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Workshop on Science Diplomacy for Armenia

YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ On May 3, 2018, the American University of Armenia (AUA) and the Diplomatic School of Armenia co-organized a workshop for students offering a panel of international speakers on the theme of science diplomacy and focusing on best practices worldwide and possible approaches for Armenia. Opening remarks were delivered by Ambassador Vahe Gabrielyan, Director of the Diplomatic School, and AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian.

Ambassador Gabrielyan and Dr. Der Kiureghian underpinned the importance of the cooperation between the two academic institutions, explaining that the subject, a new discipline for Armenian academia, was chosen because of its untapped potential for Armenia and Armenian diplomacy.

The project brought to Yerevan two international experts: Professor Luk Van Langenhove, who works at the universities of Brussels and Warwick. The professor is an expert in science diplomacy and its practice in the European Union’s policies. Joining him was Daryl Copeland, a former Canadian diplomat and trainer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. Copeland is currently providing training modules on science diplomacy at the Diplomacy and International Relations program of the Diplomatic School of Armenia, as well as for Armenian mid-career diplomats and International Relation Professionals from various government ministries and agencies.

“I know that the per capita number of scientists here in Armenia is high for the region. But how many Armenian scientists are living abroad? I would think hundreds of thousands. And if they share your sense of history, of community, of identity, of belonging, and they want to make a contribution, I would be tapping into that scientific diaspora not for the money, for the knowledge, because to address these new threats [phytosanitation, bio and food security, and artificial intelligence among others] if we don’t combine science and diplomacy, our situation is dire,” remarked Copeland.

Case studies and lessons learned from countries of the European Union, North America and Asia were presented for analysis and the potential for Armenia was explored by the panel in an interactive session which was moderated by Ambassador Gabrielyan. At the end of the panel workshop the attendees had the opportunity to ask questions related to Armenia’s role in this global context, non-politicization of science, as well as the role of science diplomacy in conflict resolution in the region.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

The Diplomatic School of Armenia was established in 2010 to train future and serving diplomats, as well as staff of government agencies working at departments of external relations. The school has successfully fulfilled that role in the past years with direct support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international donors. Cooperation with peer institutions, international organizations and the diplomatic corps has been a cornerstone of the activities of the Diplomatic School of Armenia since its establishment.