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Science Diplomacy from a Journalist's Perspective
 

Science Diplomacy from a Journalist's Perspective

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SciDev.Net Director David Dickson. Presented at CRDF Global’s Science Diplomacy Boot camp for Journalists; Thursday July 14, at the New York Academy of Sciences.

SciDev.Net Director David Dickson. Presented at CRDF Global’s Science Diplomacy Boot camp for Journalists; Thursday July 14, at the New York Academy of Sciences.

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  • Slight modification to the original title. Originally this said: How the Internet can put science at the heart of development. However I would argue that it is already doing it.

Science Diplomacy from a Journalist's Perspective Science Diplomacy from a Journalist's Perspective Presentation Transcript

  • Science Diplomacy from a Journalist’s Perspective Science Diplomacy Boot Camp for Journalists New York Academy of Science, 15 July 2011 David Dickson , Director, SciDev.Net
  • www.scidev.net
    • Background :
    • Science is an increasingly important component of international relations because of the growth of knowledge economies, and the application of science to solving critical social problems.
    • Therefore …
    • Science diplomacy stories require increased attention in any reporting on the dynamics of these relations.
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  • www.scidev.net What makes a science diplomacy story?
  • www.scidev.net
    • A ‘science diplomacy’ story must have :
    • A solid scientific or technological dimension (i.e. must include promoting science and technology, either specifically or generically)
    • A broader political/diplomatic dimension, i.e. a motivation that goes beyond the purely practical, and reflects social or political interests and objectives
  • www.scidev.net
    • Scientific/technical dimension can include :
    • Promoting a particular field of science or technology (e.g. regional climate models)
    • Promoting a specific scientific or technological goal or project (e.g. a malaria vaccine)
    • Promoting the capacity to produce science and technology (e.g. building skills in ICTs)
  • www.scidev.net
    • Political/diplomatic dimension can include :
    • Enabling the social and economic development of states through the promotion of science and technology
    • Enhancing political and economic relations between states
    • Stabilising post-conflict situations
  • www.scidev.net
    • ‘ Scientific’ test for a science diplomacy story :
    • Is the science or technology involved robust (no window dressing)?
    • Does the science/technology involved genuinely meet needs of both partners (no ‘science for its own sake’)?
    • Do both partners have the scientific capacity and resources to deliver on commitments under the agreement (no empty promises)?
  • www.scidev.net
    • ‘ Political’ test for a science diplomacy story :
    • Are the motivations of each partner (or set of partners) explicit?
    • Does any partner have a “hidden agenda” that is not being declared (e.g China in Africa)?
    • Do the interests of one partner dominate over that of the other (e.g. clinical trials in developing countries)?
  • www.scidev.net
    • ‘ Solid’ science diplomacy stories :
    • Partnership programmes between universities (aimed at capacity building with no broader motive)
    • Africa’s Consolidate Plan of Action (a science blueprint aimed at cementing both scientific and economic relations)
    • Science-driven aid projects intended to stabilise post-conflict situations, e.g. in Rwanda or Arab States
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  • www.scidev.net
    • ‘ Less solid’ science diplomacy stories :
    • Signing of empty science and technology agreements with no programme detail or specific budget (i.e. politics masquerading as science)
    • Collaborative agreements of no obvious social or economic value (science masquerading as politics)
    • Agreements where the benefits are skewed in favour of the stronger partner (politics being expressed through science)
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  • www.scidev.net
    • Conclusions :
    • Science must be robust (check with experts in the field)
    • Scientific outcomes must be desired by each partner in an agreement (check on how goals are selected)
    • Scientific benefits must be shared equitably (check on how outcomes are shared)
    • Political interests must be explicit (check for hidden agendas).
  • www.scidev.net
    • Remember :
    • Robust science diplomacy stories are those in which the sciene is strong, and both scientific and socieconomic goals are equitably shared by each partner
    • Suspect science diplomacy stories are those in which science masquerades as politics, or politics masquerades as science
  • For more details visit: www.scidev.net/sciencediplomacy www.scidev.net To sign up for free weekly emails , visit