SCIENCE DIPLOMACY AND INTERNATIONAL POLICY
19th International Symposium in the Series of Diplomacy in the 21st Century 11-12 May 2016
Loughborough University London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park The Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London, in collaboration with the Canadian Science Policy Centre, and the London Diplomatic Science Club, will organise the 19th International Symposium in the series of Diplomacy in the 21st Century.
The most profound challenges which imperil the planet today are grounded neither in territorial ambitions, nor in ideological rivalries. Instead, these “wicked” issues are rooted in science and driven by technology, and are largely immune to the application of armed force. Climate change, diminishing biodiversity, environmental collapse, pandemic disease and resource scarcity, to name but a few of these complex problems, exacerbate underdevelopment and heighten insecurity. Unlike religious extremism or political violence, however, this new, S&T-based transnational threat set places everyone at risk. Science and technology hold the keys to peace and prosperity, but they can also contribute to conflict and destruction. Together they represent a two-edged sword which cuts all ways. The challenge of managing the global commons, including not only the oceans, atmosphere, polar regions and outer space but also the Internet and cyberspace, has been compounded by an explosive growth in the use - and frequent misuse - of social and digital technologies and communications. Absent improved performance in international science and technology policy, global peace and prosperity will remain elusive. In the worst case, we will reach a collective tipping point in the not-too-distant future, after which remedial responses will be too late. Greater understanding, prudent planning, careful management and informed action are therefore imperative.
Science diplomacy – a transformative tool of soft power which offers the prospect of engaging shared interests to overcome political obstacles and enlarge international cooperation – represents a particularly promising way forward. This type of knowledge-based problem-solving can make an essential contribution, not only to the construction of a more secure, equitable and sustainable world order, but also to the prospects for long-term human survival. For most foreign ministries and international organizations, however, enlarged institutional capacity and major reforms will be a pre-requisite to the successful implementation of science diplomacy programmes. A revolution in bureaucratic culture will be necessary if the daunting range of existing process and structural obstacles are to be overcome. In the face of a vexing ay of global, S&T-driven threats and challenges for which there are no military solutions, diplomacy will have to displace defence as the policy instrument of choice, with science brought from the margins into the mainstream of both professional practice and public discourse. This symposium will explore the implications attached to that proposition, and offer concrete suggestions for consideration by policy and decision-makers.
The symposium aims to achieve the following goals:
1. To contribute to the global dialogue on science diplomacy.
2. To bring science diplomacy into the mainstream international relations discourse and to the attention of political, academic and diplomatic communities.
3. To build capacity among participants, and to attract the interest of a younger generation of students and practitioners.
4. To expand collaboration on science diplomacy among and between relevant institutions and individuals.
5. To mark Loughborough University’s place as a prominent academic hub science diplomacy research and analysis.
The Symposium also aims to bring together a wide range of senior policymakers, diplomats, as well as academic experts from governments and relevant organisations. It will be of interest to students, academics, directors of diplomatic training, journalists, practitioners, diplomats, opinion leaders, government officials, defence and security staff, decision-makers, researchers and analysts alike. Appropriate arrangements for press coverage will be made; and the Symposium proceedings will be published. Speakers at previous Symposia have included Ministers, Heads of relevant government departments, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Directors of diplomatic training and experts in the field.
The Symposia dealt with topics such as Ethics in International Practice; Diplomacy and Divinity: the Role of Religion in International Relations; The International Dimensions of European Values; The Information Explosion as Challenge for Diplomacy; The Impact of Technology on Intelligence and Security ; Reputation Management and Nation Branding; Best Practice in Promoting Business and Trade; The UN and the Media in War and Peace Diplomacy and Gender; Institutional Corruption & Good Governance; Refugees & Minorities in International Relations ; Are Diplomats Really Necessary?; and Rethinking Diplomatic Practice Global Commerce and International Security in the Age of Heteropolarity. Symposia previous partners included Foreign Affairs, Canada; The American Embassy, London; USC Centre on Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California; University of East Anglia and the American University of Paris. Attendance is by invitations only, which are open to practitioners, diplomats, opinion leaders, government officials, defence and security staff, decision-makers, researchers, analysts, journalists, academics, and directors of diplomatic training. Panels and Themes I. Science and diplomacy in a changing world: World Order and the New Threat Set in the Age of Heteropolarity. II. Conceptual Foundations and Constituent Elements of Science Diplomacy: diplomacy for science; science for diplomacy; science in diplomacy; technology in diplomacy; diplomacy in technology. III. Comparative National Approaches: Networks, Policies and Programmes; Survey and Assessment of International Institutions and Programmes. IV. Bureaucratic Politics, Public Policy and Power: Restoring the Diplomatic Ecosystem through Radical Reform. Examples and Case Studies. Environmental Diplomacy Health Weapons of mass destruction Drones/Robotics Cyber-security V. Towards Improved Performance: Science Advice to Government; Best Practices and Learning from Failure; Governance and Management of International S&T. VI. Science, Diplomacy and Synergy: Bridging the International S&T Performance Gap. The role of universities and research centres.
Learn more by visiting the event website.