The traditional global order is under reconstruction, international affairs seem to become less reliable and predictable, and news tend to highlight stories of conflict and dissent. At the same time, science and education are gaining increasing attention as agents of collaborative and constructive international relations, even under adverse political conditions.
Science Diplomacy has become an established practice in Western diplomatic activities, including evidence based advice to foreign policies (science in diplomacy), advocacy for international scientific cooperation (diplomacy for science) and the role of scientific cooperation for the improvement of international relations (science for diplomacy). On a practical level, the benefit of Science Diplomacy is evident in multinational efforts to address grand challenges such as climate change, resource scarcities or development and participation.
Education Diplomacy should receive equal attention as a related area of multilateral common interest and of great importance for social development and cohesion. Academic exchange and collaboration are, well deserved, already given credit to. However, other areas that contribute to international cooperation are yet to be considered, and the role of education in international relations is to be given stronger emphasis. Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training, for example, supports inclusive economic development and, at the same time, builds bridges between countries.
In this Lightning Box, experts in education and international relations discuss the diplomatic value of science and education cooperation and give examples of good practices. How does diplomacy support dialogue and exchange in these fields? And how do science and education help to maintain international relations? What is the specific contribution of education, and more specifically, VET? And how should diplomats as well as educational practitioners be supported to perform effectively in this field?