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Tête-à-tête with Young Professionals of the German Council on Foreign Relations

With a passion for international politics, the Young Professionals of the German NGO “German Council on Foreign Relations” (known by its German acronym DGAP) are quite familiar with concepts of power and strategy in interstate relations. But where – between military dominance and diplomatic skill, between economic strength and cultural influence – is the place of science? Alum of InsSciDE’s Warsaw Science Diplomacy School (WSDS) Christian Gerl organized a webtalk for Young DGAP on 8 September 2020 to address this question, hosting Rasmus Bertelsen for a presentation on “Power with Science Diplomacy”.

Rasmus holds the Barents Chair in Politics at the Arctic University of Norway and is leader of InsSciDE’s Work Package 2. Christian Gerl, regional coordinator of Young DGAP’s Regional Forum Hanseatic Cities, previously worked alongside Rasmus in Tromsø, Norway, on changing security dynamics in Outer Space. They “met” again during the virtual first WSDS in June 2020, where Christian was introduced to and instantly hooked by the concept of science diplomacy. Seeing many pertinent connections between science diplomacy and the work of DGAP, he invited Rasmus for a tête-à-tête with his regional forum members.

The German Council of Foreign Relations is based in Berlin and is the forum where foreign and security policy on a German and European level is debated and shaped. Its Research Institute, with more than 30 experts, conducts action-oriented, practical research and develops solutions for foreign policy concerns. The Young DGAP is a platform for students and young professionals and has more than 1,000 members spread all over Germany.

In this webtalk, Rasmus presented concepts of science diplomacy and of power in international relations theory. He analyzed how theory transfers into practice on the European level via projects such as the Horizon 2020 science diplomacy cluster: EL-CSID, InsSciDE and S4D4C. Rasmus and Christian talked about their experiences with WSDS and shared their key takeaways with the group. The talk concluded with a vivid discussion about future power dynamics in the international system, with Rasmus highlighting how science diplomacy can foster deeper understanding between nations with divergent values or motives.

You can view another talk by Rasmus on Power with Science Diplomacy as part of a duo of lectures from WSDS that were made public.

Written by Christian Gerl

Published 18 September 2020

8 September 2020
Organized by:
Christian Gerl, Young DGAP

Rasmus G. Bertelsen - Power with Science Diplomacy

Another public lecture on Power with Science Diplomacy by Rasmus available here