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Recap: Science Diplomacy as an Intercultural Encounter

InsSciDE hosted its second Open Conference in November 2021, where project members, advisors and other experts joined in Erlangen, Germany, to debate and develop ideas around the theme of Science Diplomacy as an Intercultural Encounter.

The theme was rooted in the idea that national, regional or ethnic cultures as well as a diversity of technoscientific, diplomatic, engineering, business and other compound cultures come together in science diplomacy.

The conference’s panels tested this idea and its implications, considering it in the context of science diplomacy training, conceptual research and interdisciplinary communication.

Watch all the panels in the livestream recordings or read the short presentation summaries below!

Re-watch the livestream

Here you can watch the recordings from Thursday 25/11 and Friday 26/11 of InsSciDE’s Open Conference. Hover over the video progress bar to find the different panels in the video.

From Thursday 25/11 What’s Next for Research on Science Diplomacy?; Interdisciplinary Communication: How Do We Talk Across Lines and Roles?; Environmental Monitoring and Indigenous Community Mapping in Panama: Other Sciences, Other Diplomacies

From Friday 26/11 Experience of Teaching/Learning Science Diplomacy

Session summaries

Focus on Intercultural InsSciDE cases Recording currently not public
Alexander Pruss from InsSciDE’s Heritage work package brought to light the science diplomacy aspects of archaeological work. He discussed an InsSciDE case study by Pascal Butterlin on Western archaeologists conducting excavations and supporting heritage preservation efforts in Iraq and Syria during political instability.
Miyase Christensen examined the outward communication of the Arctic Council following the 2017 agreement Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation, by analyzing their social media activities and the target audiences of their outreach.

What’s Next for Research on Science Diplomacy?
In the first public session of the conference, scholars of science diplomacy from Horizon 2020 projects InsSciDE and S4D4C (completed March 2021) discussed the direction they believed further research should take, and Simone Turchetti and Maria Rentetzi presented how their own new research projects will contribute.

Speakers: Léonard Laborie, CNRS, France (moderator); Simone Turchetti, University of Manchester; Tim Flink, Humboldt University; Maria Rentetzi, FAU Erlangen; Pascal Griset, Sorbonne University.

Interdisciplinary Communication: How Do We Talk Across Lines and Roles?
A far-reaching conversation blossomed from this panel, from digital health legislation, to agricultural biotechnology regulation to how cultural identities impact scientific priorities and research success. Eskofier unpacked a number of science diplomacy issues and current events related to digital health and sharing of health data. Muhammad outlined factors that impact countries’ regulations on genetic technologies, for instance, the views and platform of sociotechnical imaginaries in a country. Courvoisier contemplated the military, economic and soft power attached to research and technological development, exemplifying the leverage that the EU’s vast research program affords them in negotiations with the UK and Switzerland. Christensen expanded on what is meant by inter/cross/multi-disciplinary cooperation and understanding.

Speakers: Maria Paula, NOVA University Lisbon (moderator); Björn Eskofier, Head of the Machine Learning and Data Analytics Lab at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU); Muhammad Adeel, career diplomat at Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as PhD scholar at Murdoch University, Australia; Thierry Courvoisier, Honorary Professor at University of Geneva and past president of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC); Miyase Christensen, Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Stockholm University and Affiliated Professor, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden.

Climate on the world stage: COP26 and clashing worlds Recording currently not public
InsSciDE historian Sam Robinson shared a harrowing account of ‘chaos at COP’ from his perspective as a civil society observer at COP26 in Glasgow, where he was just a few days earlier. He described science diplomacy as occurring everywhere as well as nowhere, as he recounted opaque agendas, an almost complete lack of focus on climate sciences, an unexplainable shortage of seating, and gross inequality even in the ability to protest at the function.

His presentation was followed by Kyriakos Hadjiyiannis, Member of Parliament in Cyprus and Chair of the human rights committee of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), who emphasized the central role of civil society in science and environmental action. He argued that it is the responsibility of politicians like himself to elevate the voices of youth and indigenous communities who are demanding to be heard in the fight against climate change.

Daniella Palmberg
9 December 2021