Science Diplomacy

Date and Time


MacN 113



Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, FRS


Science Diplomacy is a term that has come to be used to describe almost all activities that involve both science/scientists and international relations/politicians/diplomats. I will discuss examples, successes and failures of ‘Science in diplomacy’ i.e. science advice supporting foreign policy objectives, both ‘Science supporting international political objectives’ (e.g. nuclear arms control) and ‘Science helping to meet global technical challenges’ (e.g. tackling climate change) ‘Diplomacy for science’ i.e. diplomacy facilitating international scientific cooperation (e.g. negotiating international participation in the LHC, and choosing the site for ITER), and ‘Science for diplomacy’ i.e. scientific cooperation fostering better relations (e.g. through collaboration at CERN, and mobility of students and researchers as an element of ‘soft power’). I will end by describing the SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) project, whose members are Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey, which  - having overcome many difficulties - is now working, and bringing together scientists from across the region.


Chris Llewellyn Smith is a theoretical physicist. He is currently interested in all aspects of energy supply and demand. Chris has inter alia served as Director of Energy Research, Oxford University (2011-17), President of the Council of SESAME - Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (2008-11), Chair of the Council of the world fusion project ITER (2007-09), and Director General of CERN (1994-1998, when the Large Hadron Collider was approved and construction started).  He has written and spoken widely on science funding, international scientific collaboration and energy issues, and served on many advisory bodies nationally and internationally, including the UK Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology (1989-92). His contributions to theoretical particle physics and leadership have been recognised by awards and honours world-wide, including most recently the American Association for Advancement of Science’s 2019 award for Science Diplomacy and an Honorary DSc from the University of Guelph.

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