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COMSATS urges govt to take necessary measures for ‘Science Diplomacy’

COMSATS urges govt to take necessary measures for ‘Science Diplomacy’

Date: 3 March 2016
Description:

ISLAMABAD: COMSATS has urged the government and other relevant national institutions to take necessary measures in support of "Science Diplomacy" as it would pave the way for achieving the set goals in the field of science and technology.

 

This was the crux of a lecture delivered by COMSATS Executive Director Dr Imtinan Elahi Qureshi under the COMSATS Science Diplomacy Programme launched last year in the federal capital. The lecture was delivered in a select gathering of scholars and academicians at the Faculty Development Academy of COMSATS, Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) in the federal capital.

 

On the occasion, the government was suggested to appoint a science and technology advisor to the prime minister and institutionalise 'Grand Challenges Pakistan' for identifying and addressing major issues of Pakistan besides working out their practical solutions through science and technology. The lecture titled 'Science Diplomacy: An Overview' outlined how science and diplomacy come together in various forms serving related but different purposes like one supporting the other and vice versa as well as the two complementing one another for interaction with the outside world.

 

The lecture provided a historical context of science diplomacy as well as its reincarnation in the modern world. It was noted that the science diplomacy is being used as soft power by developed countries through disbursement of aid, technology transfer and sharing of scientific know how. How the developing countries could benefit from science diplomacy was also discussed especially in the context of Pakistan.

 

He noted that Pakistan is signatory to several international agreements, which necessitates scientists-diplomats interactivity constituting one facet of science diplomacy. Dr Qureshi quoted the successful science diplomacy ventures such as European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and International Space Station (ISS). He lauded the science diplomacy efforts for specific nature made by Cuba (Medicine) and Brazil (Agriculture) as well as other multi national initiatives and institutional mechanisms applied in Africa (NM-AIST), Asia (ECO) and the Middle East (ESCWA).

 

Apart from COMSATS, science diplomacy efforts since its creation in 1994, the organisation's recent activities in this regard after the first round table meeting on science diplomacy in the south in February 2015 was recounted, which includes the designation of science ambassadors, entering into collaboration with The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and active liaison with the diplomatic missions in Pakistan and other member states.

 

The concluding questions and answers (Q&A) session had participation from individuals belonging to various fields of specialisation and backgrounds including mathematics, biosciences, physics, chemistry, management sciences, environment and public policy.

 

In addition to making queries regarding the contents of the lecture and making relevant recommendations, the participants appreciated aforementioned proposals of COMSATS and advocated necessary campaigning in this regard. They also took stock of the fields of science and technology in Pakistan that need to be aided through science diplomacy such as food security and healthcare. It was agreed that the politicians and policy makers need to be sensitised on such pressing matters by scientists of relevant organisations and institutions. Moreover, it was urged that science diplomacy should be fully utilised to motivate collaborations in matters of trans-border nature such as climate change, pandemics, and regional conflicts.