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Science Diplomacy 2017


The AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy hosted its third annual conference, “Science Diplomacy 2017,” on March 29, 2017, at the AAAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. following the AAAS Forum on Science & Technology. On this page, you can find video footage, summaries, and information about speakers.

SAVE THE DATE! Please mark your calendars for Science Diplomacy 2018 on September 14.




The Sustainable Development Goals

The U.S.-Mexico Border

The Circumpolar Arctic

Small Islands Developing States

SciDip Education Network

Ocean Governance

Space Security

Global Health Diplomacy



Museums and Science Centers

Keynote: Dr. Carl June

Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

E. William Colglazier, Hana S. AlHashimi, Tateo Arimoto, Román Macaya Hayes, Jerry Miller, and Vaughan Turekian

E. William Colglazier | Member, 10-Member Group of the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism and 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
Teresa Stoepler | National Academies of Science

The United Nations 2030 Agenda covers seventeen aspirational Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) endorsed by all countries in 2015. The SDGs will help to guide the economic, social, and environmental development of the world for the next fourteen years. Representatives from several regions will discuss how national plans can help to achieve the 17 SDGs and how science, technology, and innovation can be harnessed most effectively.

Note: Video features only opening remarks due to State Department protocol. 


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

Alice Pennaz, Charles Cuvelier, Christopher Wilson and Steven Young

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
Stephen Young | Former Co-chair of the Border Indicators Task Force for the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Border Environmental Program, Environmental Protection Agency
Lance Miller | AAAS

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.


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Intersections of Security and Science in the Circumpolar Arctic

Cyan James, Anjuli Bamzai, Sherri Goodman and Seth Andre Myers

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
Kirstin Neff | Geological Society of America/U.S. Geological Survey

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?


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Science Diplomacy in Small Islands Developing States

Léo Trembley, Yoko Ebisawa, José S. Gomez-Soliño, Christine Greene and Gregory S. Stone

Casimiro Vizzini | Expert, Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building, International Basic Science Program, UNESCO
Léo 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
Alejandro de la Puente | National Science Foundation

Since 1992, the UN has recognized 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?


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

Jean-Christophe Mauduit, Marga Gual Soler, Aditya Kaushik, Dennis Schroeder and Gosia Smieszek

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
Enrique Lin Shiao | University of Pennsylvania

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.


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Observatories, Science Diplomacy and Ocean Governance

Jan-Stefan Fritz, Kristina Gjerde, Janice Romaguera Trotte Duhà and Zdenka Willis

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)
Andrew Titmus | National Science Foundation

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."


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Ensuring a Safe, Secure and Sustainable Space Environment

Yousaf Butt, Laura Grego, Theresa Hitchens and Audrey Schaffer

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
Tim Kochanski | AAAS
Kirk Lancaster | University of Chicago

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.

Note: The views expressed in this panel reflect those of the individual speakers, not necessarily those of the U.S. government. 


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

Ellen P. Carlin, Franck Berthe, Dennis Carroll and Catherine Machalaba

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
Summer Galloway | U.S. Department of Defense

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.


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Cybersecurity: Multilateral Relations and our National Security

Sarah C. Flores, Diana Burley, Matthew Noyes and Adam Sedgewick

Alejandro de la Puente | AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Division of Undergraduate Education, National Science Foundation
Sarah C. Flores | Science Education Analyst, National Science Foundation
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)
Tim Kochanski | AAAS
Lance Miller | AAAS

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.


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Practicing Science Diplomacy at Museums and Science Centers

Mandë Holford, Ana Luz Porzecanski, David Schindel and Walter Staveloz

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 of International Relations, Association of Science-Technology Centers
Cyan James | U.S. Department of Defense

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.


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Science Diplomacy for Cancer Treatment

Keynote Address by Carl June



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

Cancer is the number one killer in 22 of the 50 U.S. states. In 2010, the first curative therapy for metastatic melanoma, which normally does not respond to chemotherapy, was approved by the FDA. Since the release of this therapy, 20% of people have become long term survivors, living past 10 years. The goal in oncology is to have this be 100%. To achieve this goal, the cancer field is moving away from chemotherapy and towards a combination of immunotherapy and targeted therapy, an approach that is more potent and less toxic. Manipulating the immune system to treat cancer has been explored in the field for the last decade. However, early therapies were ineffective in patients, resulting in policies that made it difficult to obtain funding for such research. Since the breakthrough in 2010 with the first curative therapy for melanoma, funding became widely available from government, industry and philanthropic organizations.

The next steps for this technology include incorporation of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to enhance T cells. June’s team is involved in the first-in-human evaluation of safety and feasibility of CRISPR/Cas9 technology. This protocol engineers T cells to be more resistant to autoimmunity issues. While this is the first trial in the US, there is competition with China as to who will be able to demonstrate this technology in humans first.


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