The US National Academies has finally published the Global Science Policy and Science Diplomacy – Workshop Report.
The request of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for this workshop reflects a growing interest of President Barack Obama’s administration in innovative ways of facilitating effective international scientific cooperation and in using the common language of science to build positive relationships with countries around the world. The workshop aims to look at opportunities and successes as well as obstacles to effective and new perspectives on international scientific engagement and science diplomacy activities. This is an opportunity to identify steps that OSTP can accomplish in their role of policy coordinator with the administration.
The workshop took place last February in DC. Couple of my quotes got into the report (pp. 14, 38, 50).
…Azamat Abdymomunov, former vice minister of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, pointed out that an assessment should not be limited to projects that are sustained, but should include those that are being cut or eliminated, to see whether critical research needs additional support.
…Azamat Abdymomunov, former vice minister of education and science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, underlined the need for a stronger emphasis on science and technology in higher education and professional development. He added that meeting this need is crucial to economic development and other important goals of science diplomacy. Unfortunately, in some developing countries, higher education is separated from research and, instead of providing opportunities to develop relevant skills for the modern workplace, or even more for innovation and job creation, higher education is limited to being a buffer zone between high school and labor-force entry. As a result, many young people seek to enter the labor force without the necessary professional skills or experiences. And, as observed by Abdymomunov, “a young frustrated, unemployed person can be as dangerous as a nuclear physicist or a bioweapons engineer.”
…Many participants reiterated the importance of clarity, transparency, and directness in the science diplomacy process: We need to be selective in choosing clear terms to explain what we are doing and why. Azamat Abdymomunov suggested clearly defining and communicating national interests to partners, to avoid future misunderstandings and contribute to building mutual trust.
You can read my original speech here.