October 24: At the Crossroads of Science and Foreign Policy: Conflict Resolution

Event Date: 
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Join members of the scientific and foreign policy communities for an evening of active discussion in this third event of the program series At the Crossroads of Science and Foreign Policy. Featured speakers will explore how science & technology can be used as a tool to both incite and also resolve conflicts. Following the speaker presentations, a structured audience discussion will challenge attendees to draw from their own experiences and knowledge to further explore conflict and conflict resolution as it relates to the larger scientific and foreign policy communities.
The power of science and technology to change society and the lives of people is well appreciated. Scientific questions with large societal impact can have direct consequences for foreign policy: projections of climate change, food insecurity, the race for the atomic bomb in the 1940s, and the reproductive health revolution caused by the contraceptive pill are all examples. These innovations and advances may lead to conflict, for example, when groups or nations disagree over the application of technology or subvert it for nefarious purposes. Conversely, science and technology can be tools used to bring people together and resolve conflict: for example, when countries without formal diplomatic relations engage in scientific collaborations between their academic institutions, or when the international community endorses treaties that touch on scientific disciplines or outputs. However, the role of science and technology as a force to fuel or defuse conflict is often not well understood by the foreign policy community, who tend to treat it as a means to an end; likewise, many scientists are unaware that their research may have broader implications internationally, for good and also potentially for ill. 
The Conflict Resolution event will showcase examples in which science and technology have influenced conflicts within foreign policy and international relations, both positively and negatively. As a group, we will reflect on lessons learned from these examples, identify effective strategies and approaches for using science as a tool for conflict resolution, and consider future opportunities to enhance the role that science can play within this facet of foreign policy.

  • Jonathan Margolis, PhD, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space & Health in the Bureau of Oceans, International Environment and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State


  • Michele Gelfand, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park
  • Romesh Silva, PhD, Center for Civilians in Conflict

6:30-7:00PM:  Networking
7:00-8:30PM:  Program
Register to attend this program.
At the Crossroads of Science and Foreign Policy is a new program series co-sponsored by the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowships and the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences. The program is held at the Koshland Science Museum. Monthly events throughout fall 2013 will provide a forum for active discussion of emerging topics at the intersection of science and foreign policy.