The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) conducted a 7-day Course on Science Diplomacy from 16 to 24 February 2021 as a synchronous online course using Zoom. In this introductory course, FSI welcomed 33 course participants, five (5) of them were from the Philippine Space Agency and the rest from various Philippine Foreign Service Posts and the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA’s) Consular Offices and the Home Office.
The Course was designed to introduce the unique roles and interrelatedness of science and diplomacy and their link to advancing Philippine national priorities and achieving global scientific development efforts. The Course elaborated on key successes and learnings drawn from both diplomats and scientists in doing inter-agency policy work as Philippine delegates in negotiations and/or defended Philippine positions in related issues in science, technology, and innovation at the multilateral level.
It gathered experts–both scientists and diplomats–who shared their in-depth experiences and perspectives on a number of transborder issues, such as marine biodiversity, climate crisis, global health pandemic, space science, and nuclear science. Panel presenters included Acting Assistant Secretary Jesusa Susana V. Paez of the DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and International Economic Relations (OUMAIER) and Assistant Secretary Dr. Leah J. Buendia of the Department of Science and Technology’s International Cooperation. They discussed the basic definition and three-part framework of Science Diplomacy: diplomacy for science, science for diplomacy, and science in diplomacy.
The closing panel included Charge d’Affaires Deena Joy D. Amatong of the Philippines’ Permanent Mission at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. She highlighted the peaceful use of nuclear energy and how diplomats work to seek more opportunities for the capacity building of Filipino scientists. Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla, Director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and a balik-scientist program advocate, amplified the peaceful use of nuclear energy by discussing PNRI’s projects, such as cancer diagnosis through nuclear medicine and innovative nuclear applications in agriculture.
Both DFA and DOST representatives reaffirmed their commitment to continue engaging and strengthening their partnership in science, technology, and innovation (STI) through enhanced bilateral and multilateral collaboration.
Dr. Marichu C. Liwanag, the head of FSI’s Carlos P. Romulo School of Diplomacy, also confirmed the Institute’s contribution to continually provide platforms to create meaningful dialogues among scientists and diplomats, facilitate learning opportunities, and further strengthen such collaborative work for peace and development goals of the Philippines.