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Nuclear Diplomacy, War Archaeology, Climate Communication: Cases of the Open Conference

InsSciDE brings intercultural encounters and academic training in science diplomacy into the spotlight during its second Open Conference in Erlangen, Germany on 24-26 November 2021.

An interdisciplinary group of scholars in the humanities and social sciences will interact with science diplomacy practitioners and stakeholders during three days of workshops, networking and panel discussions.

On the morning of Friday 26 November, in-person attendees will break into groups to examine and debate interculturality in the case studies of three InsSciDE researchers traversing topics of Nuclear Diplomacy, War Archaeology, Climate Communication. We spotlight their abstracts below!

Register to attend the conference here!
Thursday 25 November will be live-streamed and select sessions uploaded retroactively, but the case study breakout sessions will only be accessible to in-person attendees.

Orphaned Atoms: The First Moroccan Reactor and the Frameworks of Nuclear Diplomacy + ongoing research

Prof. Matthew Adamson, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary/McDaniel College, Budapest; InsSciDE Researcher in work package Security

The Orphaned Atoms case study explores the effort made by the Kingdom of Morocco to secure a nuclear research reactor at the end of the 1970s. This examination is made via the notion of the nuclear reactor as a ‘diplomatic object’ through which given diplomatic effects are achieved. In this case, the diplomatic concerns advancing Moroccan acquisition of a research reactor were not only those of non-proliferation and access to research tools, but a dizzying number of others: development, energy, and commercial policies, Cold War geopolitics, regional alliances, and member state relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The failure to complete the reactor reveals, not botched diplomacy, but diplomacy’s success, as the enactment of certain diplomatic frameworks catalyzed a decision-making process that halted the project.


War Archaeology: The Khorsabad Project of Site Damage Assessment

Prof. Alexander Pruss, JGU-Mainz; InsSciDE Leader of work package Heritage

Adjacent to the small modern village of Khorsabad in Northern Iraq are the ruins of the Assyrian capital Dur-Sharrukin, built between 715 and 705 BC under the rule of king Sargon II. First excavations at the site by a French mission in the 1840s uncovered the remains of a splendid royal palace. Colossal figures and carved reliefs once decorating the doors and walls of this palace were brought to the Louvre, where they form the core of the museum’s Assyrian galleries. After a second period of excavations in the 1930s, this time by US scholars, the site remained unstudied until recently. Most parts of the ancient capital are still completely unknown.

The site was in a good state of preservation until it was occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS, Daesh) in 2014. Satellite images indicated illegal digging activities at Khorsabad in the following years. In the autumn of 2016, Kurdish Peshmerga forces conquered the region, with heavy fighting occurring close to or even on the site.

Starting from 2016, the Khorsabad project, directed by Prof. Pascal Butterlin (University Paris I) aimed at assessing the damages to the site inflicted since 2014. This task was done in the frame of the InsSciDE project, including the application of drone technology. Ultimately, the Khorsabad project aims at establishing an up-to-date description of the actual state of the site, at establishing a plan for the conservation and presentation of the excavated structures and at facilitating a solid base for renewed research and excavation at this very important but understudied site. The case study discusses how this collaborative field venture acts as effective science diplomacy.


Communicating Diplomacy/Communication and Diplomacy: The Arctic Council’s Communication of Science on Social Media

Prof. Miyase Christensen, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University; InsSciDE Researcher in work package Environment

On March 11, 2017, the foreign ministers of the eight states with Arctic territory – together with the Faroe Islands and Greenland – signed the Agreement in Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation with the express purpose of enhancing “cooperation in Scientific Activities in order to increase effectiveness and efficiency in the development of scientific knowledge about the Arctic.” The agreement is one of the latest iterations of science diplomacy, defined by Fedoroff (2009) as, ”the use of scientific collaborations among nations to address the common problems facing 21st century humanity and to build constructive international partnerships.”

As with public diplomacy, a central component of science diplomacy is the communication and publication of that power to the public in general, and to stakeholders in particular. Social medias have often been pitched as platforms with the potential to not only reach large numbers at relatively low cost, but as also allowing for the bypassing of mainstream media outlets in the service of that communication, and for enhanced dialogue and discussion with various publics. With these issues in mind, in this paper the communication from the Arctic Council on the topic of science and scientific cooperation, published on official social media accounts from March 2017 (after the signing of the Arctic Science Agreement) up until October 2021 will be presented and analyzed with an eye toward addressing the benefits and limits of (social) media use in the service of science communication, and the place of social media in the broader science diplomacy media ecology.