The first organisation to offer training in science diplomacy was the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) through their Center for Science Diplomacy, which aims to build the educational structures, curriculum and resources to support the next generation of science diplomacy leaders and ensure that scientists and diplomats have the tools and skillset to work at the intersection of science and international relations. AAAS has partnered with The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) since 2011 to organise a week-long summer course at TWAS headquarters in Trieste, Italy, to introduce science diplomacy to professionals from the global south and explore international policy issues relating to science, technology, environment and health. Many organisations around the world have adopted the curriculum and methodology of the AAAS-TWAS science diplomacy courses in their own training programmes. Indeed, training in science diplomacy has flourished over the last 5 years: S
In this module we will introduce you to some of the resources, tools and materials from these training activities.
Before we begin, we must once again recognise that there is no one definition or profile of a science diplomat. Putting science diplomacy into practice requires the participation of professionals who perform a variety of functions that often do not fit with traditional careers in science or international relations. Since the scientific and diplomatic communities have traditionally been isolated from one another both educationally and professionally, the knowledge, skills and capacities of its professionals are not yet fully defined, nor is there an institutionalized curriculum or career path.
The broad set of skills of a science diplomat include communication to different stakeholders, negotiation, project management, intercultural competence and sensitivity, building and nurturing networks, storytelling, languages, following protocol, and much more. In practice, science diplomacy encompasses a spectrum of roles and organisational configurations and describes professionals who perform a range of activities and practices, from promoting international cooperation in science from an embassy, to providing scientific advice to a foreign minister, negotiating a multilateral agreement, or navigating scientific collaborations between countries under political strain, as we have seen in Lesson 2.4. What Kind of Science Diplomats Are There?
In this module we will explore what scientists should know about diplomacy (and vice versa), what skills should scientists and diplomats hone in order to work together, and what skills each community can learn from the other to bridge the divide between these two worlds.