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AAAS Caribbean Unit to Meet on Zika, Local Policy, and Engaging Kids

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San Juan Puerto Rico
The 2016 meeting of the AAAS Caribbean Division will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. | amadeustx/Adobe Stock

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AAAS’ Caribbean Division will meet 10 September in San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the banner of “Science for a Resilient Society: Communication, Policy, and Beyond.” The daylong event, which is open for registration and free of charge for participants, will bring together leaders in the Puerto Rican and international scientific communities to discuss science communication and the integration of science into policies to develop sustainable communities.

“Science can provide us the tools to resolve the biggest challenges we face as a society, such as climate change, food insecurity, and the spread of infectious diseases,” said Juan S. Ramírez Lugo, president of the Caribbean Division, in a news release. “We must transform scientific innovation into practical solutions.”

Featured speakers include Rush Holt, chief executive officer of AAAS and publisher of the Science family of journals. Holt, who represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years, will speak about the importance of evidence-based thinking among policymakers.

Also speaking is Marga Gual Soler, project manager for AAAS’ Center for Science Diplomacy in the Office of International and Security Affairs, who will discuss scientific diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Giovanna Guerrero, executive director of Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), will deliver the third plenary address, titled “Connecting Science and Puerto Rico to Bring About Cultural Change.”

The meeting celebrates the 10th anniversary of the founding of CienciaPR, highlighting the nonprofit’s science communication work and its efforts in building a community among scientists on the island, and in the Puerto Rican community abroad.

Participants can choose from three concurrent workshops:

  • Science Communication for Zika Prevention: A Practical Workshop #SciComm4Zika
  • How Researchers in Puerto Rico Can Influence Local Science Policy #SciPol4PR
  • Engaging Future Scientists: Science Workshops for Kids.

Two awards will be presented during the meeting. The Lucy Gaspar Excellence in Science Education Award is given annually to a K-12 teacher in the Caribbean region to recognize excellence in science education. The Robert I. Larus Prize recognizes the best poster by a graduate student in the natural, physical, or social sciences. The prize provides travel funds for the winning student to present their poster at the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

AAAS’s three regional divisions — Pacific, Arctic, and Caribbean — serve as networks for scientists, organizing meetings on topics relevant to the area, and promoting publications from scientists active within the division. The AAAS Caribbean Division, founded in 1985, includes more than 500 members throughout Puerto Rico, Central America, the islands of the Caribbean Basin, Venezuela, and southern Mexico.

[Associated image: mikolajn/Adobe Stock]