Experts propose ‘clearing house’ for science diplomacy
A new report in Sweden has proposed the creation of a “strategic information clearing house” to serve as an independent forum for national discussions on science diplomacy and to coordinate diplomatic efforts.
The proposal is contained in a report, Science diplomacy in and for Swedencommissioned by the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT), which contains proposals highlighting the importance of science diplomacy in an increasingly polarized world.
Its authors, Professor Stefan Kuhlmann and Dr Ewert Aukes of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, suggest that while Sweden has a strong tradition of diplomatic initiatives (the so-called “Swedish initiative” at the United Nations which has led to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment which was first held in Stockholm in 1972 and which today celebrates its 50th anniversary is one), the field of science diplomacy is very “fragmented” and meaningful debates on the issue are lacking.
Survey on the internationalization of higher education institutions
This despite the Survey on the increased internationalization of higher education institutionsalso known as the “Internationalization Survey”, which started in March 2017 and published its report in February 2018, highlighting the importance of science diplomacy for Sweden.
The proposal for a clearinghouse builds on plans from the previous survey to establish a platform for internationalization, and recognizes the growing importance of science diplomacy in a world marked by heightened geopolitical tensions, an increased interface between technological developments, economics, politics, and security and foreign policy interests, as well as the decrease in international mobility (of researchers and students) induced by the pandemic.
It is widely believed, especially in academic and scientific circles and despite government investigation, that science diplomacy has not received enough attention. While many activities in related organizations, agencies and ministries would likely fall within the realm of science diplomacy, it remains largely uncharted territory in Sweden, both as a concept and as a topic of discussion on science diplomacy. how it might be perceived or applied in policy. the context.
Agneta Bladh, former state secretary in the Ministry of Education and Research and chairwoman of the Swedish Research Council who led the internationalization survey, said Academia News the STINT report was important in a Swedish context because “the issue is not discussed much” in the country.
War in Ukraine
“There are very few professors ready to collaborate with colleagues in non-democratic countries. However, with the war in Ukraine, I think the discussion on science diplomacy is going to last for some time. The report will hopefully be a longer-term asset.
The view was echoed by Professor Sylvia Schwaag Serger, Chair of the STINT Board, who said Academia News while science diplomacy is not a new concept, it has not received enough attention in Sweden.
“Having worked in both policymaking and academia, I also observe a shortage of people who understand both science and diplomacy.”
This observation contributed to STINT’s decision to hold a seminar in Stockholm on February 15, using the Kuhlmann and Aukes report as a basis for discussing science diplomacy in a Swedish context.
STINT, whose mission is to internationalize Swedish higher education and research, said in his conference note that he hoped the report would “lay the groundwork for a discussion on the strategic dimensions of science diplomacy in Sweden. and for Sweden, and would address questions such as what it is, why it might be relevant, what might be done and by whom”.
Serger said that the rapid and profound changes in international relations and the world order, as well as global challenges that require stronger international collaboration, meant that STINT “saw the need for a structured, inclusive and forward-looking dialogue. future, perhaps even a forum for dialogue, on the relationship between science and diplomacy: how should they interact and be articulated”.
“With this initiative, we hope to catalyze such a conversation,” she said. Academia News.
In addition to the report authors and Serger and Bladh, seminar participants, representing a cross section of government departments and higher education experts and stakeholders, included Dr Beate Eellend representing the Department of Education and the research ; Dr. Hans-Christian Hagman, Chief Analyst and Principal Adviser at the Foreign Office; Magnus Schöldtz, Senior Advisor for Wallenberg Foundations AB; Dr. Andreas Göthenberg, Executive Director of STINT; and Professor Astrid Söderbergh Widding, President of Stockholm University.
In her February 18 blog, Widding said she hoped the STINT report would work as intended, “as a motor in the development of an important area related to our international research exchanges which are increasingly important in these time when conflicting alignments sharpen and borders tend to close.