Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

COMSATS’ Science Ambassador Emeritus delivers Talk on Science Diplomacy

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The second lecture under COMSATS’ Science Diplomacy Programme was delivered by Executive Director COMSATS and COMSATS’ Science Ambassador Emeritus in the field of Science Diplomacy, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, in a select gathering of scholars and academicians at the Faculty Development Academy of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Islamabad, on February 29, 2016.

The lecture entitled ‘Science Diplomacy: An Overview’ outlined how ‘science’ and ‘diplomacy’ come together in various forms serving related but different purposes, i.e., one supporting the other and vice versa, as well as the two complementing one another for interaction with the outside world. Dr. Qureshi highlighted how the coupling of the two somewhat paradoxical terms leads to a whole that has helped individuals, groups and even nations overcome their intellectual and political differences, leading to stronger and wider collaborations across the globe.

The lecture provided a historical context of Science Diplomacy, as well as its reincarnation in the modern world. He highlighted the role of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Royal Society for the advocacy of science in the past. Defining the scope and dimensions of Science Diplomacy, the related mechanisms in place in developed countries were also discussed. It was noted that Science Diplomacy is being used as soft power by developed countries through disbursement of aid, technology-transfer and sharing of scientific know-how. Dr. Qureshi quoted the successful Science Diplomacy ventures, such as: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and International Space Station (ISS). How the developing countries could benefit from Science Diplomacy was also discussed, especially in the context of Pakistan. It was noted that Science Diplomacy can help the developing countries on three major fronts: Capacity Building; South-South Cooperation; and preservation of National Resources. Dr. Qureshi also lauded the science diplomacy efforts of specific nature made by Cuba (Medicine), and Brazil (Agriculture), as well as other 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 organization’s recent activities in this regard after the first Round Table Meeting on Science Diplomacy in the South in February 2015 were recounted, which included: designation of Science Ambassadors, entering into collaboration with The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and, participation in AAAS – TWAS joint training programmes, initiation of public lectures, and necessary media projection of the Science Diplomacy programme. Dr. Qureshi also indicated COMSATS’ other important interactions in this regard that include active liaison with the diplomatic missions in Pakistan and other Member States, and joint research programme, entitled COMSATS’ International Thematic Research Groups.

Dr. Qureshi concluded his lecture with two proposals from COMSATS for urging the Government and other relevant institutions of Pakistan; one urging appointment of a Science and Technology Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the other institutionalizing ‘Grand Challenges Pakistan’ for identifying and addressing major issues of Pakistan and working out their practical solutions through Science and Technology. It was noted that Canada, India, Israel, Thailand, Ethiopia, Brazil, Japan, China, as well as Africa are already benefitting from such initiatives taken by governments or independent organizations. Such programmes should be emulated to have targeted solutions for specific issues of the countries based on indigenous existing or improvised means.

The lecture was followed by a questions and answers session that had participation from individuals belonging to various fields of specialization and backgrounds, including, biosciences, mathematics, 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 COMSATS’ aforementioned proposals 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 health. It was agreed that politicians and policy makers need to be sensitized on such pressing matters by scientists and relevant organizations and institutions. Moreover, it was urged that science diplomacy should be fully utilized to motivate collaborations in matters of trans-border nature, such as climate change, pandemics, and regional conflicts.

At the conclusion of the event, Dr. Qureshi urged the participants to make concerted efforts to realize the objectives of Science Diplomacy, as well as to achieve the goals and targets suggested in their recommendations. Hoping to regularize the lecture series to a lecture every month, he invited them to become active participants of COMSATS’ Science Diplomacy Programme.

Upcoming Events

Nov
26
Mon
2018
Workshop on Metrology for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Gebze Kocaeli, Turkey
Nov 26 – Nov 27 all-day

[ Brochure ] [ Registration Form ]

BACKGROUND

The important role of the Quality Infrastructure, comprised of metrology, standardization, accreditation and certification institutions, in the process of socio-economic development of countries cannot be overemphasized. They provide a critically important technical foundation for industrial development and global trade, and functioning national measurement systems support in increasing industrial productivity and enhancement of product quality for international markets.

Many developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), do not have adequate quality infrastructures, which limits their economic development prospects as products and services fail to meet the demands of domestic and international customers as well as requirements imposed by mandatory regulations. A component of this problem is that these countries lack the requisite technical expertise and knowledge concerning the development, operation and maintenance of metrology facilities, which technically underpin all other functions of the quality infrastructure.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to intensify efforts for capacity building of relevant organizations in the developing countries in order to enhance their expertise and upgrade their infrastructure in the area of metrology, thereby also spurring development in other areas of the quality infrastructure and ultimately facilitating industrial development, growth in trade and a rise in societal well-being.

INTRODUCTION

Keeping the above in view, the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS); and the TUBITAK National Metrology Institute (TUBITAK UME), Turkey; are jointly organizing a two-day workshop on Metrology for the Least Developed Countries.

The workshop will be held on 26 – 27 November 2018 (Monday-Tuesday), which will be hosted by the TUBITAK National Metrology Institute in Gebze, Turkey.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The primary objective of the workshop is to enhance the knowledge-base, expertise and capacity of the institutions working in the field of metrology in the least developed countries, as well as to prepare roadmaps towards addressing their needs to develop metrology infrastructures with the capability of supporting their economies.

The workshop shall also facilitate the building of regional and international partnerships for the sharing of approaches and best practices in the field of metrology.

FORMAT

The workshop will include technical presentations by relevant subject experts and scientists belonging to LDCs, Member States of COMSATS and international development organizations, as well as discussion sessions and laboratory visits.

TARGETED INDIVIDUALS

The focus of the workshop is on the least developed countries, particularly those that are also members of COMSATS, namely Bangladesh, Gambia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The policy makers, scientists and experts in the field of metrology belonging to the least developed countries and the Member States of COMSATS, as well as representatives of relevant international development organizations and donor agencies are invited to participate in the event.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Partial or full financial support will be provided to selected foreign participants from LDCs and Member States of COMSATS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT

Mr. Omer Altan
Head of International Relations Department
TUBITAK UME
Barış Mah. Dr. Zeki Acar Cad. No:1
41470 Gebze, Kocaeli, Turkey
Tel: 90 262 679 50 00 ext. 2901
Email: omer.altan@tubitak.gov.tr

Mr. Farhan Ansari
Sr. Assistant Director (Programmes)
COMSATS Headquarters,
Shahrah-e-Jamhuriat, Sector G-5/2,
Islamabad, Pakistan.
Tel: +92 51 9214515-7 ext. 209
Email: farhan@comsats.org

Mar
11
Mon
2019
Workshop on Water Resources: Expected Crises and Strategies of Predomination, at National Research Centre, Egypt
Mar 11 – Mar 12 all-day

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