Science Diplomacy - Ethiopia, Egypt and the dam of contention

Cristina Serra - Italy

Cristina Serra earned her Laurea in Biology from the University of Trieste, and her Master in Science Communication from SISSA/ISAS in Trieste. She carried out lab research for 10 years, working at Yale University, Cornell University (NYC) and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Trieste. She is now a professional journalist, with 15 years of free-lance work and press office expertise. In 2010 she moved to TWAS, where she is now a staff writer in charge of, in particular, communication with the Italian media and events organization. She runs radio scientific programmes with RAI, the Italian State Broadcaster.

Session introduction

The session will describe the use of scientific diplomacy as a tool to provide scientific advice within international cooperation, to achieve peace and sustainable development. It will address a few cases, with a focus on the Grand Renaissance Dam disputed between Ethiopia and Egypt.

Session in-depth 

The session will offer basic notions underlying the role of science diplomacy in the last decades, and the importance of seeking collaboration and dialogue between scientists and policy makers today, when global challenges are shared more then ever by the whole world. After the introductory part (slides), participants will be engaged in a role-playing exercise: they will be split into small groups (max 3-4 people per group), and each group will be assigned a role within the theme that was anticipated in the introduction. Each group will be asked to take position on the subject, according to the role each has received. At the end of the session, groups will confront their positions and discuss to convince the others/find an agreement, in accordance to science diplomacy principles.