Scientific diplomacy keeps reason alight in dark times

Gluckman, P., Quirion, R., Sachs, J., & van Jaarsveld, A.S. (2022). Scientific diplomacy keeps reason alight in dark times. Nature 604 (7906) p. 425. 10.1038/d41586-022-01060-z.

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International scientific cooperation was crucial in maintaining relations between antagonistic parties during the cold war. Now, during Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, we should not withdraw from such informal (‘track II’) diplomacy, but strengthen it. Research collaboration for the global good transcends nationalism.

This philosophy was recognized by US president Lyndon Johnson and Soviet premier Alexey Kosygin when they met in 1967 to establish the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. It is also embedded in the statutes and constitutions of the institutions that we lead and represent. Such international scientific bodies and networks work over many years to build bridges between nations and communities to address matters of common concern, and to make global progress towards a better future for all. They are especially important at times when political relations falter, as now.

Abandoning the founding principles of track II scientific-diplomacy institutions would cause irreparable harm to their reputations, with little prospect of recovering the gains made over decades. Once an institution loses its standing as a neutral broker and facilitator, it is gone forever. This is the time to send firm and unambiguous messages about inappropriate actions, yet remain reasoned, principled, diplomatic and strategic about recovery in the aftermath of the war.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Directorate (DIR)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 11:37
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2022 11:37

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