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AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy Welcomes Security and Public Health Expert David Hamburg

Psychiatrist-physician David A. Hamburg, a winner of the 1996 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States, has agreed to join AAAS as a visiting scholar within the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy (CSTSP) and the International Office.

David A. Hamburg

Hamburg, president emeritus at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and also a former president of AAAS and the Institute of Medicine, is expected to apply his broad expertise in support of the AAAS Center’s goal to advance the integration of science and public policy for national and international security.

“We are deeply honored to be able to work with someone of David Hamburg’s stature and experience,” said Center Director Gerald Epstein. “His depth of knowledge, his vision, and his record of leadership in science, technology, policy, and international security will be tremendously valuable to the Center and to the rest of AAAS.”

Hamburg, author of Preventing Genocide: Practical Steps Toward Early Detection and Effective Action, was a member of the U.S. Defense Policy Board with Secretary of Defense William Perry, and co-chair with former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. His diverse experience spans the realms of public health, national security, diplomacy, and policy.

Hamburg is currently DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholar at Weill Cornell Medical College where in recent years he has published several books and a documentary on prevention of mass violence. He has also fostered the creation of new initiatives in the United Nations and the European Union on prevention of genocide. His continuing work in this field will establish an ongoing relationship between AAAS and Cornell.

“He will bring a tremendous range of insights to the association’s security and international initiatives, based on his long and exceptionally distinguished career,” said Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer and executive publisher of Science. “His acceptance of the visiting scholar position was a real coup for AAAS.”

In 1997, Hamburg received the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Sciences “for his dedication to improving the quality of life for young people, for his efforts to prevent violent conflict among nations, and for his effective leadership of the Carnegie Corporation, which has brought science and technology to bear on today’s leading issues.”

Past AAAS President Peter H. Raven said at that time: “Dr. Hamburg embodies the union of scientific rigor with humane concerns. As a researcher and public-policy maker, he has focused his considerable experience and abilities on serious national issues where science can affect public policy.”

Science Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts noted that Hamburg “has worked diligently to improve the well-being and education of young people and the underprivileged, while also creating a stronger structure for science and technology in government.”

Hamburg’s career began in the 1950s when he pioneered studies of stress and anxiety, encompassing physiological and behavioral factors, while working at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Institute for Psychosomatic and Psychiatric Research and Training at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He also has served on the faculties of Stanford and Harvard universities, and he was chief of the adult psychiatry branch at the National Institutes of Health (1958-1961).

In 1975, “Hamburg faced a crisis that would change his focus from research to the broader social problems of our time,” the National Academy of Sciences has reported. “Four of his students, working at the Gombe Station in Tanzania to study primate behavior, were kidnapped by rebels from Zaire and held for ransom and other demands … His vivid exposure to violence, disease, ignorance, and poverty during this time prompted him to devote his energies to using science to help meet social needs.”

Hamburg is credited with expanding education efforts at the Carnegie Corporation of New York during his 14-year tenure as president. He also created an international peace program, while advancing the understanding of child and adolescent development and working toward democratization in Africa, the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the United States.