The author has developed and may be available to deliver an advanced seminar entitled Science, Technology, Diplomacy and International Policy. Various versions and formats have been designed in response to differing circumstances, ranging in depth and in duration from one week to three months. The course to date has been offered at the diplomatic Academy of Vienna: University of Toronto (Munk School); Ottawa University (Graduate School of Public and International Affairs); The London Academy of Diplomacy (University of East Anglia); Otago University (NZ), and; the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (Malaysia).

A thematic summary follows:

In the globalization era, many of the most profound challenges which imperil the planet – climate change, public health, food security and resource scarcity, to name a few – are rooted in science and driven by technology. Moreover, underdevelopment and insecurity, far more than religious extremism or political violence, represent fundamental threats to world order. In this context, the capability to generate, absorb and use science and technology (S&T) should play a crucial role in resolving differences, reducing inequality and improving security and development prospects. Notwithstanding the present spike in the incidence of armed conflict, there are no military solutions to the world’s most pressing problems – security is much more than a martial art. In consequence, addressing the needs of the poor, sustaining broadly-based development and bridging digital divides must become a preoccupation of both diplomacy and international policy. As a response to the negative attributes of globalization – including polarization and the tendency to socialize of costs while privatizing benefits – science diplomacy is indispensable.


In order to examine the remedial possibilities, future opinion leaders and senior officials must be critically aware of the key questions at play, and cognizant of the dynamic inter-relationships among principal actors. Although poverty reduction contributes to development, and development is a precondition to security, S&T capacity is largely alien to, and almost invisible within most institutions of global governance. Foreign ministries, development agencies, and indeed most multilateral organizations are without the scientific expertise, technological savvy, cultural predisposition or research and development (R&D) network access required to manage S&T-based issues effectively. If this is to change, diplomacy and development will have to displace defence as the international policy instruments of choice, with structural obstacles overcome and resources re-allocated accordingly. Lasting peace and prosperity will otherwise remain elusive.

The seminar will involve selected readings, intensive exchange, the preparation of a research essay and the presentation of policy briefs by participants. The overall approach will be experimental and the teaching method Socratic. Sessions will typically begin with a discussion led by the instructor, drawing upon his professional experience in both research and field applications. Premiums will be placed on interaction, innovation, insight and initiative.


For more information or to discuss potential teaching opportunities, please click here.