News: AAAS News & Notes
25 AUGUST 2006
Edited by Edward W. Lempinen
AAAS Aids Thriving Vietnam in S&T Development Campaign
China and India get most of the headlines, but Vietnam is quietly emerging as a powerhouse of Asian economic development. With an economic growth forecast of 7% per year over the next 5 years, it is second only to China, and like China, the nation’s leaders are focused on science and technology.
|Anthony “Bud” Rock, who oversees global engagement for Arizona State University (left); Bui Hai, Vietnam's vice minister of science and technology; and Vaughan Turekian, AAAS chief international officer.|
Now AAAS, joined by partners in U.S. government and education, is working with high-ranking Vietnamese leaders to promote S&T cooperation between the two countries and to encourage sustainable urban development and improved science education. Last May, a high-level delegation from the National Assembly of Vietnam visited AAAS in Washington, D.C., to discuss development of a legal framework that would encourage S&T growth in their country. In July, AAAS helped organize a high-level development conference in Hanoi.
"The leaders of Vietnam have a very clear understanding of the importance of S&T investment," said Vaughan Turekian, chief international officer at AAAS. "They see China, they see Korea and Japan, and they see that these countries are all investing heavily in science and technology."
Thirty-one years have passed since the bitter end of the Vietnam War, but the United States and Vietnam recently have built closer relations. The two nations restored diplomatic ties in 1995, and this spring, they agreed in principle on terms for Vietnam to join the World Trade Organization. In November, leaders of 21 Pacific Rim countries--including U.S. President George W. Bush--are scheduled to meet in the capital city of Hanoi for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
"The United States engages Vietnam on a broad spectrum of science and technology issues, a dialogue that has improved as the overall bilateral relationship has broadened," said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael W. Marine. "I believe that as Vietnam continues to develop, our cooperation on science and technology will continue to deepen."
Turekian and high-ranking officials from Arizona State University worked with the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology and the U.S. embassy to organize the Vietnam-U.S. Scientific Forum on 24 July, which explored issues of sustainability and science education. During the 5-day visit, the U.S. delegation was hosted by Bui Hai, Vietnam’s vice minister of science and technology, and also met with Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, among others.
Anthony "Bud" Rock, a career U.S. State Department diplomat who joined Arizona State this year with responsibility for the university’s global engagement portfolio, said that the university has a strong program in sustainable urban growth, while AAAS has an international network of scientists who can provide guidance as Vietnam works to strengthen university-based science education.
"Our goal is to work with the Vietnamese toward a science-based approach to policy development and a science-based approach to sustainable urban development," Rock said, "and to make science a cornerstone of education reform in the country."
Turekian said that the next step for AAAS may be to organize Vietnamese-U.S. scientific exchanges and workshops.
AAAS Has High Profile at Euroscience 2006
Hundreds of scientists, policy experts, and educators attended the second Euroscience Open Forum last month in Munich, and AAAS was prominent with a strong presentation on science communication, appearances by some of its top officials, and exhibition booths.
The AAAS delegation featured Chief International Officer Vaughan Turekian, Science International Managing Editor Andrew Sugden, and Ginger Pinholster, director of the Office of Public Programs. Science had a booth at the conference, as did EurekAlert!, the premier science-news service for reporters.
Pinholster headed a panel of U.S. and European communication experts before a packed room at the Forum am Deutschen Museum on 16 July. She detailed the results of a new survey that provided insight into the challenges confronting science journalists worldwide.
For scientists and their institutions, the survey of 614 reporters and 445 public information officers offered a compelling message: Reporters need experts who can articulate science and technology in a clear, compelling way. They need to know that researchers are trustworthy. And they need strong visual images to illustrate their stories.
Also featured on the panel were Gerd Gigerenzer of the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin; Julia Fischer of the German Primate Center in Göttingen, Germany; Clive Cookson, an editor for the Financial Times in London; Patrick Illinger, an editor for the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich; and Rick Weiss, a reporter for the Washington Post.
The panel was sponsored by the Max Planck Society and EurekAlert!.
A Week Among S&T Leaders
A cadre of top U.S. policy experts is scheduled to speak at this year’s AAAS Leadership Seminar in Science and Technology Policy, including John H. Marburger III, head of the president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy; David Kay, former U.N. chief nuclear weapons inspector in Iraq; and former U.S. Rep. John Porter (R-Ill.).
The third annual seminar runs from 13 to 17 November in Washington, D.C. Enrollment is limited to 30; the deadline is 13 October. For more information, see www.aaas.org/spp/leadership.