science diplomacy

Twitter has had a phenomenological influence on the international news media in the post-Iranian elections period in June 2009 onwards. Through the continuous 24 hour- cycle of tweets, the micro-blogging site was challenging the censorship applied by the Iranian government on all news media covering the confrontations following the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad . After years of state monopoly and censorship twitter and other social media sites and applications are making governments more concerned over news.

The House of Representatives approved two bills that originated in the Committee on Science and Technology. H.R. 1736, the International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2009, and H.R. 1709, the STEM Education Coordination Act of 2009.

Using science for diplomatic purposes has obvious attractions and several benefits. But there are limits to what it can achieve.

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously lamented "How much of human life is lost in waiting" and observers of U.S. public diplomacy these last few months could be forgiven for saying the same thing. While other areas of government have something to show for the first one-hundred days of the Obama administration, formal public diplomacy initiatives have been hard to find.

There is a profound gap between the well-fed citizens of affluent nations with access to up-to-date technology and excellent educational opportunities and citizens of the poorest countries of every continent.

January 27, 2006