[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 16-Feb-2011
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Contact: Katharine Zambon
kzambon@aaas.org
202-326-6434
American Association for the Advancement of Science

2010 AAAS Science Diplomacy Award goes to Glenn E. Schweitzer for building international relations through scientific cooperation

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society, has named Dr. Glenn E. Schweitzer, a tireless advocate for international science cooperation and the role of science in foreign relations, to receive the 2010 AAAS Science Diplomacy Award.

Dr. Schweitzer became Senior Research Fellow (nonresident) at the Center for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economic Development at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, in 2009. Since 1994 and previously from 1985-1992, Dr. Schweitzer has served as Director, Office for Central Europe and Eurasia at the National Academies in Washington, D.C. He was chosen "for his outstanding record of achievements in demonstrating the powerful role that high caliber science cooperation can have in building international relations," AAAS reported.

Specifically, Dr. Schweitzer is being honored for his efforts to engage Russia and Iran in science diplomacy, dating back to 1963 and 1999 respectively. Dr. Schweitzer's work has ranged from building lasting relationships with Soviet scientists during the Cold War to laying the groundwork for the Obama administration's efforts to foster scientific interaction and outreach with the Muslim world. He has also contributed to the field as the author of books, articles, and reports.

"Throughout Dr. Schweitzer's career, spanning more than 50 years, he has been a peerless advocate for using science to build dialogue between nations," AAAS Chief International Officer Vaughan Turekian said. "He has led the way in demonstrating how non-governmental organizations, including the National Academies and AAAS, can benefit foreign policy."

Beginning in 1963, Dr. Schweitzer served as the first science officer stationed with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He built and has maintained relationships with scientists throughout the region. Years later, Dr. Schweitzer was the first executive director of the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Russia and other countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with their peers and research organizations in Canada, EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and United States. Prior to becoming ISTC executive director, Dr. Schweitzer served as Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee chair in Moscow.

In 1999, Dr. Schweitzer began developing relationships with Iranian scientists and facilitating cooperation between the U.S. National Academies and the Iranian Academy of Sciences with his first visit to Iran, a country he has since visited over a dozen times. He also paved the way for both Academies to make exchange visits and helped organize about 20 workshops and seminars. Dr. Schweitzer's actions led to a visit by former Iranian President Khatami to the National Academies in Washington, D.C. as well as visits to Iran by three U.S. Nobel prize-winning scientists and seven prominent U.S. university presidents. Despite his being detained, interrogated, and threatened by Iranian intelligence, as well as worsening U.S.-Iran relations, Dr. Schweitzer has maintained his relationships with Iranian scientists. Recently, he was very influential in the State Department's decision to continue supporting Iranian science delegations visiting the U.S.

Dr. Schweitzer's report, "The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy," published in 1999, led to the establishment of the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State and underscored the links between the State Department's science and technology capabilities and strategic goals. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Schweitzer has authored ten books, with an eleventh title forthcoming in September. His writing has put his work into context while addressing whether science diplomacy can ultimately contribute to a more peaceful world.

Dr. Schweitzer has served as a science and technology consultant to the World Bank, World Health Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, National Science Foundation, Organization of American States, MacArthur Foundation, and the private sector. At the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr. Schweitzer has served as director of both the Office of Toxic Substances and the Environmental Monitoring Systems Laboratory.

Previous titles for Dr. Schweitzer have also included Foreign Affairs Specialist, Council for Marine Resources and Engineering; Director, the Agency for International Development Office of Science and Technology and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Scientific Affairs; adjunct professor for science policy, University of Nevada at Las Vegas; chair, International Experts Council for Science and Technology, Office of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan; and Senior Adviser, AAAS Center on Science Diplomacy.

Dr. Schweitzer earned his B.S. in international law at the United States Military Academy and his M.S. at the California Institute of Technology. He is a AAAS Fellow and he has received awards and commendations from the U.S. Military Academy, Agency for International Development, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Executive Institute, U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, European Commission's Secretary of Defense, International Science and Technology Center, Shaheed Behesti Medical University in Iran, and Sophia University in Bulgaria. In 2007, Dr. Schweitzer received the National Academies President's Award.

The AAAS Science Diplomacy Award, formerly the AAAS Award for International Scientific Cooperation, was renamed by the AAAS Board of Directors for the 2010-2011 competition cycle. Established in 1992, the award recognizes an individual or a limited number of individuals for making extraordinary contributions to further international cooperation in science and engineering.

"Because AAAS is committed to science diplomacy, it is important for us to honor those, like Dr. Schweitzer, who have made significant achievements in the field," AAAS Chief International Officer Vaughan Turekian said when asked about the name change. "We believe the award's new name more accurately characterizes the qualities we are striving to promote."

Dr. Schweitzer will receive a commemorative plaque and a monetary prize of $5,000 during the 177th AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., which will take place 17-21 February 2011. The awards ceremony and reception will be held in the Grand Ballroom North, Washington Renaissance Downtown, on Saturday, 19 February at 6:00 p.m.

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CONTACTS: Dr. Schweitzer can be reached through Sara Frueh at the National Academy of Sciences at (202) 334-3740 or sfrueh@nas.edu. For general information on the AAAS Awards ceremony or other background, Senior Communications Officer Kat Zambon of AAAS can be reached at (202) 326-6434, or kzambon@aaas.org.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

For more information on AAAS awards, see http://www.aaas.org/aboutaaas/awards/.



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