One-Day webinar on
Science Diplomacy

June 25, 2021, Friday (03:00 PM)

Pakistan Nuclear Society in collaboration with Virtual University of Pakistan, Pakistan Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a webinar titled “Science Diplomacy” which was attended by hundreds of students and professionals from all over the world.

Speaking on the occasion, VU Rector Professor Dr Arshad Saleem Bhatti said Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of IT and Telecom and universities were key partners in science diplomacy. He said, “As a think tank we need to analyse our research-based approach towards science diplomacy.”

Most of the developed countries have initiated science diplomacy forums not only for their own benefits but also to help the developing countries. “Some of the examples are Fulbright scholarship and Erasmus Mundus scholarship, our students must avail these opportunities to rise in the field of science,” the VU rector said.

National Centre for Physics Professor Dr Muhammad Aslam Baig said that there were three types of science diplomacy i.e. science for diplomacy, science in diplomacy and diplomacy for science. Among these three diplomacies, diplomacy for science is the most important, and best example for this is ICTP, CERN and ITER.

“Our main objective under science diplomacy forum is to bring diplomats and scientists under one umbrella,” he said. He said that most of the countries were integrating science into their foreign policy. He also raised a point that coordination between foreign policy and international agencies was quite important. Science diplomacy should be used to express national power or influence in equipping decision makers with information to support policy and to enhance bilateral and multilateral relations, he added.

ACDIS) Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Muhammad Kamran Akhtar Malik spoke on Pakistan’s perspective on science diplomacy. He said that throughout history scientific advancements had been shaping and transforming powers of states relative to each other. He said the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, defined the functions of diplomats, which among other things, included promotion of scientific relations between states. Ministry of Foreign Affairs has certain advantages in terms of scientific collaboration at the international level as well as bringing stakeholders together at the national level. He told the audience that Ministry of Foreign Affairs had established a group on vaccine production which would be looking at various options for improving Pakistan's access to vaccines through international collaborations. He said the government had also announced 3 million dollar COVID-19 assistance for SAARC countries.

The government of Pakistan is providing COVID-19 related assistance to SAARC countries, including equipment such as ventilators and CPAP machines as part of the science diplomacy initiative. Professor Dr Raheel Qamar, head of science and technology sector, ISESCO Morocco, said ISESCO was UNESCO of the Islamic world and its main focus is capacity building of Muslim students. He said, “We recently announced a prize money of hundred thousand US dollars for those scientists who will develop COVID-19 vaccine or any therapy to cure this disease. For capacity building, we are also forming a partnership with NASA and Space Foundation of United States of America.” Pakistan Nuclear Society President Dr Imtinan Elahi Qureshi presented his viewpoint on “Science Diplomacy-The Global Scenario.” He briefly described the actions taken worldwide to implement science diplomacy agenda, evolution of conceptional framework of science diplomacy and upcoming issues.

Virtual University of Pakistan
M.A Jinnah Campus, Defence Road, Off Raiwind Road, Lahore