Science Diplomacy

Research institutes in the Trieste region dedicate their annual conference to international cooperation and science diplomacy.
Science Diplomacy

ICTP's host city, Trieste, is home to a large ecosystem of research and cultural organisations, all gathered under the umbrella of the Sistema Scientifico e dell'Innovazione del Friuli Venezia Giulia (SiS FVG), a network supported by the Italian Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, where Trieste is located.

Every year, SiS FVG organises an annual conference convening all major stakeholders, both at the regional and at the national level. This year’s edition was dedicated to international cooperation and science diplomacy, in the light of Italy’s strategic plan for Africa, the so-called "Piano Mattei". Launched in January 2024, the plan aims to strengthen Italy’s collaboration with African countries on several fronts, including research and innovation. The event took place on 26 June and was hosted by Area Science Park.

“Trieste has invented a new model of scientific cooperation, that consists of bringing scientists together, providing them with access to knowledge and ensuring that the whole humanity can benefit from what sparks from different minds, independently of their origin,” stated Alessandro Garbellini, Head of the Office for Space, Scientific Cooperation and Intellectual Property at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in his keynote speech on “The role of science diplomacy and international cooperation”.

Science diplomacy and international cooperation are at the heart of ICTP’s mission. While stressing the key role science plays as a “soft power” fostering peaceful collaborations between countries, Garbellini also focused on the role that the Centre has played in training generations of scientists from the Global South, adding that “ICTP has been a pioneer in considering that access to scientific knowledge could be a vehicle for peace.”

SiS FVG includes four science organisations that over the years have developed strong connections with African scientific communities and organisations, and whose missions serve science in the Global South. The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS), and ICTP all operate under the aegis of the United Nations and have close ties with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Representatives from ICGEB, OWSD, TWAS and ICTP participated in a panel discussion dedicated to the “Best practices and success stories of international cooperation and science diplomacy from SiS FVG”, alongside colleagues representing the Central European Initiative (CEI), Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), and Tecnologie per l’innovazione FVG (TEC4I FVG).

In his remarks, ICTP Director Atish Dabholkar stated that “Salam’s vision from 60 years ago is even more important today. Thinking of climate change one realises that many of the challenges we are facing are global and require a scientific approach. Through ICTP the Trieste science system plays a big role, as there is no other place in the world where Indian, Pakistani and Chinese scientists can meet and discuss about monsoons, which do not care about political boundaries and affect all of these countries equally.”

Watch the recording of the event:


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