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Annual Meeting Agenda Suggests Role for Science in Resisting Terrorism
Even before the terrorist attacks of 11 September transformed everything that followed, the 2002 AAAS Annual Meeting had been planned around the theme of science in an interconnected world.
“Now more than ever we are forced to realize how inter-dependent we all are,” says Peter Raven, AAAS President and Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden. “September 11 revealed in a stark and negative way the absolute necessity for mutual understanding and the need to use our scientific and technological advances to create the kind of world we all want to live in.”
Raven’s plenary talk, on 14 February, is entitled, “Linking People and Cultures: Where Does Science Fit?” The next evening, Ismail Serageldin, Director General of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Distinguished Professor at the Wageningen University in The Netherlands, will speak about “Science and Poverty: Challenges for a Connected World.”
A special web page set up by the AAAS Meetings Department alerts meeting attendees to the special sessions on “Responding to September 11.” Entitled “Understanding the Threat...And the Role of Science,” the site lists sessions on “Afghanistan and Terrorism: World Transformation?”, “Bioterrorism in a Threatening World,” and “Arms Control Agreements in a Threatening World.”
While addressing the question of what science can do to respond to terrorism and to the conditions that breed it, Raven notes that the 2002 annual meeting continues to embrace its traditional mission to serve as a meeting place for all fields of science.
“No one understands the whole body of knowledge that comprises science, but we come to the AAAS Annual Meeting to support one another by trying to understand the other’s field of study,” Raven says. “It also helps us to judge the work of other scientists and to test the edges of our own disciplines to see what other directions we might like to go in.”
-- Coimbra Sirica