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Careers in science diplomacy and international policy

Published on: Sep 25, 2019

A small group huddled together in the back of a Paris café. I sat with representatives from Norway, Mexico, the US, and several members of the Women's Major Group to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change. One term was being hotly contested as it relates to climate adaptation strategies: “gender equality”. Several days earlier, during the opening of negotiations for the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015, a 16‐year‐old girl read her island country's passionate statement about their future under rising sea levels. When the new global agreement was finally signed, our tiny bit of language about gender equality remained. Despite the decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement 2 years later, the Agreement has only grown in strength and is redefining the global climate policy landscape. My experience at this meeting is just one example of the many opportunities for ecologists to engage in international policy as a career path. – GB

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship provides one possible pathway to a career‐changing immersion into the world of diplomacy and science policy. Through my AAAS Fellowship with the US Geological Survey, I first grasped the power of scientific collaboration to build bridges between countries, even when traditional diplomatic efforts have failed. Although my fellowship work was primarily domestic, I also led the Fellows’ Science Diplomacy Affinity Group, which connected me to the science diplomacy world. Whether interacting with ambassadors on scientific collaborations in marine ecology or briefing political appointees on wildlife trafficking and transboundary natural resource management, I found that the AAAS Fellowship provided a unique window to the ways in which ecology, diplomacy, and policy may intersect. – TMS

To read the rest of this article in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, please click here.