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Otago Foreign Policy School focuses on ‘Science Diplomacy’

The Commerce building

Friday 20 May 2011 11:37am

‘Science diplomacy’, which has become the new catch-cry for international relations, will go under the spotlight at the University of Otago’s annual Foreign Policy School next month.

The School has attracted around a dozen leading national and international speakers to present on and discuss topics such as science diplomacy’s role in resolving world issues ranging from global warming to international terrorism.

The speakers and other participants − who include academics, students, policymakers, diplomats and members of the public − will scrutinise science diplomacy’s potential and realities, particularly as they apply to this part of the globe.

Among the international contingent are leading academics, the director of the US Center for Science Diplomacy and the Canadian behind the website Guerilla Diplomacy. Local speakers include US Ambassador David Huebner and the Dr Stephen Goldson from the PM’s Science Advisory Office. Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Murray McCully will give the School’s opening address.

School Co-Director Professor Lloyd Davis says that anyone interested in issues relating to science diplomacy is welcome to register for the gathering, which runs from the evening of Friday 24 June until late Sunday afternoon at St Margaret’s College on the University of Otago campus.

“This event is the first major opportunity in New Zealand for a comprehensive public examination of this topic, and given the School’s high-powered line-up of speakers we are expecting lively and fruitful debate,” Professor Davis says.

Aspects to be tackled include science diplomacy’s development; its relation to issues such as globalisation, trade, mineral and oil exploration, global climate change, science communication, and large scale scientific co-operation. Perspectives on its role in international relations in the Asia-Pacific and with the Islamic world will also be explored.

“For example, the Obama Administration’s recent attempts to reach out to the Middle East and elsewhere have involved a strong focus on science diplomacy, including the use of ‘science envoys’. Closer to home, international research collaborations in Antarctica have arguably helped forge closer links between New Zealand and other nations.”

The School’s programme and information about registering and fees can be found at:

For more information, contact

Professor Lloyd Davis, Co-Director
46th University of Otago Foreign Policy School
Tel 64 3 479 7654

About the Foreign Policy School

Since its inception in 1966, the University of Otago Foreign Policy School has developed into one of the premiere events in New Zealand's international calendar. Originally started as a workshop on foreign affairs issues, the School soon attracted the attention of New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade which recognised its value as a weekend retreat for officials.

Representatives from other government bodies such as the Prime Minister's office and the Ministry of Defence, as well as academics, journalists, diplomats, members of the private sector and NGOs, and interested members of the public also participate regularly.