Building an International Science Diplomacy System

Sunday, 16 February 2014
Toronto (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Frances A. Colón , U.S. State Department, Washington, DC
Traditionally, states have been the principal actors exercising the practice of diplomacy as a means of managing their international relationships. The emergence of new global challenges from cross-border energy supply, preventable diseases linked to lifestyle, shifting geo-political environments, and the linkages between health and ageing, trade, intellectual property, and human rights, present stakeholders with a complex matrix of technical and relational challenges. Due to the impact of globalisation on science, however, a new type of diplomacy and dialogue is necessary to navigate the changing landscape of international affairs and politics. As economic progress in every community worldwide has become interdependent with advances in science and technology, science diplomacy is increasingly the chosen method of interaction between stakeholders. At the same time, it is imperative that we work in ways that are transparent and open to a diversity of contributors and ideas. Assessing risk versus benefit in adopting an innovation is complex and depends upon an open dialogue. Only then will we realize the promise of furthering scientific discovery and innovation to meet pressing global challenges and improve quality of life.