Field of Study

Science Diplomacy as a Fletcher School self-designed Field of Study

“Science Diplomacy” was introduced to The Fletcher School as a self-designed field of study in 2016. Students need two Fields of Study to graduate, and can designed and propose their own Field of Study (for more information on self-designed fields of study, please refer to this webpage).

The Science Diplomacy self-designed Field of Study consists of four classes chosen among the offered classes at The Fletcher School on a regular basis. This is only a proposed model, and other classes than the ones suggested below could contribute to a Science Diplomacy self-designed Field of Study. Students are encouraged to approach Prof. Berkman and staff of the Science Diplomacy Center for advice in designing their own.

Core course*: DHP P259 – Science Diplomacy: Environmental Security In The Arctic Ocean (Prof. Paul Arthur Berkman)

The field is constituted around Prof. Berkman core course, DHP P259, which focuses on science diplomacy and its foundational pillars. The course takes the Arctic region as an example of science diplomacy in action, but the lessons learned are applicable to any region/topic that involves science diplomacy. Indeed, the course addresses “science diplomacy as an emerging interdisciplinary field with global relevance to promote cooperation and prevent conflict among nations. The Arctic Ocean will be used a s a case-study […]”. As such it provides a solid theoretical grounding in the role of science in diplomacy. In addition, it provides examples of the legal frameworks in which science diplomats work as “Law of the sea will be addressed throughout this course as the legal framework for the Arctic Ocean”.

DHP D220: Processes of International Negotiations (e.g. Prof. Eileen Babbitt):

Science diplomats usually finds themselves bridging the gap between scientists and policymakers in a multilateral context. One of the key skills needed is the ability to bring diverse interests together and negotiate in order to balance common interests and national interests, and navigate conflicts. Processes of International Negotiations uses simulations and exercises to develop strategies and tactics for negotiations in an international setting: “students will examine a current, unresolved conflict and how negotiation theory may be applied strategically by one of the parties”. A typical example of science diplomacy in negotiations is the Iranian nuclear deal, which involved two physicists on each side, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi.

DHP P253: Sustainable Development Diplomacy (Prof. Mihaela Papa & Prof. Patrick Verkooijen):

A third course, such as Prof. Papa & Prof. Verkooijen’s “Sustainable Development Diplomacy” is grounded in environmental science, as it is “focusing on climate, water and forest diplomacy, [the course] address[es] a range of themes including UN climate negotiations, environmental refugees, liability for climate impacts, disputes over access to and use of water, and public-private cooperation in environmental governance”. Sustainability is a core concept of science diplomacy, given the timescale of the (planetary) problems that the field is trying to address. As such, this course if a delves deeper into the sustainability aspects of science diplomacy.

EIB-E246 – Environmental Economics (Prof. Shinsuke Tanaka):

Scientific and technological activities can not only reveal opportunities for commercial gain but also impact the socio-economic nexus. A deeper understanding of the economics at play is extremely beneficial to go beyond the science on one hand, and the diplomacy on the other hand, and get a more holistic perspective. The Environmental Economics course looks to think critically about rationales and potential impacts of environmental policies which form a subset of issues of Science Diplomacy, and teaches to apply economic concepts and theories to solve real-world environmental issues.