AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation
2008 Award Recipient
Thomas R. Pickering
Thomas R. Pickering
Thomas R. Pickering is honored for his commitment to advancing the application of science and technology for diplomacy.
Established in 1992, the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation recognizes an individual or group for making extraordinary contributions to further international cooperation in science and engineering. The recipient receives $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.
Thomas Pickering’s career spans more than five decades as a U.S. diplomat, serving as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Ambassador to the United Nations, to Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan and El Salvador. He holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service. He has held numerous other positions in the State Department, including Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to Secretaries Rogers and Kissinger, and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES).
During his career in U.S. missions abroad, Ambassador Pickering extended the traditional environment, science and technology (EST) officers’ responsibilities to include coordination with other elements of the embassy’s overall mission and required that reports on issues ranging from politics, economics, commerce, and public diplomacy include scientific and technological dimensions. He supported the establishment of bilateral science and technology agreements, recognizing that they facilitated the exchange of ideas and expertise that support the interests of domestic and foreign parties.
As OES Assistant Secretary, he brought science and technology to the forefront of U.S. diplomacy and global attention to issues like nuclear affairs, oceans and fisheries management, global environmental stewardship, and strengthening bilateral scientific and technological collaboration across a range of disciplines. Today, he continues to serve on committees and boards that bring science and technology together with foreign policy interests.
Ambassador Pickering has received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to science and technology and U.S. diplomacy, including the Distinguished Presidential Award (1984 and 1986) and the Distinguished Service Award (1996), the Department of State’s highest honor. The State Department established the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship program which offers undergraduate fellowships to students pursuing Foreign Service careers with the U.S. Department of State.
Ambassador Pickering received his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in history, from Bowdoin College (1953) and his master’s degree from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (1954). He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Melbourne in Australia, and received a second master’s degree in 1956. He was awarded an honorary doctor-in-laws degree from Bowdoin College (1984), and received similar honors from 12 other universities. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1959 and later served in the Naval Reserve to the grade of Lieutenant Commander.
Ambassador Pickering retired in 2006 as Senior Vice President of International Relations for Boeing. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of Hills & Company, an international consulting firm providing advice to U.S. businesses on investment, trade, and risk assessment issues abroad, particularly in emerging market economies.