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 2020: Faces of Science Diplomacy
The shorthand term Science Diplomacy (SD) spans wide-ranging activities connecting science and technology with international affairs. With particular attention to global health and environment, the seven-week course of seminars samples 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 with whom cooperation may be especially difficult.
Science and technology are central for many national and international negotiations and policies, and SD activities include international collaboration to mitigate transnational threats such as infectious diseases or biological weapons. Scientists have played important roles, for example, in efforts to combat spread of the Ebola and Zika viruses, mitigate climate change, and conserve cultural heritage.
Open channels of communication among working scientists and physicians, and among science advisers to governments, especially across the borders of nations in conflict, offer valuable means for informal diplomacy, as has been the case in various periods between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China, and Cuba as well as between pairings such as Israel and Egypt or India and Pakistan. Moreover, the Internet and other technological innovations have sharply increased capacity and appetite for global scientific collaborations, often based on open access and transparency, and these in turn affect the practice of both diplomacy and science. SD can matter for how we address issues as wide ranging as the weaponization of genetic editing (CRISPR technology), security of cyber spaces, and equitable diffusion of personalized medicine.
Challenges for SD include: developing a classification of activities and common language about best practices, identifying tangible initiatives to address changing needs and goals, and convincing governmental agencies that SD should be an explicit part of long-term roadmaps for action and funding. Interest in SD in many ministries of foreign affairs as well as the scientific community itself makes this an opportune time for scientists early in their careers to learn and evaluate its possibilities.
This course is a sequel to the ones previously offered, and participants from prior years are welcome to attend again. This year’s offerings places science in global interests of health and environment back to the founding of the USA and into the coming Presidential election. Several sessions will use clickers, or classroom response systems, to collect and analyze views of the course participants. About ten of the most engaged course participants (limited to those with RU affiliation) will be invited to join a field trip to Washington, DC to meet with prominent SD practitioners and tour relevant institutions.
The course is part of the University’s Hurford Initiative on Science & Diplomacy, sponsored by the Hurford Foundation. The 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.
Time: 3-5pm Thursday
Speakers: Jesse Ausubel and Mandë Holford
Websites to Browse:
Dates: Thursdays, Feb. 13-March 26, 2020
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.
The items listed are essential background reading. Two or three additional articles will be distributed each week pertaining to the weekly topics.