ECOSF, COMSTECH and COMSATS, MoFA, PAS and Technology Times joined hands together to co-organize a one-day Seminar on Science Diplomacy
The Science Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in collaboration with Pakistan Academy of Science (PAS) and COMSTECH, and with the cooperation and support of ECOSF, COMSATS and Technology Times organized a one-day seminar on Science Diplomacy at COMSTECH Headquarter on November 27, 2019 in Islamabad. The objective of holding this seminar was to generate a meaningful debate and dialogue on effective use of Science & Technology as an instrument for diplomacy to foster Pakistan’s international STI collaborations and leveraging the country’s Foreign Diplomatic Missions to bring strategic international partners to achieve the socio-economic development in the country. The seminar brought together members of diplomatic corps, country’s leading scientists and academicians, government officials, representatives of media, development organizations and students of the local universities. On behalf of ECOSF, President ECOSF Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, and his team, including Engr. Khalil Raza, Mr. Ghulam Abbas Rahar and Mr. Adnan Ali Abbasi participated in the seminar.
Dr. Tariq Banuri, the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Coordinator General of the COMSTECH graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Prof. Banuri underscored the significance of knowledge based economies in the 21st Century and how knowledge can drive the nations to uplift their social-economic conditions. With the advanced information and communication technologies, countries with strong scientific and technology foundations have the potential to create immense wealth, and one must learn from the countries who have demonstrated this growth pattern. He underlined that HEC is now focused on collaborative research agenda with transition from input based to impact based research to help achieve sustainable development goals by utilizing the partnership with other developing and friendly countries. Dr. Banuri highlighted a number of initiatives being undertaken by the HEC to promote international research collaborations with leading global universities.
Mr. Kamran Akhtar, the Director General (DG) Science Diplomacy Division of MoFA presented his talk on “Science Diplomacy Initiative by MoFA”. Mr. Akhtar said that role of Science Diplomacy is not new. One should be mindful of the fact that with looming threat of Climate Change and Food Security, no one country can tackle these challenges in isolation, therefore, the importance of science diplomacy is gaining traction around the world. He further emphasized on the instrumental role that diplomats can play in promoting scientific and technological collaborations among the nations. Mr. Akhtar shared that, as part of this initiative, special attention would be given to areas of strategic importance such as; climate change, energy, water, food and agriculture and public health.
President ECOSF, Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro delivered his talk on “Science Diplomacy for the Sustainable Development: Experiences of ECOSF”. In his presentation, Prof. Soomro emphasized that Science and Technology has immense power to addresses issues of great importance to all societies. Prof. Soomro elucidated that technological advanced countries are now capable of influencing nations by exerting soft-power to achieve their economic goals, and it’s efficacy and impact is often more persuasive than hard-power. He further demonstrated the case of soft-power where tech-giants like Google, Huawei, General Electric and Apple: their products are so demand driven with high utility that even rival countries are left with no option but to use them. That is how technologically advanced countries use science and technology in combination with persuasive diplomacy to gain their economic goals. Therefore, ECO Member Countries, including Pakistan have to move up the technological ladder to develop capabilities in STI to remain globally competitive. Prof. Soomro shared that ECOSF is actively promoting science diplomacy not only among the Member States but beyond the region by bringing expertise from advanced countries. He further shared a number of activities and programs that Foundation carries out in collaboration with its leading global STI organization. Our international partners and collaborators have been instrumental in enabling the ECOSF to achieve its intended goals, he added.
The other expert/speakers included Prof. Dr. M. Aslam Baig (Secretary, General, Pakistan Academy of Sciences), Prof. Dr. M. Qasim Jan (Advisor COMSTECH and President PAS), Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi (Executive Director COMSATS), Syed Ammar Jaffry (Former Additional DG FIA and CEO Security Expert Pakistan), Dr. Zaigham Abbas (Deputy Director IC Wing, Ministry of Climate Change) and Sayyed Paras Ali (CEO/Editor Technology Times).