Centre for Science Diplomacy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in partnership with The World Academy of Science (TWAS) organized their second summer course on Science and Diplomacy, at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy from June 7-12, 2015.
The course was attended by around 51 participants and speakers from around the world and participants discussed ideas and concepts over the exciting theme of “Science and Diplomacy”.
It was agreed that humanitys major challenges and some of its most promising regional and global opportunities rest in the acquisition and transfer of good Science. Increasingly, the world requires effective partnerships between scientists, policymakers and diplomats, and the course aimed to train a core group of Science Diplomats to take on global challenges in the arena of informed policy making.
The interactive format of the workshop was set on training sessions with extensive lecturing on Approaches to Science Diplomacy, Trans-boundary Science, National Circumstances and Approaches to Science Diplomacy, Networks and Mechanisms for Science Diplomacy, Science Advice/Communicating Risk to Policy Makers, Risk Communication to the Public, Overview of TWAS programmes and opportunities.
The highlight of the event was a lecture by Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. It emerged during the workshop that since Science Diplomacy was an emerging phenomenon, the several definitions proposed and upheld by various bodies like the Royal Society and AAAS, etc. reflected the dynamic nature and complexity of the subject which was continuously being evolved. It was also agreed that the world unlike ever before was in a need to understand the need for science and its credible role in informed decision making. Speakers highlighted how it was increasingly important for smaller and developing countries to gain from the understanding of Science and applying it to address problems affecting larger sets of people.
The workshop also comprised group project tasks whereby multi-national groups of individuals with diverse scientific and experience backgrounds were required to reach consensus over a problem statement that was transnational in nature and were required to exercise skills gained during the technical sessions of the Workshop to develop a proposal addressing scientific and diplomatic challenges.
The group projects were supervised by experienced mentors and were presented and defended on the last day of the workshop.
Mr. Abdul Majid Qureshi, Research Scholar from the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and Ms. Nageen Ainuddin, Director Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Centre (PASTIC), represented Pakistan in the workshop.
The workshop closed on a high note of optimism that the participants will use the skills gained during the course in order to conduct similar exercises in their respective countries and share their outcomes with TWAS during the year. The workshop concluded with the award of certificates to the participants.