Monday, June 21, 2010

The limits of science diplomacy - SciDev.Net

The limits of science diplomacy - SciDev.Net: "The limits of science diplomacy

David Dickson

4 June 2009 | EN | ES | 中文

Using science for diplomatic purposes has obvious attractions and several benefits. But there are limits to what it can achieve.

The scientific community has a deserved reputation for its international perspective — scientists often ignore national boundaries and interests when it comes to exchanging ideas or collaborating on global problems.

So it is not surprising that science attracts the interest of politicians keen to open channels of communication with other states. Signing agreements on scientific and technological cooperation is often the first step for countries wanting to forge closer working relationships.

More significantly, scientists have formed key links behind-the-scenes when more overt dialogue has been impossible. At the height of the Cold War, for example, scientific organisations provided a conduit for discussing nuclear weapons control."

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