A classic example: Pugwash Conferences

The “Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs” are cited as a classic example for science supporting peace and seeking a world free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction by bringing together scientists, experts and policy makers. The tradition of ‘dialogue across divides’ facilitating east-west communication during the Cold War (serving as an unofficial back channel between the rivalling blocks) earned Pugwash the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995. Pugwash aims to develop and support the use of scientific, evidence-based policymaking, focusing on areas at the intersection of science and world affairs where nuclear and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) risks are present. Furthermore, it also aims to discuss developments in S&T that may raise instability and the risk of armed conflicts which may include other critical issues such as climate change, environmental deterioration, and resource scarcity and unequal access.

The objectives are implemented through debate, discussion, and collaborative analysis in periodic general conferences, specialized workshops and study groups, and through special projects carried out by small teams or individuals on well-defined topics. The recommendations are communicated to decision-makers and the general public online and offline, through publications, open letters to heads of government, press conferences, and through personal interactions with political leaders and opinion makers.

This example provides references to a special capacity of scientists to speak a common and more neutral language and the process of trust-building that such conferences can support. Pugwash is among the first instances of non-state science diplomacy, followed by a number of other projects that were launched to engage the scientific community to communicate accross ideological gaps and tensions, to contain conflicts and build trust.

For an example of scholarly work done on the Pugwash Conferences, see here.

Visit site: https://pugwash.org

Keywords: Science for Peace, International conferences, Science and world affairs, Conflict prevention

Sanaz Honarmandebrahimi

Posted by Sanaz Honarmandebrahimi