Watch International Peacebuilding Through Science

Written by: Sachi Gerbin

Science diplomacy: these two words do not commonly pair up in conversations at cocktail parties. Through the stories of how scientific collaboration with countries such as Russia, Iran, and Cuba, and on global challenges like climate change, have in the past advanced diplomacy, we can see why they can go together and change history. Science diplomacy utilizes relationships between stakeholders from science organizations, universities, foundations, and the foreign policy community to build bridges between societies where other relationships are strained. You’ll hear from two of America’s highest ranking diplomats of our time about how collaborations over four decades illustrate the opportunities, challenges, and limits of science diplomacy today.


E. William Colglazier is Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy and Senior Scholar in the Center for Science Diplomacy at the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS). He works there to advance knowledge and practice on science policy and science diplomacy and to support international collaboration and cooperation in science and technology. He previously co-chaired the 10-Member Group appointed by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General to advise on science, technology, and innovation for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda. He served as the Science and Technology Adviser to the U. S. Secretary of State from 2011 to 2014. He also served as Executive Officer of the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council overseeing the studies that provide independent, objective, and expert scientific advice on public policy issues.

Frances Colón is the senior director for International Climate Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she leads a program to drive international ambition and action to meet global climate mitigation and adaptation goals. Frances is the former deputy science and technology adviser to the Secretary of State, where she promoted integration of science and technology into foreign policy dialogues, global advancement of women in science, and climate policy for former President Barack Obama’s Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. She was a 2019 Open Society Foundations Leadership in Government fellow, a city of Miami Climate Resilience Committee member, and a 2020 Yale-OpEd Project Public Voices on the Climate Crisis fellow. She is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability, and she co-chairs the National Academies’ Global Science Diplomacy Roundtable.

The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.