Emerging leaders train to anticipate future challenges and solutions in science diplomacy
Federated by GESDA, the Geneva Coalition on Anticipatory Science and Diplomacy is hosting its first ever Science Diplomacy Week from 16-20 May, 2022. The purpose of this initiative is to train a new generation of emerging leaders in the combined uses of science and diplomacy — and to build a collaborative platform for the shaping of a global curriculum on science diplomacy.
Science Diplomacy Week represents a first step by its leaders to create a globally recognized curriculum on science diplomacy within the next five years that can surmount traditional academic silos by fostering global policy frameworks for theory and practice.
It will feature two complementary streams: an Immersion Week program into the science diplomacy ecosystem of International Geneva and an Open Forum to exchange with the expert public, young professionals and students in Geneva interested in the interface between science and diplomacy.
The Immersion Program received over one hundred applications from mid-career science and diplomacy professionals and gave financial support on a need basis. Thirty participants from five continents — Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America — were selected to participate.
The participants have diverse backgrounds in government, international organizations, industry and academia. These reflect a growing institutional awareness about the importance of building science diplomacy capacities across sectors, in fields ranging from artificial intelligence, genome editing and brain stimulation to synthetic food, climate technologies, space travel and human sciences - as these will reshape how we view ourselves and each other, how we relate to society and how we care for our planet and the environment.
Facilitated by the Graduate Institute, the Open Forum will showcase over 20 sessions from 20 Swiss and global institutions to provide an entry point into the rapidly evolving practice and research of science diplomacy in Geneva, Switzerland and the world with expert-level participants working on science diplomacy as target community. This illustrates the importance of science diplomacy, particularly at a time of significant new geopolitical shifts. Registration for the different events is open as of now under https://gesda.global/open-forum/
For both the Immersion Week and Open Forum, there are five umbrella themes, aligned with the GESDA thematic pillars: An Introduction to International Geneva (Monday); Climate and Environment (Tuesday); Global Health and Human Augmentation (Wednesday); Technology Diplomacy (Thursday); and the Future of Multilateralism (Friday). The session formats include interactive workshops, expert dialogues, open lectures, institutional visits and simulation exercises.
An Introduction to International Geneva
The week kicks off at the UN’s European headquarters in the Palais des Nations with a high-level roundtable that takes the pulse of science diplomacy around international Geneva. The immersion program participants are introduced to GESDA’s Science Breakthrough Radar, which gives an overview of science trends and breakthrough predictions at five, 10 and 25 years. They also participate in a skill building session aimed at strengthening their boundary-spanning skills at the science-diplomacy interface.
It includes a welcome address by GESDA Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, UN Geneva Director-General Tatiana Valovaya, and Graduate Institute Director Marie-Laure Salles. A roundtable, moderated by Inter-Parliamentary Union Secretary-General Martin Chungong and SciDipGLOBAL Founder Marga Gual Soler, will feature keynote inputs from International Science Council President Peter Gluckman, CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti, and University of Geneva Rector Yves Flückiger, who also is president of swissuniversities. It also will include moderated dialogue with UNITAR Executive Director Nikhil Seth; DiploFoundation Executive Director Jovan Kurbalija, who also is head of the Geneva Internet Platform; and Geneva Centre for Security Policy Director Thomas Greminger.
Climate and Environment
The evolving geopolitical situation marked by the war in Ukraine complicates the clean energy transition needed to fight climate change. The focus on climate and environment starts with a series of discussions led by current and past leaders at the World Meteorological Organization, which provides unique global observations on climate-related phenomena and scientific and technical expertise for policy advice on various critical environmental issues. Other sessions examine the future water use of dams for hydropower to further accelerate the future energy transition needed to fight climate change or showcase the science diplomacy approach at the Swiss-led Transnational Red Sea Center.
Global Health and Human Augmentation
The sessions examine global health and human augmentation, including ways of preventing weaponization of emerging technologies and the case for neuro rights to protect against the misuse of devices capable of decoding information from our brains. The skill building session will focus on managing the risks and concerns over emerging dual-use technologies that are derived from civilian or defense industries and have both military and commercial end-uses. The skill building session examines the use of computational diplomacy with regard to policies addressing the problem of antimicrobial resistance.
Most of the thematic sessions take place at CERN, an intergovernmental scientific organization run by 22 member nations and six associated members. Created more than 70 years ago as an international laboratory for fundamental physics research and technology, CERN has become a model for global scientific collaboration and paved the way for other institutions that combine scientific excellence with science diplomacy. The skills-building session will examine the use of AI as a tool for mediation, focus on a Quantum governance role play scenario developed exclusively for the Science Diplomacy Week or on the dual use of emerging tech, with scientists playing the role of diplomats and vice versa.
Future of Multilateralism
The thematic sessions include an exchange with Swiss Ambassador Alexandre Fasel, the government’s special envoy for science and diplomacy, who will discuss science diplomacy and multilateralism in the context of war in Ukraine. Further sessions include a look at how science is shaping multilateralism, ways that data can be leveraged for future-oriented policymaking as well as a sneak peak inside GESDA’s “Anticipatory Situation Room,” whose leaders work to accelerate development of impactful solutions to emerging global challenges.
For more information, please visit the Science Diplomacy Week website at: https://gesda.global/science-diplomacy-week/
Science Diplomacy Week is led by:
- GESDA (Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator Foundation)
- Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
- CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research)
- Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP)
- Geneva Science Policy Interface (GSPI)
- International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA)
- International Science Council (ISC)
- Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
- SDG Lab led by the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG)
- SiDLab powered by ETH Zurich and the University of Geneva
- University of Zurich
- UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
The S&D Week will take place from 16-20 May 2022.