on conditions during February and March. We hope to have several guests in-person. The field trip to Washington DC will similarly depend on conditions as the dates of the trip near.
Time: 3-5pm Thursdays, CRC 206
2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014
Feb. 9, 2023
Topic: The Ukraine War and Russian-American relations: from diasporas to prisoner exchanges
: Jesse AusubelGuests
: The Hon. Cameron Hume
, former Ambassador to Algeria, South Africa, and Indonesia (in person), and Prof. Alexander Kabanov
, Director, Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery and Moderator, RASA: Russian-speaking Academic Science Association (by Zoom)Readings & Websites to Browse
Feb. 16, 2023
Topic: More than preventable 60,000 deaths per year: the Global Snake Bite Initiative
: Mandë HolfordGuests
: Prof. Leslie V. Boyer
(Medical Director, Viper Institute, University of Arizona, United States) (in person) and Prof. José María Gutiérrez
(Dept, of Microbiology, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica) (by Zoom)Readings & Websites to Browse
Feb. 23, 2022
Topic: Science and preservation of cultural heritage I: Visit to the research labs of the Metropolitan Museum
: Jesse AusubelHost
: Dr. Julie Arslanoglu, Research Scientist, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, Metropolitan Museum of ArtReadings & Websites to Browse
Mar. 2, 2023
Topic: Science Diplomacy and The Rockefeller University
: Mandë HolfordGuest
: Dr. Tim Stearns, Dean of Graduate and Postgraduate Studies and Vice President for Educational AffairsReadings & Websites to Browse
Mar. 9, 2023
Break - unless an extra seminar is scheduled
Mar. 16, 2023
Topic: Science in outer space amidst great power competition and a changing climate
: Jesse AusubelGuest
: Astronaut Dr. Jay Apt
(in person), Professor Emeritus, Tepper School of Business and Department of Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie-Mellon UniversityReadings & Websites to Browse:
Mar. 23, 2023
Topic: International medical diplomacy in the wake of COVID19
: Dr. Giusi Condorelli, MD
(in-person), Science Attaché of the Embassy of Italy to the United States, Washington, DCReadings & Websites to Browse:
- Shiny New Toys and Matchbox Cars: Vaccine Diplomacy Requires Balancing Emerging and Traditional Technologies By Maria Elena Bottazzi, Peter Hotez
- Taking Action to Safeguard Bioscience and Protect Against Future Global Biological Risks
- By Margaret A. Hamburg, Jaime Yassif, R. Alta Charo, Hayley Severance
- The Emerging Global Health Crisis: Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries by Thomas Bollyky
Plagues and the Paradox of Progress: Why the World is Getting Healthier in Worrisome Ways.
by Thomas Bollyky
- Council on Foreign Relations health site https://www.cfr.org/health
- We need to train climate doctors by Jay Lemery, Hanna Linstadt, Rosemary Rochford, and Cecilia Sorensen
- Twelve Months of COVID19: Shaping the Next Era of Science Diplomacy By Marga Gual Soler, Tolu Oni, and Mandë Holford
- Science Attachés in a post-COVID-19 World: Taking Stock of the Crisis By Jean-Christian Lemay, Jean-Christophe Mauduit, and Maxime Van Cauter
Mar. 30, 2023
Topic: Science and preservation of cultural heritage II: the case of Ukraine
: Jesse AusubelGuest
: Dr. Jonathan S. Bell,
Vice President of Programs, World Monuments FundReadings & Websites to Browse
Field Trip to Washington, DC
Apr. 13-14, 2023
(to be confirmed) with
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Innovation Fund
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Dr. Vaughan C. Turekian, Executive Director, Policy and Global Affairs
National Academy of Sciences Building,
2101 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20418
- Dinner with Washington, DC experts in Science Diplomacy
Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20008
- Visit with resident fellows of the Council on Foreign Relations Washington, DC Office
1777 F Street NW, Washington, DC, 20006
- Visit with S&T experts of the French Embassy at Georgetown (including lunch)
4101 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC, 20007
Dates: Thursdays, Feb. 9-Mar. 30, 2023
Student Science Diplomacy Project
Science Soapbox is a student-run podcast at the intersection of science, policy, and advocacy initiated by SD alums Maryam Zaringhalam, Avital Percher, and Devon Collins. The podcast acts as a public-facing platform to highlight insights from emerging and prominent thinkers influencing science and its impact on society through policymaking, community engagement, and diplomacy.
Additional Reading List
The items listed are essential background reading. Two or three additional articles will be distributed each week pertaining to the weekly topics.
- The Challenge of Building Science Diplomacy Capabilities for Early Career Academic Investigators, by Holford, M, Nichols, R, AAAS Science and Diplomacy, January 29, 2018.
- A tale of two states, Holford, M, Nichols, R, Science, 2015. 349:6247
- The Science of Science Policy: A Handbook (Innovation and Technology in the World E), by Julia Lane, Kaye Fealing, John Marburger III and Stephanie Shipp (Mar 18, 2011)
- Global Research Infrastructures: A Decade of Science Diplomacy, By Amy K. Flatten, AAAS Science and Diplomacy, September 27, 2018
- New Frontiers in Science Diplomacy: Navigating the Changing Balance of Power.A Royal Society Policy Document 2010, ISBN: 978-0-85403-811-4
- Promoting Scientific Cooperation in Times of Diplomatic Challenges Sustained Partnership between the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. By Jorge Pastrana S, Gual Soler M, Wang TC. MEDICC Lessons in International Cooperation, April 2018.
- Science and Technology in US International Affairs, Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government, reprinted 1993.
- Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Embedding a Culture of Science and Technology Throughout the Department of State, by U.S. National Research Council 2015
- A Decade of Science Diplomacy: Special Issue of Science & Diplomacy Magazine, Issue 55, 2022