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AAAS Joins New Science Outreach Programs

AAAS is involved with two new science outreach programs announced at a 25 July event organized by the office of William Colglazier, science and technology adviser for the U.S. Department of State.

The first is called Networks of Diasporas in Engineering and Science (or NODES), a joint effort by Colglazier’s office, AAAS and the National Academy of Sciences to help the large number of highly trained scientists and engineers who have immigrated to the United States connect their talents with needs in their countries of origin.

The participants will use their contacts, both in the United States and in their home countries, to develop new scientific and institutional collaborations and spread scientific values—such as transparency and meritocracy—that can help foster economic growth and democracy.

The second program, the Science, Technology and Innovation Expert Partnership, will bring U.S. technology experts to foreign audiences through outreach efforts by U.S. embassies abroad.

Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns announced the creation of the NODES program, saying: “We believe that, by combining our science diplomacy and our outreach to diasporas, we can push the envelope not just on what we know, but on who enjoys the benefits of that knowledge. We can prove through practice that one nation’s benefit need not be another’s loss. And we can help our scientists achieve what nations struggle so mightily to do: come together to solve the challenges we cannot solve on our own.”

Under the new initiative, Burns said, members of science diasporas will convene regularly in partnership with U.S. government technical agencies, academia, and science and technology groups such as AAAS. He said a yearly gathering at the AAAS Annual Meeting “will serve as a catalyst for mobilizing new constituencies, launching new capacity-building activities, and sharing resources in partnership with the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance.”


Vaughan C. Turekian and Shirley Malcom

As part of the launch of the second initiative, Alan I. Leshner, chief executive officer of AAAS, and representatives of 10 other science organizations were on hand to sign a memorandum of understanding on the expert partnership with Colglazier; Tara Sonenshine, the State Department’s under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs; and Daniel Clune, acting assistant secretary in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Vaughan C. Turekian, AAAS chief international officer and editor-in-chief of the new AAAS publication, Science & Diplomacy, said the new expert partnership will help expand the reach of U.S. scientists who already are abroad for scientific meetings or other activities. They will be offered opportunities to travel to nearby countries to lecture, under the auspices of the local American embassies, on important scientific and technological issues. Each of the partnership organizations will identify experts willing to participate in the program.

The announcement of the new science outreach initiatives was made in conjunction with the second annual Global Diaspora Forum, a 25-26 July conference organized by the State Department to recognize and celebrate the work of diaspora communities in the United States and encourage them to contribute to the development of their countries of origin.

Turekian and Shirley Malcom, head of AAAS Education and Human Resources programs, participated in a 26 July science diaspora conference associated with the Forum.


Learn more about the new AAAS online publication Science & Diplomacy.

Learn more about the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy.