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October 5 Provost’s Lecture with Frances A. Colón

Colon
Frances Colón

Frances Colón is the Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State. The Office of the Science and Technology Adviser (STAS) promotes global scientific engagement, innovation as an engine of economic growth and development, science diasporas as a diplomacy tool, evidenced-based policy-making and the advancement of women in science around the world.

Prior to her work at STAS, Colón served the Department of State as the Science and Environment Adviser for Western Hemisphere Affairs where she was responsible for environmental and scientific issues that affected U.S. foreign policy objectives in the Americas and vice versa. During that time, Colón coordinated climate change policy for the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas announced by President Obama in 2009. In this capacity she crafted regional initiatives for reducing emissions from deforestation in the Andean Amazon and monitoring Andean glacier retreat as well as a fellowship that still brings some of the United States’ leading experts on clean energy and climate change to Latin America and the Caribbean to share best practices.

Colón joined the Department as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow from 2006 to 2008 when she was responsible for Muslim world outreach through K-12 science and math education cooperation. In 2011 she was chosen for the Spanish government’s competitive “Young U.S. Hispanic Leaders Program” representing the State Department’s science and technology priorities abroad.

Abstract: Secretary Clinton has emphasized that “the best way to advance America’s interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions” using “what has been called ‘smart power,’ the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural — picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation.” An essential element of America’s “smart power” is our science and technology capability. Countries, regardless of their politics, culture and worldview, are interested to learn what the United States does to spur science, technology and innovation. The United States, in turn, has much to gain from helping to develop more knowledge and innovation-based societies around the world and from spreading scientific values — like meritocracy and transparency — that support democracy. In addition, science and technology are also crucial for dealing with major challenges facing countries, such as public health, food security, clean energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, cyber-security and more. Many of these challenges transcend borders and are global concerns. In this era of globalization, the United States can remain at the cutting edge and as world leader in science and technology only by engaging with the scientific and technical communities elsewhere. Science diplomacy is crucial to achieving this goal.

This Provost’s Lecture, co-sponsored by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, the Center for Inclusive Education and the Graduate School, will be held on Friday, October 5, at 4 pm in the Wang Center Theater.

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