The Many Faces of Science Diplomacy

By May Dobosiewicz and Kimberly Siletti     The intersection between public policy and science has become increasingly palpable in the past few months. Concerned with the policies recently issued from Washington, D.C., the President of The Rockefeller University has written public statements. Some scientists are even training to run for political office themselves. Scientists around the world participated in the March for Science – calling for evidence-based policymaking and continued science funding. Clearly many scientists are already engaging in political discussions and using their training to make social impacts. But how do scientists enter the conversation? The Rockefeller University’s Science Policy and Diplomacy course, funded by the Hurford Foundation and led by Jesse Ausubel, Mande Holford, and Rodney Nichols, explored the ways in which scientists have shaped politics on both domestic and international scales. The course was structured as a round-table discussion with a different speaker each class. This format provided an international mix of students the opportunity to ask questions, share ideas, and explore policy issues through the lens of various decision-makers. After bringing an impressive lineup of speakers to Rockefeller, Jesse and Mande took the class on a two-day field trip to D.C. Participants were offered a

What science diplomacy taught me about science

by Maryam Zaringhalam   With the Rio Olympic games around the corner, I am reminded of the unifying power of sports. At the risk of playing into the stereotype of a scientist, I must admit I am by no means a sports fan. But I cannot help but admire that for the last 120 years, nations have set aside their differences to congregate in competition. Of course, this year’s Olympics have also been surrounded by a darker cloud: the looming global threat of Zika virus. With a coalition of scientists around the world mobilizing to address this danger, the epidemic underscores the unifying power of yet another more unsung global endeavor: science. International scientific cooperation is nothing new. From the threat of epidemics to the mysteries of our origins, the questions and challenges scientists tackle are universal. The language we use to discuss them, a common tongue. Despite this international view of science, the term “Science Diplomacy (SD)” still sounded strange to my ear. The concept of scientist as diplomat struck me as paradoxical — a stark contrast between the archetypes of the antisocial, hyperintellectual scientist and the sleek, socially savvy diplomat. That is, until I took Rockefeller University’s Science

From Bench to Policy

by Avital Percher and Devon Collins Rockefeller attracts people who are passionate about science. It is therefore no surprise that many researchers here move from behind their workbenches to get involved in projects that bring science beyond York Avenue. From art projects to public outreach, these endeavors demonstrate an interest in establishing ties between scientific and public communities. One aspect of this public engagement is science diplomacy, which focuses on the use of diplomatic efforts for the furtherance of science and vice versa (a more detailed description was made in last year’s article1). While science diplomacy might seem an esoteric concept, best left to political science majors and bureaucracy lovers, we posit that the general scientific community's involvement in this field is critical. Unfortunately, among scientists, the importance of science diplomacy is often poorly appreciated and afforded little priority. For those who are less familiar with this topic, we strongly encourage taking the Science and Diplomacy class being taught on campus for the past few years (and being taught again this spring through the generosity of the Hurford Foundation). The class goes on for roughly six weeks, and brings in a wide variety of speakers from different fields and organizations.

Thinking Globally about Science

by Rupa R. Ram and Paul Dominic B. Olinares There are many global challenges that have a foundation in science and technology including climate change, resource scarcity, infectious diseases, and international instability from nations in conflict. The role of scientists in resolving these challenges is not always clear. Science diplomacy (SD) is the conversation at the intersection of science and policy, where scientists, engineers, and policy makers come together to navigate the sometimes muddy geopolitical waters that hinder finding solutions to the issues at hand. According to New Frontiers in Science Diplomacy, a report published by the Royal Society in 2010, science diplomacy has three dimensions: 1. “Science in Diplomacy” to form foreign policy objectives, 2. “Diplomacy for Science,” which facilitates international scientific cooperation including between nations in conflict with the hope of improving political relations. These lead to 3. “Science for Diplomacy,” which builds on the generally highly regarded reputation of scientists in society as objective and unbiased to bypass political issues and build consensus towards problem solving. Despite its trendy name, SD has been practiced for decades. A prominent and ongoing example is the International Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Pugwash