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Science Diplomacy 2016

1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC

The AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy will host a one-day conference that will cover aspects of science diplomacy and bring science diplomacy thinkers and practitioners together.  We hope you will join us on May 5.

Can't make it? We will be webcasting a few sessions and you can also follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #SciDip2016

Please also take a look at the resources we have available from last year's conference, Science Diplomacy 2015.



Registration Opens


Opening Plenary


Welcome: Tom Wang, Chief International Officer and Director, Center for Science Diplomacy, AAAS

Opening Remarks: Rush Holt, Chief Executive Officer, AAAS  

Keynote Address: Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, U.S. Department of State


Coffee Break


Morning Parallel Sessions


COP 21 and Science Diplomacy: Is Changing How We Work Together How We Stop Changing the Climate?

Watch the Webcast of this Session Live!

Reaching the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed to at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), will require an unprecedented level of international scientific cooperation in both climate science and technology development. This will require not only international agreements, but working-level relationships between scientists and engineers from countries that are often political and economic rivals. In developing countries, clean energy technologies must be considered in conjunction with both economic development and poverty reduction efforts.

This panel will examine the challenges and opportunities in these areas from three distinct perspectives. Robert Marlay will use his experience as the director of the Office of International Science and Technology Collaboration at the Department of Energy to provide a governmental perspective. Scot Martin, a researcher whose work in Amazonia addresses problems of air and water pollution and their relationship to climate change, will discuss scientific partnerships at the working level. Radha Muthiah will provide the perspective of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, a nongovernmental organization that addresses both public health and environmental impact in its mission.

Jennifer Turner, Director, China Environment Forum, Woodrow Wilson Center

Session Organizer:
Michael Martin, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy


  • Robert Marlay, Director, Office of International Science and Technology Collaboration, Department of Energy 
  • Scot Martin, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Harvard University
  • Radha Muthiah, Chief Executive Officer, The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves



Science Diplomacy in Korea: Case Studies and Future Policy Direction

Science diplomacy can help build bridges between nations even when political relationships are strained or nonexistent. North Korea is a case in point where science diplomacy may act as a pivotal tool for alleviating political tension and facilitating exchanges. As the reunification of North and South Koreas persists as an important long-term issue for Korea, the possibility of harnessing science and technology as a mediator has come into attention.

Much of the difficulty in identifying collaboration opportunities with North Korea arises from the fact that so little is known about the state of science and technology in North Korea. Following a brief overview of the history of science diplomacy, two presentations will attempt to shed some light on the matter: a survey on defector scientists and engineers from North Korea and a case study of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. A greater understanding of the scientific capacity of North Korea will enable South Korea and the international community to devise plans for exchanges.

The second half of the session will be devoted to a comparative study with the German reunification. Examining the changes in the science and technology scene before and after reunification in Germany, and drawing parallels with the case of Korea will provide insight into how science may help overcome differences.

Youngah Park, President, Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP)

Session Organizer:
Seung Jun Yoo, Korea Institute of Science & Technology Evaluation and Planning


  • Seung-Kyu Yi, Associate Research Fellow, Division of Technology Foresight, KISTEP
  • Chan-Mo Park, Chancellor, Pyongyang University of Science and Technology
  • Gerhard Heimpold, Deputy Head, Department of Structural Change and Productivity, Halle Institute for Economic Research, Leibniz Association
  • Phillip Eskeland, Executive Director, Korea Economic Institute of America
  • Joachim Ragnitz, Managing Director, Ifo Institute for Economic Research




Careers in Science Diplomacy

Are you interested in a career in science diplomacy? Join us for a lunch session and learn from leaders in the field.

Teresa Stoepler, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Geological Survey

Session Organizers:
Teresa Stoepler, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Geological Survey
Nick Anthis, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, USAID


  • Cathleen A. Campbell, President and Chief Executive Officer, CRDF Global
  • Genya Dana, Senior Science Policy Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Alex Dehgan, Co-founder, Conservation X Labs
  • Ana Elorza Moreno, Science Coordinator, Embassy of Spain


Afternoon Parallel Sessions I


Change by Exchange: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Iran and Egypt

Scientific and cultural exchanges established in mutual respect, alongside scientific collaboration, are essential schemes to build trust and create sustainable peace. This session will highlight two examples of the German Academic Exchange Service’s (DAAD) engagement relevant to science diplomacy in the MENA region: Iran and Egypt.  

