Science Diplomacy

To date, the concept of Science Diplomacy has been very fluid and has not been the subject of sustained analysis that would lead to analytical or operational frameworks that could guide engagement or application.  As such, SD is often used as an umbrella term for activities ranging from traditional cross-border academic collaboration to development aid in fields of health, medicine, and innovation, to trade and regulatory policies affecting science and technology-related corporate activities. The challenges of SD include foremost a working definition of the concept, identifying tangible initiatives, development of a common language between policy makers and scientists, and convincing government agencies that a SD policy is a long-term roadmap.

Given the ever-increasing interest in these concepts and their application by stakeholders globally – especially in light of the recent focus on the intersection of science, technology, and democracy displayed by the Arab Spring – this is both a critical and opportune time to investigate and frame the possibilities of science diplomacy with the same degree of rigor and energy as has been applied in other, more traditional, spheres of diplomacy and foreign affairs.

Scientific capacity and cooperation has long been  key drivers to achieving economic wealth, social development, ecological resilience and political stability. In addition, the emerging challenges to global sustainability (natural resource depletion, food security, climate change, alternative energy, infectious diseases) call for comprehensive international solutions based on scientific principles. etc. The internet and digital innovations are nurturing new generations of researchers that can share findings and breakthroughs with friends and colleagues communicate all over the world, irrespective of their nationality, culture, or language in a 24 hour clock. What role do emerging scientists have to play as we struggle to alleviate global challenges that impact diplomatic relations and are connected to powerful kinetic forces, such as the internet, and profound cultural changes?

Latest Science Policy activities:

2014 World Science Forum

Shining a light on the world’s future stars (

Dr. Holford co-organized a World Association of Young Scientists (WAYS) panel at the recent World Science Forum in Rio de Janerio, listen to her podcast that was featured on SciDev.Net

“Science Diplomacy Course at Rockefeller Winter 2013”

Dr. Holford in collaboration with Drs. Jesse Ausubel and Rod Nichols are conducting a 6 week colloquium on science and international affairs as it pertains to the biomedical field:

picUN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum 2013”

Dr. Holford participated in the UN ECOSOC sponsored event as moderating a  session on Women and Girls in Science.

2011/2012 World Science Forum image_mini

“Science Diplomacy Course at Rockefeller Winter 2013”

Dr. Holford in collaboration with Drs. Jesse Ausubel and Rod Nichols are conducting a 6 week colloquium on science and international affairs as it pertains to the biomedical field: 

As part of WAYS (World Association of Young Scientists), Dr. Holford co-chaired with Henry Roman, Director of Environmental Services and Technology of the South African Department of Science & Technology, a panel session at the 2011 World Science Forum in which major success stories from Science 2.0 were illustrated from various fields of science. The session gathered game changers from Ushahidi, Mendeley, and Digital Science to address the following questions: (1) What are the drivers of the current success stories, massive collaboration, crowd sourcing, citizen science? How can large-scale online experiments change the way science and education are performed? What are the future perspectives? How can this potential be harnessed by developing countries?

pic 2Science Diplomacy Bootcamp, New York Academy of Sciences and CRDF Global July 2011

Dr. Holford recently served on panel with Award-winning journalist Alaa Majeed, Cathy Campbell, President and CEO, CRDF Global, Shaifali Puri, Executive Director, Scientists without Borders, and David Dickson, Editor, to present the concept of ScienceDiplomacy to journalists at a bootcamp organized by the and CRDF Global.200

View presentation “Science Diplomacy: Why, Where, and How”


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Holford Laboratory at CUNY Hunter College