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Capacity building for science diplomats: MCAA Conference 2021

In March 2021, the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) held their annual conference online, this year with a theme of ’Research in times of crisis’.

Christina Bürgi Dellsperger, Swiss diplomat and leader of InsSciDE’s WP9, participated in the panel Capacity building for next generation science diplomats. She was joined by Sir Peter Gluckman, chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) and President-elect of the International Science Council; Dr. Frances Colón, a former science diplomat at the U.S. State Department; and Mostafa Moonir Shawrav, Chair of MCAA.

The session addressed the lack of a clear career path for scientists interested in science diplomacy, a challenge that is coinciding with an increasing demand for scientific expertise in international policy making. However, as the panelists and their diverse science diplomacy paths showed, this, at the same time, opens up a variety of possibilities of how to get involved and to influence our future as a science diplomat.

Discussions centered on the need for diversification, needs assessment and careful planning to build capacity for science diplomat careers. Drawing on their their own experiences, the speakers emerged with three key takeaways for prospective science diplomats:

1. Communicate and listen
2. Know when and where science fits in
3. Understand yourself, your role and the world

Christina noted that telling traits of a good science diplomat are an interest in politics and international relations, curiosity of science as well as a knack for social relations and foreign languages.


Published 26 March 2021

Capacity building for next generation science diplomats
7 March 2021

Speakers

  • Dr. Christina Bürgi Dellsperger | Swiss diplomat and InsSciDE member
  • Sir Peter Gluckman | Chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA)
  • Dr. Frances Colón | Former science diplomat at the U.S. State Department
  • Dr. Mostafa Moonir Shawrav | Chair of MCAA

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