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AAAS Science, Technology and Human Rights Conference 2020: Day 2 Program

This year's virtual conference brings together human rights leaders from around the world, academic researchers across different disciplines, scientists and engineers who work in private industry, government officials, members of impacted and vulnerable communities, and students in science, engineering, human rights, health and law. Together we share progress made towards building effective partnerships between the scientific community and human rights communities, identify and evaluate potential future actions, and develop collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches to the most urgent human rights challenges ahead of us.

DAY 2: Friday, OCTOBER 23

Friday, October 23


All times on this agenda are in Eastern Time.

9:00 a.m.

Challenges and Opportunities for Science in the West Bank and Gaza

Plenary Panel

Scientists in the West Bank and Gaza face many challenges including shortages of water, food, and electricity, strict visa restrictions, raids and forced closures of universities, a lack of funding and investment in science, and severe limitations on availability of equipment and experimental resources. Nevertheless, Palestinians remain steadfast in their determination to pursue science. For example, the West Bank and Gaza’s high-tech sector is booming with young and highly educated founders. In fact, the West Bank and Gaza has one of the highest-educated populations in the world, with over 25% of the population of 18-24 year-olds enrolled in university, almost double the average for the Arab region. Roughly half of those students are women, a ratio among the highest in the world. Palestinian scientists have also joined international collaborations, such as CERN, the world’s largest particle accelerator. Panelists will share first-hand perspectives on the situation of scientists in the West Bank and Gaza and participants will learn about opportunities for scientists around the world to collaborate and take action.

George Smith, University of Missouri and 2018 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Samah Jabr, Palestinian Ministry of Health
Tarek Loubani, University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute
Rana Samara, Dean of Scientific Research and Associate Professor of Entomology and Biological Control in the Department of Horticulture and Agriculture Extension at the Palestine Technical U. at Kadoorie, in the West Bank

10:15 a.m.


On-Demand Science and Technology Showcase

10:30 a.m.

The Illiberal State against Science and Culture: The Case of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Plenary Panel

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) was founded in 1825 to promote scientific research in Hungary. It was created and maintained with the support of private benefactors. It has since become a national symbol of scientific endeavor and a major center of cultural life in Hungary. In 2018, the Hungarian Government decided to reorganize the entire sector of research, development and innovation in Hungary in order to improve Hungary’s innovation and competitiveness positions in the EU. However, the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (MIT), entitled to carry out this plan, introduced its arbitrary and permanently changing plan without proper reform planning and the necessary consultations with those affected. At the end of a year-long struggle between the Government and the HAS, on 2 July 2019 the Parliament adopted a Bill that deprived the independent Academy of its research network and placed it under governmental control. This new law radically narrows the framework of independent scientific institutions in Hungary and violates academic freedom in many respects.

Márton Zászkaliczky, Hungarian Academy Staff Forum (HASF)/Károli Gáspár University of the Hungarian Reformed Church (Budapest)
Viktor Olivér Lőrincz, HASF/Centre for Social Sciences - Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) Centre of Excellence, Institute for Legal Studies
László Péter, HASF/ Wigner Research Centre for Physics - HAS Centre of Excellence
Judit Gárdos, HASF/ Centre for Social Sciences - HAS Centre of Excellence, Institute for Sociology

11:45 a.m.


On-Demand Science and Technology Showcase

Student E-Poster Sessions

12:00 p.m.

Keynote Address: Angela Saini

In conversation with Matiangai Sirleaf, Nathan Patz Professor of Law, The University of Maryland School of Law

Angela Saini

Angela Saini is an award-winning British science journalist and broadcaster. She presents science programs on the BBC, and her writing has appeared in New Scientist, The Sunday Times, National Geographic and Wired. Her latest book, Superior: the Return of Race Science, was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and named a book of the year by The Telegraph, Nature and Financial Times. Her previous book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, has been translated into thirteen languages. Angela has a Masters in Engineering from the University of Oxford and was a Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

12:45 p.m.


On-Demand Science and Technology Showcase

Student E-Poster Sessions

1:00 p.m.

