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Developing Boston’s Science Diplomacy Ecosystem

David Cash, Dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Public Policy and Global Studies, and Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Center for Sustainable Governance at UMass Boston, convened Boston’s third annual Science Diplomacy Workshop held from October 10-11, 2019. The McCormack Graduate School hosted the workshop at the UMass Club and co-organized the event with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.

The workshop convened aspiring scientists, the Deans of three policy schools in Boston – McCormack Graduate School at UMass Boston, the Fletcher School at Tufts, and the Pardee School at Boston University, and Boston-based consul generals and science and technology consular officers from across the globe with a core focus on training the next generation of science diplomats. This gathering gave leaders of Boston’s science diplomacy ecosystem the opportunity to identify potential synergies between universities and the science and technology diplomatic circle, which will allow for further collaboration in establishing an innovative international hub for science diplomacy in Boston. Professor Maria Ivanova and Dean David Cash of UMass Boston, Professor Paul Berkman of Tufts University, and Professor Larry Susskind of MIT led a discussion with the consul generals, in which all parties advocated their support for growing the initiative. “The diplomats posed a design challenge,” Professor Ivanova remarked. “How do we create an academic consortium that will be a center of intellectual gravity and engage productively in co-creation of knowledge on contemporary global challenges with the diplomatic circle in Boston?”

Notably, the workshop also provided participants the unique opportunity to communicate their research to policymakers and to engage in simulated global policy negotiations. The hands-on training highlighted the importance of deep area knowledge as well as the ability to translate it into concepts that transcend disciplinary boundaries and divides. As Dean Adil Najam remarked during the Deans Panel on global policy, “There is not a great problem in today’s world that does not need to be understood at a global level.” Referencing the work of Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, he noted, “That [humans’] ability to cooperate at large scales…That’s what this workshop is about.”

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