by Krystal Mullins
Idaho Public Radio
Dr. Bill Colglazier, a former science advisor to the Secretary of State and current advisor to the United Nations, spoke at the University of Idaho in Moscow on September 9 about science diplomacy and its use to generate relations with foreign countries.
“In this globalized interconnective world, I find that every country wants to build up their capacity in science and technology. They see that as key if they’re going to have a secure, prosperous country.” Colglazier said in an interview during his visit to the U of I.
Despite individual priorities each country has, Colglazier believes that common goals of reducing poverty, expanding education, and accelerating economic growth tend to be universally accepted.
“All 190 countries of the world subscribed to these broad goals as targets, and they recognize that if they’re going to make progress moving forward in these areas, they’re going to have to do a better job at harnessing science and technology.” Colglazier said.
“For the U.S., engaging in science and technology is a great asset, because even if the countries don’t like our government, they still want to engage with our universities, high tech private companies, and with our research institutions,” Colglazier continued.
(Krystal Mullins photo)
Even though there have been some disputes recently on diplomacy, Colglazier still believes that the United States is a leader on this front and many countries still look to the U.S. as a model.
“One of the greatest diplomatic successes of the United States was having our universities attract students from other countries,” said Colglazier, “We have influenced people from around the world by what our universities do and our engagements.”
In his experience, Colglazier believes it is in the United States’ best interest to try and build up every society and make them more knowledge based. This includes working on improving education to ensure more highly trained individuals, leading to other countries contributing to advancements in science and technology globally.
“Young students around the world are very similar. They’re idealistic, they want to make the world a better place and use their expertise to contribute to these greater goals,” Colglazier said.
Science diplomacy can be the tool of engagement when interacting with other countries, and Colglazier believes scientists and experts have a significant part to play in government and public understanding.
“There are these broader issues that affect the globe whether that’s dealing with the climate or oceans, and scientists and technologists have an important role in helping countries understand how they will be affected,” Colglazier said.
Colglazier’s visit was organized by the College of Science, the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, and the Martin Institute at the U of I.
Posted October 17, 2019