Dennis Schroeder, head of DAAD office in Tehran, will provide insights into the recent establishment of the organization’s presence in Iran. Through successful negotiation and an open dialogue with relevant Iranian ministries, universities, and scientists, a solid bridge between scientific communities was re-established in spite of tensions and weak political ties. Since the establishment of the country office in Tehran, DAAD funded more than 600 Iranian students and researchers to visit Germany and more than 150 German students vice versa.

Christian Hülshörster, former director of the DAAD Cairo Office and currently in charge of Middle East affairs at DAAD HQ, will explain about DAAD's fifty-year-long engagement in Egypt, focusing on the role of science and higher education cooperation in times of crisis and emphasizing the role of almost ten thousand alumni in Egypt who are science diplomacy's most important asset. 

Abdel-Meguid Kassem, professor of Medicine at Cairo University, advisor to the Egyptian Ministries of Science and Health, and former DAAD scholarship holder, will complement this topic with his firsthand perspective on decades of science diplomacy. 

Zahar Barth-Manzoori, Head of Joint Scholarship Programmes Middle East, North Africa, DAAD Germany

Session Organizer:
Dennis Schroeder, Director, DAAD Tehran


  • Dennis Schroeder, Director, DAAD Tehran
  • Abdel-Meguid Kassem, Professor, Cairo University
  • Christian Hülshörster, Director of Scholarship Programmes, DAAD Germany

Sharing Data: Focusing on the Use of International Scientific Databases as an Important Tool in Science and Diplomacy

Free and open access to information is key to fostering scientific progress. Information held by one stakeholder may be vital for promoting research of another, the result of which could have shared benefits for people all over the world. As an emerging field of inquiry, data diplomacy explores how data-sharing helps create and support positive relationships between states to enable the use of data for societal benefit. In this sense free and open access to data goes beyond philanthropy and capacity building when engaging with some of the world’s biggest challenges. Issues that don’t discriminate against the wealth of a nation—such as the treatment of genetic disorders—can employ data-sharing as a starting point for improved international relationships as key stakeholders work together in the search for solutions to problems as relevant in Africa as they are in Asia, Europe, and America.

This session will draw on the knowledge and experience of three high level experts in data sharing working with programs implemented by UNESCO. These programs cover a number of important fields, namely management of water resources, disaster prevention, and the collection and curation of genetic information. The interactive session therefore aims to present the far-reaching implications of data sharing as it relates to diplomacy and promote discussion related to its higher-level impacts across these fields. It will explore shared experiences and differences between thematic areas as well as lessons learned for future initiatives, such as the forthcoming HVP/UNESCO Globin 2020 Challenge, and future directions for data diplomacy.

Ernesto Fernandez Polcuch, Chief of Section Science Policy and Partnerships, UNESCO

Session Organizer:
Casimiro Vizzini, UNESCO


  • Carsten W. Lederer, Lecturer, The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics
  • Aaron T. Wolf, Professor, Oregon State University
  • Paula Dunbar, Leader, Natural Hazards Team - Hazards Assessment, National Centers for Environmental Information


Coffee Break


Afternoon Parallel Sessions II


Opening Doors to Iran: Building Collaborations—The Opportunities & Challenges

Despite sanctions and political disputes between the United States and Iran over the past thirty-five years, both countries have encouraged cooperation in the fields of science and technology. Institutions and government officials leading these efforts have been optimistic about the impact that bilateral scientific collaboration can have in creating more positive exchanges and areas of agreement between the two countries.

In the midst of Iran’s isolation, the country has remained committed to excelling in education and scientific research. In an editorial published in Science in 2015, Mohammad Farhadi, Iran’s Minister of Science, Research and Technology, said that sanctions “pushed its science, industry, and service sectors to cooperate in new and fruitful ways and also forced scientists to work more creatively and promote a knowledge-based economy for the first time in Iran’s history.” Farhadi reported that today Iran has infrastructure for further science development: 2,500 higher education institutions, 400 nongovernmental scientific associations, and more than 800 research institutions.

