Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bring out the science heavyweights: Levien and Neureiter

Roger Levien and Norma Neureiter are both on IIASA's Endowment Board of Trustees. Roger Levien is the founder of YSSP and gave a talk on why he felt the world needed a program like YSSP. IIASA was initially founded by 12 National Member Organisations (NMOs) in 1972 as a collaboration agreement for "Applied Systems Analysis". Levien himself had been part of a graduate summer program at RAND in the USA. He describes it as a life changing experience, integrating research and policy, especially around operations research as it was then dubbed.

The funniest thing we learnt today was that the program was meant to be called "Summer Program for Young Scientists" or SPYS, which during the Cold War wasn't the most politically correct name hence YSSP.

Norman Neureiter talks about Science Diplomacy. Can you be diplomatic in Science? Neureiter believes that Science Diplomacy can bridge the cultural divide between nationals who for whatever reason disagree. His examples ranged from China, Russia, Poland and France. Each nation has research projects or exchanges with the USA that has paved the way for more political agreements. It was an interesting trip through politics, science and history from the view of a systems analyst.
Further reading for those interested:
  • “The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State”, Office of International Affairs, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1999.
  • “New frontiers in science diplomacy”, The Royal Society, Policy Document RS1619, London, 2010
  • “Science and technology in the Department of State”, by Norman P. Neureiter, Technology in Society, vol. 26 (2004), pp.303-320
  • Speech on science and diplomacy by the UK Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, at the Royal Society, Jan. 12, 2010.
  • Assorted articles/editorials in SCIENCE, vol. 315 (2007), p.769; vol. 305 (2004), p. 1677; vol. 326 (2009), p. 1459; etc.

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