Smart Cities are Not the Same as Resilient Cities

Plenary Panel

Smart cities have been heralded as the mechanism for positively transforming our communities. For several years now, research agencies and foundations have prioritized technology innovation as a way of bringing forth economic opportunity and community enrichment. The COVID-19 experience has shown that two distinct strata currently exist: those with access to technology and those without access, and those without access suffer disproportionately more in other areas of concern: access to safe transport, food, housing security and education to name just a few. In this session, we will focus on the human rights issues that arise when technology becomes the central focus in society, to the degree it obscures a far greater range of inequities. We will frame our discussion around human rights gaps in critical infrastructure as they manifest in education, public transportation, and governance and examine how social partnerships stepped in to address these gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ariel Bierbaum, Urban Studies and Planning, University of Maryland
Matthew Palm, University of Toronto Scarborough
Alex Karner, Urban Planning, University of Texas
Deb Niemeier, University of Maryland

2:15 p.m.


On-Demand Science and Technology Showcase

Student E-Poster Sessions

2:30 p.m.

It's Nowhere or Nothing if Not Open: Successful Scholarship in a Time of Pandemic

Concurrent Session 1 of 5

This session will cover an introduction to how scholarly communication has evolved, how information is being used and how a commitment to more open science is demonstrated. Attendees will be encouraged to share how they conducted their work during 2020 and what impacts the pandemic had on their research process. Attendees will break into group chat rooms to discuss whether their work had new value, was impacted in different ways and whether it led to perhaps new methods and outputs that have lasting impact. Public perceptions of the scientific and medical communities with first responders across the health and life sciences, and those that contribute to the supply chain for materials, supplies and service will be woven into the workshop as essential components of successful scholarship in this workshop. We want to learn how reliant this new science is on the open sourcing of science information and how committed these contributors are to sharing their work in open sources, practicing open science by sharing the data and information with readers globally. The major human rights problem is confirming how open access is increasingly the norm and how the information industry has demonstrated that it can work together to achieve open science.

Julia Gelfand, University of California, Irvine
Laura Bowering Mullen, Rutgers University

2:30 p.m.

Is there a Place for Human Rights in Housing Policy?: Multidisciplinary Network Approaches to Policy Advocacy

Concurrent Session 2 of 5

The workshop will focus on presenting the Center for Equitable Policy in a Changing World's (EPCW) pilot network model as an example for how multidisciplinary sources can be used for effective policy evaluation and development and will allocate its time roughly evenly among 1) presentation of our pilot model, 2) the importance of a communication and advocacy plan, 3) how the model can manifest different “what-if” scenarios, and 4) discussion and debate of the factors which connect individuals in the model.

To facilitate the conversation, participants will be provided with browser-based interactive access to a working model, allowing them to start manipulating the qualitative and quantitative inputs to explore hypothetical scenarios (to cite potential examples: what happens when one adds rent control, a universal basic income, tax incentives for landlords or homeowners?).

Valerie F. Strickland Hunt, Center for Equitable Policy in a Changing World
Richard Sharp, Center for Equitable Policy in a Changing World
Sean Watkins, Housing Policy Advisor, Center for Equitable Policy in a Changing World
Patrick W. Zimmerman, Center for Equitable Policy in a Changing World

2:30 p.m.

Ask Me Anything

Engaging University Administration in Bringing Human Rights to Campus

Concurrent Session 3 of 5

Jeffrey H. Toney, Kean University

Ask Me Anything

Engaging Students in Human Rights Projects as Part of STEM Curricula

Concurrent Session 4 of 5

Natallia Sianko, Clemson University

Ask Me Anything

Engaging Scientific Association Leadership in Human Rights Issues

Concurrent Session 5 of 5

Dorothy Phillips, American Chemical Society
Lori Brown, American Chemical Society

4:00 p.m.


On-Demand Science and Technology Showcase

Student E-Poster Sessions

4:15 p.m.

How Scientists Can be Involved in the Run Up to the 2020 Election

This session will cover how scientists can be involved in campaigning and other political activities during the 2020 election. Attorney Augusta Wilson will discuss issues such as whether scientists can donate to a candidate, volunteer for a campaign, and engage in other political activities. The goal is to ensure that researchers understand how to participate in politics to the fullest extent possible while minimizing any negative repercussions in their professional lives.

Wilson will discuss certain limitations on political expression and involvement likely to be relevant for many scientists during campaign season, particularly the Hatch Act. She’ll also talk about how the First Amendment protects scientists’ rights—both government employees and those in the private sector—to participate in political activism.

Augusta Wilson, Staff Attorney, Climate Science Legal Defense Fund

5:00 p.m.

Conference Adjourns

Thank you for attending this year's conference!