STAFF REPORT ISB: Af- ter spending thirty years in science and three years in di- plomacy, Dr Imtinan Elahi Qureshi , Executive Direc- tor of the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in South (COMSATS), is the most vocal advocate of science diplomacy in Paki- stan is all set to bid adieu.
Dr Qureshi is stepping down as COMSATS Execu- tive Director next month and he is leaving behind a rich legacy of phenomenal achievements making the dormant organization into a living, throbbing platform where all its 24 member states occasionally gather, in- teract and discuss problems and challenges being faced by their respective nations in the fields of science.
In an interview, Dr Qureshi said, “Promotion of science diplomacy is vital for linking Pakistani mis- sions with the local univer- sities and institutes to find space for our researchers and scholars”.
One of the substantive achievements under Dr Qureshis tenure was for- mation of International Thematic Research Groups (ITRGs) this is a project conceived with an objective to achieve South-South co- operation by undertaking well-defined joint research projects in various SandT fields and with the partici- pation of researchers and scientists belonging to differ- ent RandD institutions from COMSATS Mem- ber States and other devel- oping coun- tries. The focus of t h e s e ITRGs is on joint research projects, expert- e x c h a n g e , s h o r t – t e r m trainings and shar- ing of facilities/laboratory resources, said Dr Qureshi.
When asked how he found himself coming to- wards diplomacy from the field of science, he said he was serving in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commis- sion as research scientist and scientific administrator and his areas of specialization include atomic and particle physics when he was posted Minister (Technical) in the Permanent Mission of Paki- stan to the United Nations in Geneva. “I represented Pa- kistan as a member of delega- tion in the meetings of Con- ference on Disarmament, Biological and Toxin Weap- ons Convention, and United Nations Economic and Social Councils Commission on Science and Technology for Develop- ment and many other important m e e t i n g s and confer- ence.
There I realized how im- portant is the role of a foreign mission in cultivating groundwork for promotion of science and resolution of challenges in the fields of science.” This is why I am trying my level best to involve foreign missions and building linkages with academia and researchers through them for effective collaboration, he said.