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Science Diplomacy 2017

1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC

The AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy hosted the third annual science diplomacy conference, “Science Diplomacy 2017,” on March 29, 2017, at AAAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. following the AAAS Forum on Science & Technology.

The one-day conference brought scientists, policymakers, practitioners, and students together around emerging aspects of science diplomacy. You can watch all sessions from Science Diplomacy 2017 and download the full conference report

Agenda (as of March 28, 2017)

8:00 AM

Registration Opens (pre-registered attendees only)

8:45 AM

Opening Plenary



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

Opening Remarks

Rush Holt
Chief Executive Officer, AAAS  

Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals*

Session Organizer and Moderator:

E. William Colglazier
Member, 10-Member Group of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism
Editor-in-Chief, Science & Diplomacy

  • Hana S. AlHashimi | Happiness Representative, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the UN
  • Tateo Arimoto | Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan
  • Román Macaya Hayes | Ambassador of Costa Rica to the United States
  • Jerry Miller | Director, Science and Technology for Sustainability, U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Vaughan Turekian | Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State

10:00 AM

Coffee Break

10:30 AM

Morning Parallel Sessions


What’s in a wall? Security, Economics, Human Rights, and Conservation on the U.S.-Mexico Border*

The U.S.-Mexico border has been a topic of intense debate and will likely be a central policy issue in the first months of the Trump administration. Posed as an important site for the maintenance of national security, this nearly 2000-mile expanse is also one that bears biodiversity and ecosystem significance on both sides of the border.  This panel seeks to better understand the intersection of science and technology with national security, human rights, environmental and cultural resources along U.S.-Mexico border. Furthermore, this panel will highlight how science and technology may be further leveraged to promote bilateral discourse between the United States and Mexico that ensures all of these interests are upheld.

Session Organizer and Moderator:

Alice Pennaz
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, U.S. Geological Survey

  • Charles Cuvelier | Chief Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Services, National Park Service
  • Christopher Wilson | Director of the Mexico Institute, Wilson Center
  • Steven Young | Former Co-chair of the Border Indicators Task Force for the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Border Environmental Program, Environmental Protection Agency

Intersections of Security and Science in the Circumpolar Arctic

As Arctic sea ice melts and permafrost thaws, competition for resources and economic opportunities could increase. Security and science in this increasingly volatile, fragile area are of paramount importance, not only to practice stewardship of the region itself, but also to maintain peaceful relationships and to practice diplomatic measures that could benefit the globe. Science diplomacy will play a large role in how indigenous people, the eight circumpolar countries, and other interested nations negotiate complicated economic, security, and environmental interests while attempting to maintain strong scientific ties, particularly with the new U.S. administration. The session will focus specifically on “hot spots” where scientific interests overlap with indigenous folkways, with development projects and with security issues. The panel will explore how science diplomacy facilitates productive scientific collaboration while also supporting security needs. How can these sectors work together, and what science diplomacy measures should be taken next?

Session Organizer and Moderator:

Cyan James
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Department of Defense

  • Anjuli Bamzai | Program Director, Arctic Natural Sciences, National Science Foundation
  • Sherri Goodman | Senior Fellow, Polar Initiative, Environmental Change and Security Program, Global Women's Leadership Initiative, Wilson Center 
  • Seth Andre Myers | Senior Fellow and Leadership Group Member, Arctic Institute

Science Diplomacy in Small Islands Developing States

Since 1992, the UN recognizes a distinct group of fifty developing, low-lying coastal countries known as Small Islands Developing States (SIDS). This group of small countries constitute roughly five percent of the global population.The member-states share the same challenges in terms of scarce resources, vulnerability to natural disasters, dependency on international trade, and small but growing populations in narrow and sometimes submerging portions of land. In line with the SAMOA Pathway approved at the Third International Conference on SIDS in 2014 and the UNESCO SIDS Action Plan adopted in 2016, this session will review imminent climate change issues within these countries. How can science and diplomacy, particularly climate change diplomacy, provide SIDS with opportunities in terms of public wellbeing, international relations and sustainable development?

Session Organizer:

Casimiro Vizzini
Expert, Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building, International Basic Science Program, UNESCO


Leo Trembley
Program Specialist, Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building, International Basic Science Program, UNESCO

  • Yoko Ebisawa | Project Manager, Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership 
  • José S. Gomez-Soliño | Professor, University of La Laguna and co-director, CampusAFRICA 2014 and 2016
  • Christine Greene | Honorary Counsel to the United States, Sovereign Republic of Kiribati
  • Gregory S. Stone | Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist for Oceans, Conservation International

12:00 PM

Lunch (provided)


Attendees are welcome to bring lunch to the following session, which will begin at 12:30 PM. 

