Models of Science Diplomacy: Spain country guest in Trieste

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Scientific Coordinator and Representative of FECYT at the Embassy of Spain in Washington DC was invited to participate as a speaker and representative of Spain in the 3rd Scientific Diplomacy course organized by the TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences) and the AAAS (American Academy for advancement of Science). The course was held in Trieste (Italy) during the week from 11 to 16 July and just three countries presented their strategies for Scientific Diplomacy: UK, Thailand and Spain. 

In this third edition, scientists from emerging and developing countries participated. The 25 participants were selected from 237 applications from more than 80 countries. The presentations were organized in a very interactive way with the students, at all times encouraging audience participation and exchange of questions and opinions. 

TWAS, international organization under UNESCO, has Scientific Diplomacy as one of its emerging axes. TWAS program leads, in collaboration with AAAS, the program including conferences, workshops, courses and awards to build a bridge between the worlds of science and diplomacy since 2011. All information is available at the following link 

The course was inaugurated on July 11 at the ICTP-UNESCO (International Centre for Theoretical Physics) by a panel of experts consolidated in the field of Scientific Diplomacy and Science in developing countries. Among the authorities Rush Holt, head of the AAAS and ex - US Congressman; and Romain Murenzi, new UNESCO Director Science Policy. 

Vaughan Turekian, Scientific Adviser to the Secretary of State at the Department of State of the US and Princess Sumaya El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan closed the first day as keynote speakers. 

The course addressed, in different sessions throughout the week, issues of contemporary international politics related to science, technology, environment and health, while giving an overview of how technical information has contributed to different policy developments and international arrangements. 

Speakers as Tom Wang, Director of the Center for Scientific Diplomacy AAAS; Marcella Ohira, Director of Generation Capacity in the IAI (Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research); Ulla Engelmann, European Commission Joint Research Center; and Gihan Kamel and only woman scientist SESAME (Synchrotron in Jordan) contributed to the success of the course. They presented different cases where scientific Diplomacy has been relevant. 

Three countries presented their strategies for Scientific Diplomacy: United Kingdom (Ronit Prawer, Science and Innovation Attaché - British Embassy Tel Aviv), Thailand (Phawinee Chansamran, Diplomatic at the Ministry of Exterioes Thailand Affairs) and Spain (Ana Elorza, Scientific Coordinator at the Embassy of Spain in the US). Our model of science diplomacy stimulated much debate among students and speakers. 

David Schindel, Smithsonian Institution was responsible for leading a simulation of diplomatic conflict between two emerging countries (with false names, Industry and Pacific) assigning specific roles to each of the students and teachers. 

The two countries and their respective delegations (including ministers of various branches, advisors, directors of foundations and representatives of the opposition to the government) had been entrusted with the mission of presenting throughout the week, a concrete proposal to a delegation of the Bank World (speakers and organizers of the course) worth two billion dollars. This proposal allowed resolve by science diplomacy, the problems facing both countries.


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