Science diplomacy takes many forms: When nations come together to negotiate cooperative agreements on fisheries management or infectious disease monitoring, they need scientific expertise. When scientists come together for complex multi-national projects in astronomy or physics, their nations devise diplomatic agreements on management and financing. And when political relations between two nations are strained or broken, joint research efforts can give them a way to keep talking – and to build trust.
Today, the need for science diplomacy is growing. In collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences) organised a 5-day in Trieste, Italy from the 30 November to 4 December 2015 to discuss key contemporary international policy issues relating to science diplomacy and sustainable water management, including the use of shared rivers and underground aquifers, cross-border pollution issues, safe drinking water and more. The programme highlighted several key components, including how to translate scientific work into the policy arena and the role of gender in effecting improved communication of scientific works/outcomes to society.
I was inspired to discover that the director of TWAS was Prof Murenzi from Rwanda and also that there was another powerful organisation for gender advocacy called GENDERInSITE (http://www.genderinsite.net/ ) aside the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OSWD). In general, I learnt that there was the need to learn diplomacy in writing winning proposals, disseminating our research outcomes and finally to have a real-impact, not only just with scientific publishing but putting a smile on communities with our scientific work!
Dr Amos Kabo Bah is from the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana and is in the final stages of completing his CIRCLE Visiting Fellowship at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.