Building a Science Diplomacy Education Community: Perspectives from Young Actors in the Field

This session will feature graduate students of diverse backgrounds who are currently pursuing an interest in science diplomacy and creating opportunities in the field for students in the United States and beyond. The session will discuss the multitude of paths towards a career in science diplomacy, the various educational opportunities that are emerging in the field, and the critical role of universities and scientific organizations in advancing science diplomacy education and training. Building on the careers and aspirations of the panelists, the session will discuss the opportunities and challenges of developing science diplomacy curricula, the importance of experiential learning, and the need to further develop the field and opportunities for aspiring science diplomats.

Session Organizer and Panelist: 

Jean-Christophe Mauduit
Graduate Student, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Former Research Scholar, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy


Marga Gual Soler
Project Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy

  • Aditya Kaushik | Graduate Student, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
  • Dennis Schroeder | Graduate Student, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Former Iran Country Director, DAAD
  • Malgorzata (Gosia) Smieszek | Researcher, Arctic Centre in the University of Lapland, and International Arctic Science Committee Fellow

1:30 PM

Afternoon Parallel Sessions I


Ensuring a Safe, Secure and Sustainable Space Environment

Space security is a truly trans-boundary issue and is of critical and ever-increasing importance. We depend on satellites for GPS navigation and timing information, communications, weather, TV, banking, the military and more. The orbital space environment is threatened both by man-made debris and natural space weather. Additionally, the potential weaponization of space, via anti-satellite weapons and cyberattacks on ground stations, has continued to be an ongoing discussion in the space security community. This session hosts a group of experts to discuss the diverse perspectives on space security, both technical and diplomatic.

Session Organizer and Moderator:

Yousaf Butt
Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State

  • Laura Grego | Senior Scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Theresa Hitchens | Senior Research Scholar, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, University of Maryland, and Former Director, UN Institute for Disarmament Research
  • Audrey Schaffer | Director, Space Strategy and Plans, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Observatories, Science Diplomacy and Ocean Governance

While the scientific and technological dimensions of ocean observatories are widely discussed, the political and security dimensions have only begun to be touched upon. This session focuses on how to best balance the scientific, as well as state economic and security interests facing ocean observatories. This issue is a major test case of the conceptual and practical merits of science diplomacy in the management of international spaces beyond national jurisdiction. As such, this session contributes to reflections on the AAAS/Royal Society conclusion that "international spaces beyond national jurisdictions cannot be managed through conventional models of governance and diplomacy, and will require flexible approaches to international cooperation, informed by scientific evidence and underpinned by practical scientific partnerships."

Session Organizer and Moderator:

Jan-Stefan Fritz
Senior Associate Research Fellow, Institute of International and Intercultural Studies, University of Bremen, and Head, KDM German Marine Research Consortium (Brussels)

  • Kristina Gjerde | High-Seas Policy Advisor, World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Adjunct Professor, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey 
  • Janice Romaguera Trotte Duhá | Special Advisor, Directorate-General for Science, Nuclear and Technological Development
  • Zdenka Willis | Former Director, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, NOAA and Captain, U.S. Navy (retired)

Broadening the Tent: A One Health Approach to Global Health Diplomacy*

How can science diplomacy be used as a foundation for improving capacity, knowledge and networks to detect, predict and mitigate disease threats? The dramatic rise in emerging infectious disease outbreaks of international concern has created an unprecedented challenge for the global community. In addition to disease burden, epidemics and pandemics impose high economic costs on communities, industries, gross domestic products, and development donors. Developing nations, lacking public health infrastructure, are often hit hardest; yet global health security relies on strong human and animal health systems of all nations. Reflecting on impacts of Ebola, Zika and other recent epidemics, panel experts will discuss opportunities for the international community to optimize investments in prevention. The session will also discuss advancing foundational concepts on ways that human, animal and environmental science can build successful diplomatic ties toward cost-effective optimization of local and global health. 

