Science and Diplomacy

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Science  17 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6070, pp. 775
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220355

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The world has much to gain from developing more knowledge- and innovation-based societies and from spreading scientific values, including meritocracy and transparency, that support democracy. This fundamental assumption underlies a renewed interest in science diplomacy, along with the widespread recognition that science and technology (S&T) are strategic assets for U.S. diplomacy. My recent appointment as S&T Adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has increased my appreciation of the great potential of America's S&T capabilities for enhancing our foreign policy. S&T are strategic assets for U.S. diplomacy because all countries, regardless of their politics, culture, and worldview, respect our S&T capabilities and want to engage with U.S. scientists and engineers. This is true even of countries with which governmental relations are strained. S&T are critical to fostering innovation and economic prosperity in a highly competitive and interconnected world, and are essential for solving national and global problems.