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Introduction to the Special Issue

Science Diplomacy #CSD10years

Since 2008, the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy has been working at the forefront of the science diplomacy field. Our efforts have centered on helping to catalyze the role of science in foreign policy and demonstrate the value scientists and engineers offer outside their traditional settings, as well as the need for diplomats to understand the implications of science and technology in their work. In 2012, the Center set out to do something new: create a platform where scientists, policy makers, diplomats, and other thought leaders could share their perspectives, insights, and stories on issues at the nexus of science and international affairs. Science & Diplomacy, the first policy journal devoted to this convergence, was born.

In the past six years, we have published 155 essays and research-based articles in twenty-two quarterly issues from authors across over more than thirty countries. The journal solicits pieces from professionals at all career stages—from ministers of science and ambassadors, to other government officials in various agencies, to university professors and science policy professionals, to graduate students. From science cooperation on the future of Antarctica to lessons from the International Space Station, Science & Diplomacy has sought to frame the emerging discipline by exploring practical examples from the field—and across the globe—as well as underscoring useful frameworks through which science diplomacy may be applied.

In honor of the Center’s ten-year anniversary, the editors of Science & Diplomacy have compiled a special edition of the journal to reflect on the past, highlight the present, and envision the future of science diplomacy through the following material:

  • Our editor-in-chief looks at science diplomacy’s role in the past and its potential role in shaping our world of the future.
  • After examining readership of articles since our launch in 2012, we selected two topics (global research infrastructures and North Korea) that have been among our most read online, and here provide a contemporary perspective on those topics from top experts. 
  • We spotlight two regions—Africa and Europe—where science diplomacy has played and will continue to play a role in national and regional priorities and processes. Thought leaders from these regions offer their perspectives. 

We hope that you, our readers, enjoy these perspectives and are challenged to consider their place in the current and future global landscape, where the merging of science, technology, policy, and diplomacy will help define the future of our lives and our planet. In the words of our authors, If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.1


  1. Gihan Kamel, How a Mediterranean Wanderer Joined SESAME, Science &Diplomacy, September 2016
September 2018