Science Communication at the Intersection of Science and International Relations: Success Stories and Learnings from the COVID-19 Pandemic



The world has witnessed many challenges, such as economic slump, catastrophes and pandemics. However, the global health pandemic, COVID-19, has created quite a stir. To address a global pandemic like COVID-19 requires a strong interlinkage of science and scientific communication as a tool for global health diplomacy with joint research activities; sharing of data on infection, laboratory, diagnostics and virology; knowledge exchange including best practices, etc. as a global public good. Science being objective and fact-based has played a unifying role in international relationships. It is even more evident during global health emergencies where science and its use as diplomatic communication tool have the potential to promote peace and healthy living for communities. In this perspective, it is essential to understand the soft power role of science communication and the autonomous role that science and scientists can play in international relations. Three cases have been analysed to explore the role of science and its effective communication as a tool for diplomatic persuasion and attraction using three classifications, namely: science directing foreign relations; science enabling international relations; and science advising policy-making. With learnings from the cases, the path ahead in the case of a pandemic like COVID-19 is projected with emphasis on 'Open Science Diplomacy' as a model for next-generation science communication and diplomacy in international relations.


Science Communication; Science Diplomacy; Global Health Diplomacy; International Relations; Open Science Diplomacy; Vaccine Diplomacy

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