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Tuesday, November 8 • 15:30 - 17:00
Science for diplomacy, have we got what it takes? / La science au service de la diplomatie ; avons-nous ce qu'il faut ?

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Organized by, Rainer Engelhardt

Science can be a powerful ally in diplomacy.  It can strengthen existing positions of politics and policy, being by definition neutral and fact-based.  In the same vein science can help develop and support new positions.  Although ‘science diplomacy’ has seen decades of practice in various forms among countries, in today’s context it has become an umbrella term to describe formal or informal technical, research-based, academic or engineering relationships that lead to the generation of science facts in support of national and international policies. In that regard, science has a valuable role in foreign policy.

Some nations, such as the USA, Russia, the UK and others, have used science extensively as a tool for their national and international objectives.  The practicality of international recognition of the value of science is that it is immeasurably less costly to use science fact as a persuasive tool in diplomacy than the sole use of military force to achieve a national objective. Canada also has a history of supporting its national sovereignty and international positions through federally-supported science activities, with variously strong and until recently less conviction at the political level in the value of such activities.

Another aspect of science diplomacy is the engagement in and use of science to support collaboration among nations to address common global problems and to build constructive international partnerships. Global problems such as climate change and its impacts, national and personal cyber-security, disease epidemics, world hunger, and loss of ocean productivity in its multiple dimensions, among other challenges, cannot be resolved by any military solution.  Collaboration in international science is a key component. But effective collaboration demands that Canada and other national parties engaged on a science issue bring something of value to the table that all can see as a component contribution. Recognition of the value of our country's science and technology contributions has been under-rated within our country in recent years, although less so by our international partners that are looking to Canada to continue contributing to the foreign policy dialogue from an expert knowledge basis. Without both willingness and ability to contribute, Canada’s position as a global player in the many S&T-supported international initiatives and diplomatic challenges will be diminished. 

The panel will examine how we as a country can build on past successes to support our role on the world policy stage.  As a country we have been influential in using our science base, with representative examples being:
  • In the global response to the Ebola crisis and more generally in supporting the WHO in its pandemic influenza preparedness;
  • In supporting the International Space Station's capabilities with Canadian robotics such as the Canadarm, to give us valuable access to the ISS;
  • In providing the secretariat for more than a decade the Global Health Security Initiative of the G7 countries plus Mexico;
  • In participating actively in the Global Health Security Agenda that is becoming increasingly important in health security considerations in the face of global threats; and,
  • In biological, atmospheric and hydrographic missions in the Arctic that have supported Canadian national sovereignty.
The panel will make specific policy recommendations of how to use and enhance Canada’s S&T potential to support our country’s foreign policy and help re-establish Canada as a significant player on the world policy stage.

avatar for Rainer Engelhardt

Rainer Engelhardt

Former Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Science Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada
Dr. Engelhardt is a consulting senior executive, recently retired as Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Science Officer of the Public Health Agency of Canada.  His career activities include: researcher in the life/biomedical sciences, professor in academia, manager of large multi-sector... Read More →

avatar for Michael Byers

Michael Byers

Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, University of British Columbia
Dr. Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia. He has been a Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford University, a Professor of Law at Duke University, and a Visiting Professor at the universities of Cape Town, Tel... Read More →
avatar for David Kendall

David Kendall

Chair, UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
Dr. Kendall is the current Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for 2016-2017.  During his career he held senior positions with the Canadian Space Agency including the Director General of Space Science and Space Science and Technology. He is also... Read More →
avatar for Camille Mageau

Camille Mageau

Secretary, International Joint Commission
C.  Mageau is the Secretary of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission (IJC), an independent, Treaty-based organization which provides scientific advice to Canada and the United States on the use and quality of shared boundary waters.    She is an oceanographer... Read More →
avatar for Theresa Tam

Theresa Tam

Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Health Agency of Canada
Dr. Theresa Tam is the Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Public Health Agency of Canada. She has extensive experience in managing infectious disease outbreaks and health emergencies including SARS, pandemic influenza and Ebola.  She is a member of... Read More →

Tuesday November 8, 2016 15:30 - 17:00 EST
Room 210