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Join us! Health Diplomacy Talks in Open WSDS Session

Monday 22 June 2020 | Open Session: 12:45-16:00 CEST

The first afternoon of InsSciDE’s Warsaw Science Diplomacy School will revolve around health diplomacy and offer both a historical and a contemporary look at related challenges and opportunities. We are delighted to offer this as a public webinar so that you can observe how we run our school and contribute questions to the debate.

Register here!

The introduction by our WSDS director will consider how history may inform present practices and strategies for the future. Then, providing case study material, two InsSciDE historians will reveal how complex interactions of science and diplomacy shaped framings of how to protect European public health and a global public good. A concluding debate will gather these voices in a discussion of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Come share the reflective approach that underlies both the InsSciDE project and the curriculum of WSDS, around topics of particular urgency in today’s societies.

12:45 Power with science diplomacy

Rasmus G. Bertelsen, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Prof Rasmus Bertelsen, leader of InsSciDE’s work package on Power with Science Diplomacy, will discuss how we answer Europe’s call to use science diplomacy to “tackle major global challenges, promote knowledge and improve international relations” and “strengthen [the EU and member states’] position in global discourses”. He will speak to InsSciDE’s fundamental science history research as a project in the H2020 framework, and consider how historical insights might inform building European Science Diplomacy Theory and Strategy. There are always implicit or explicit theories behind a strategy. Prof Bertelsen will ground his talk in WSDS’s aim to train our 28 students to use structured concepts and theory, to make explicit their assumptions about actors and causalities, and to put their value options under discussion to produce informed strategy.

Scroll down to see a short video by Prof Bertelsen explaining how InsSciDE draws on history to develop European theory and strategy.

13:45 Natural resources as public goods for global health: Biodiversity negotiations

Muriel Le Roux, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)
Muriel Le Roux explores the notion of collective ownership of biodiversity and its framing as a ‘global public good’, focusing on research missions in Madagascar (1950-80s) and Uganda (early 2000s) when French ethnobotanists and chemists worked with and trained local scientists to inventory natural substances. In countries where political relationships were weak (Madagascar) or non-existent (Uganda), how did French scientists broker partnerships with local researchers in order to co-construct research and increasingly, environmental protection strategies? Le Roux situates the scientists’ power vis-à-vis that of official diplomats. She shows how field researchers became environmental whistle-blowers when they saw over exploitation leading to irreversible ecological destruction. How were local and international diplomatic agendas affected? Le Roux opens perspectives on virtuous models of governance and diplomacy for sustainable and responsible development that rely on multi-partner, international cooperation.

14:30 Dealing with the plague in Oporto 1899-1900: A matter of global epidemic diplomacy

Céline Paillette, University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, UMR Sirice
Céline Paillette leads an investigation into the 1899 plague outbreak in Oporto. Against the background of globalization of epidemics and internationalization of health regulations, she analyses the roles of the actors involved in its management and containment, from diplomatic agencies to scientific and medical experts. Taking an international relations perspective, how did various fundamental forces influence the diplomatic measures taken in order to control the epidemic in Oporto? To what extent were the practical field experiments conducted in bacteriology, as well as the deployment of therapeutic and preventive treatment, part of a thought-out strategy of diplomacy at state level? Paillette’s case opens onto ways in which State Health Diplomacy might have nourished what is today termed Global Health Diplomacy.

15:15 Debate: The COVID-19 Crisis through a Health Diplomacy Lens

Bertelsen, Le Roux, Paillette, moderated by InsSciDE Coordinator Pascal Griset.

Convening historical, theoretical and global strategic perspectives, the debate will put the preceding presentations of Bertelsen, Le Roux and Paillette into the context of the COVID-19 crisis. With still limited foresight into how countries’ COVID-19 strategies and outcomes will affect our world, commentary will focus on present-day elements that can be illuminated by facts of Le Roux and Paillette’s historical cases, with Bertelsen applying an international relations perspective that bridges the time periods. Through the lens of health diplomacy, Prof. Griset will place the focus on opportunities and failures that may define the COVID-19 pandemic, in areas as diverse as formal and informal communication, borderless biomedical development, public hygiene measures, and multilateralism vs. nationalistic power plays.

Registration will allow you to access this special session of InsSciDE’s Warsaw Science Diplomacy School on Monday 22 June at 12.45-16.00 CEST.

Get a glimpse of our summer school dynamic, hear our students raise their voice and send in questions to the debate. Register here.

Featured: Short clip by WSDS Director Rasmus Bertelsen explaining the big idea behind the InsSciDE project - drawing on history to develop European science diplomacy theory and strategy. Join his talk to learn more!

Published 16 June 2020

WSDS Open Session on Health Diplomacy


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Visit the Warsaw Science Diplomacy event page here.