Panelists will explore how the evolving political climate will impact the opportunity to build off of current and past collaborations.  U.S.-Iranian research teams have collaborated to address serious global concerns, such as public health, climate change, biodiversity, earthquake management, and water and sanitation. These joint efforts have yielded scientific studies, dialogues, and exchanges of high scientific merit. Panelists will discuss the impacts of these exchanges and future opportunities and challenges stemming from Iran’s recent nuclear agreement.

Siri Oswald, Director of Research Partnerships, CRDF Global

Session Organizer:
Brenna Hill, Director of Marketing, Communications & Client Relations, CRDF Global


  • Rich Stone, International News Editor, Science
  • Alex Dehgan, Co-founder, Conservation X Labs
  • Ali Douraghy, Senior International Programs Officer, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

Education in Science Diplomacy

Watch the Webcast of this Session Live!

There is a growing number of training initiatives geared toward providing science diplomacy knowledge and skills to both the scientific community and international relations professionals. This session will highlight current approaches to science diplomacy education at universities, research institutions, scientific societies, government agencies, think tanks, and international organizations at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. Speakers will reflect on the need to articulate integrated or systemic approaches to science diplomacy education that may be generally applicable to different stakeholders and communities of research and practice in the United States and globally.

Mandë Holford, Associate Professor, The City University of New York, Hunter College; Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH); Co-Director of the Hurford Science Diplomacy Initiative at Rockefeller University

Session Organizer:
Mandë Holford, Associate Professor, The City University of New York, Hunter College; Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History (AMNH); Co-Director of the Hurford Science Diplomacy Initiative at Rockefeller University


  • Kathryn Olesko, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
  • Melody Brown Burkins, Dartmouth College, Associate Director for Programs & Research, John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding; Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Matthew Daniels, Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Aerospace Engineer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration  


Closing Plenary "Connecting Science to Policy Around the World"


Watch the Webcast of this Session Live!

Opening Remarks:
Cynthia Robinson, Director, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

Marga Gual Soler, Project Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy

Session Organizer:
Marga Gual Soler, Project Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy


  • Chris Tyler, Director, UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Jose Franco, Director, Science Outreach Center, National University of Mexico
  • Addie Ryan, Finance and Operations Manager, ASEAN-U.S. PROGRESS


Reception and Poster Session



A Model for Science Diplomacy Exposure and Training in Graduate-Level Science Education     
Enrique Lin Shiao             
University of Pennsylvania

A Science Diplomacy Agenda for the European Union
Leonie Maes
Vrije Universiteit Brussel

A Student Led Initiative to Promote Cuba-USA Relations through Scientific Exchange   
Leilani Chirino 
University of Pennsylvania

And Then There Were Many: The Spanish Scientific Diaspora   
Mireia Crispin   
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Antarctica: Science Diplomacy and International Cooperation Protect the Global Commons      
Cecilia G. Flocco               
Alexander von Humboldt Fellow

Diplomacy for Science: Strategies to Promote International Collaboration         
Igor Linkov         
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center

Initiating Science Diplomacy in Complex Environments: NTI-CENESS Nuclear Dialogues              
Charles Powell
Nuclear Threat Initiative

International Public Science Programs as Grassroots Science Diplomacy              
Kimberly Arcand              
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory/NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Iran Beyond Politics, Creating a Cultural Bridge through a Photo Exhibition          
MaryAm  Ghadiri                             
Purdue University

Medical and Science Engagement in North Korea           
Sharon  Kim       
Friends in Health DPRK, Penn Science Diplomacy Group - University of Pennsylvania

NYU Science Diplomacy Course for STEM Graduate Students & Postdocs            
Ursula   Koniges               
New York University (NYU)

Public Policy in Latin America: Learning from Each Other to Reduce the Burden of Chronic Diseases in the Region          
Maria Alejandra Paniagua            
University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine

Public Understanding of Science Diplomacy: An Empirical Analysis of Images within the U.S. Newspapers
Mohammad Halimi         
Virginia Tech

Science Soapbox: Using Podcasting to Engage In Policy & Advocacy from The Ivory Tower
Maryam Zaringhalam, Avital Percher, Devon Collins        
The Rockefeller University

Solar Thermal Technology in Malaysia: Potential, Barriers, and Action Plans for the Industry
Nofri Yenita       
Dahlan  Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Shah Alam, Malaysia




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