Session Organizer and Moderator:

Ellen P. Carlin
Senior Health and Policy Specialist, EcoHealth Alliance

  • Franck Berthe | Senior Livestock Specialist, World Bank; Coordinator, Livestock Global Alliance
  • Dennis Carroll | Director, Emerging Threats Program, USAID
  • Catherine Machalaba | Health and Policy Program Coordinator, EcoHealth Alliance

3:00 PM

Coffee Break

3:30 PM

Afternoon Parallel Sessions II


Cybersecurity: Multilateral Relations and our National Security*

The world is linked by a highly complex network of wires, satellites and antennas. The flow and availability of information greatly benefits society: drives the economy, promotes scientific and technological advances, and enhances social interactions. However, this connectivity has also made countries vulnerable, potentially putting the economy, critical infrastructure and national security at risk. It is crucial to establish collaborations with foreign governments to ensure that the borderless cyber-infrastructure is safe from attacks that jeopardize governments and the safeguard and flow of information.

It is not yet clear what should be the role of different stakeholders in managing cybersecurity and what are the challenges and opportunities to integrate existing and new strategies.

Whether we focus on education, prevention, risk management, deterrence, or treat cybersecurity as a public good, is still up for debate. This panel explore a variety of perspectives within the cybersecurity domain, and foster a conversation to identify alignments and misalignments between the different strategies implemented by the stakeholders in the national and international arenas.

In this session, we will draw from recent cases, and address how this conversation can highlight new ways to mediate tensions and forge a path forward to better bilateral and multilateral cyber relations. 

Session Organizer:

Alejandro de la Puente
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation (NSF)


Sarah C. Flores
Science Education Analyst, NSF

  • Diana Burley | Executive Director & Chair, Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection; Professor, Human & Organizational Learning, George Washington University; and Researcher, Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute
  • Matthew Noyes | Cyber Policy Advisor, United States Secret Service
  • Adam Sedgewick | Senior Information Technology Policy Advisor, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 

Practicing Science Diplomacy at Museums and Science Centers

Natural history museums and science centers are places of wonder that offer opportunities to educate and engage their audiences. Scientists working in these informal education venues are themselves practitioners of science communication, dissemination and diplomacy. Field expeditions to learn about and describe biological and cultural diversity and the history of life and civilization generally require museum scientists engage on a global scale with their counterparts to gain access to field sites, samples, and permits, and to begin a discourse of the study target. In these cases museum scientists are working at transboundaries that are beyond politics but that can generally facilitate policy, such as with climate change and conservation issues.

This panel will discuss the intersection in which natural history museums and science centers are arenas for shaping and guiding science diplomacy as it pertains to working with nations of conflict, tackling STEM education, and conserving endangered species. Media pieces from the recently opened ¡Cuba! exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History will be displayed in the lobby of AAAS to accompany the panel. 

Session Organizer and Moderator:

Mandë Holford
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, CUNY Hunter College and Graduate Center; American Museum of Natural History

  • Ana Luz Porzecanski | Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History
  • David Schindel | Executive Secretary, Consortium for the Barcode of Life
  • Walter Staveloz | Director International Relations, Association of Science-Technology Centers
5:00 PM

Closing Plenary


Carl June
Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

6:00 PM

Reception and Poster Session


X-ray astronomy beyond U.S. borders
Kimberley Arcand
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory / NASA Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Education as a high-powered Sustainable Development Goal: obstacles and interventions
Marie Crouzevialle
New York University

Collaborative photography project: presenting “Iran beyond politics” through a cultural lens     
MaryAm Ghadiri
Purdue University

Novel cancer treatment: an opportunity to further improve Cuban-U.S. relations
Elizabeth Gonzalez
University of Pennsylvania

NIDA International Program: promoting diplomacy and addiction research 
Steven Gust
National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH

Global health and science policy learning initiative: epidemiological analysis of disease burden on the Korean peninsula
Sharon Kim
University of Pennsylvania

NYU science diplomacy course and club for STEM graduate students & postdocs
Ursula Koniges
New York University

Science for diplomacy: engaging experts to revitalize the biological weapons convention
Kirk Lancaster
University of Chicago

Introducing science diplomacy at the university level: challenges and lessons learned
Enrique Lin Shiao
University of Pennsylvania

The need for scientific collaborations across Latin America: applying effective policies to reduce chronic illnesses
Diana Ochoa
University of Pennsylvania

U.S.-Philippines: exposing underserved youth to science and technology         
Sophia Reeder
University of Pennsylvania

The global diffusion of STA: workhorses of D4S or lame ducks?
Nicolas Rüffin
WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Mental health on the rise: a global challenge and collaborative opportunity
Aaron Tatad
University of Pennsylvania

Science Soapbox: utilizing the podcast as a platform to connect science with policy and global affairs
Maryam Zaringhalam, Avital Percher and Devon Collins
The Rockefeller University






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