Public Talk: Dr. Vaughan Turekian “Science Diplomacy: Its Importance and Success Factors”

YEREVAN, Armenia – On April 14th, Science and Technology Adviser to the U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Vaughan Turekian led a public talk, organized by the Office of the Provost of the American University of Armenia (AUA), discussing his science diplomacy career. From his Ph.D. in atmospheric chemistry to his current position today, Dr. Turekian shared how his roots, mentors and diverse interests in science and international affairs influenced his career trajectory. He also emphasized the importance of robust science in diplomacy, and encouraged students to become more engaged in innovation, entrepreneurship, and policy.

Dr. Vaughan Turekian assumed his role as the fifth Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State on September 8, 2015. In this capacity, he advises the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment on international environment, science, technology, and health matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States. Dr. Turekian draws upon his background in atmospheric chemistry and extensive policy experience to promote science, technology, and engineering as integral components of U.S. diplomacy. Prior to becoming the Science and Technology Adviser, Dr. Turekian was Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Director of AAAS’s Center for Science Diplomacy (2006 – 2015), where he worked to build bridges between nations based on shared scientific goals, placing special emphasis on regions where traditional political relationships are strained or do not exist. As Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, an online quarterly publication, he published original policy pieces that have served to inform international science policy recommendations. Dr. Turekian worked at the State Department as Special Assistant and Adviser to the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (2002 – 2006) on issues related to sustainable development, climate change, environment, energy, science, technology, and health, and also served as Program Director for the Committee on Global Change Research at the National Academy of Sciences (2000 – 2002) where he was study director for a White House report on climate change science.

Dr. Turekian is a former AUA adjunct professor who taught graduate courses in environmental sciences and atmospheric chemistry during his time at AUA in 2000. He also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Geology and Earth Science from Yale University (1993) and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Virginia (2000). A former AAAS fellow himself, Dr. Turekian brings a steadfast commitment to utilizing our nation’s capital in science and technology innovation to advance U.S. diplomacy.

The video of the public talk can be viewed at:

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 US-style education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.


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