Science Diplomacy as a Bridge to Peace in the Middle East

February 20, 2014; 3:00-4:00pm EST


For this session of the ACS Science and Human Rights webinar series, Dr. Zafra M. Lerman, President of the Malta Conferences Foundation, spoke on the importance of science diplomacy in working toward stability in the Middle East. This year is the 10th anniversary of the unique gatherings of scientists from 15 Middle East countries, and 6 Nobel laureates to discuss issues of shared interest, such as air and water quality, green energy sources, nanotechnology, and science education.

Sponsors for the 2013 Malta Conference included the American Chemical Society, the Committee of Concerned Scientists (CCS), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (Nobel Peace Prize 2013), UNESCO, Google, AAAS, and the American Physical Society.

About the speaker:

image of Zafra M. Lehman, President of the Malta Conferences Foundation

Dr. Zafra M. Lerman is the President of MIMSAD (Methods Integrating Music, Science, Art and Dance), President of The Lerman Institute for the Advancement of Science, and President, Malta Conferences Foundation. For 25 years, she had chaired the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights for the American Chemical Society (ACS).  Since 2001, she has chaired the organizing committee for the Malta Conferences, which bring together scientists from 15 Middle East countries with six Nobel laureates to work on solving regional problems, establishing cross-border collaborations, and forging relationships that bridge chasms of distrust and intolerance. Dr. Lerman received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemistry from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. She conducted research at Cornell and Northwestern Universities in the U.S., and the ETH, Zurich, Switzerland.

About the moderator:

image of Dr. Norman Neureiter, Acting Director, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Dr. Norman P. Neureiter is the Director of the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy (CSTSP) and Senior Advisor to the Center for Science Diplomacy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  With a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Northwestern University, he worked as a chemist for Humble Oil (now Exxon) in Texas, but in 1963 moved to NSF where he began a long career in science diplomacy, first working with Japan, and after joining the State Department in 1965, serving as science attaché in Germany and then Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Returning to Washington in 1969, he served  4 years in the White House Office of Science and Technology (OST). Leaving government in 1973, he joined Texas Instruments (TI), retiring in 1996 as V.P. of TI Asia and resident in Japan.  He was appointed in 2000 as the first Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State (Albright and Powell) and served until 2003. He and has received medals from the Governments of Japan, Austria and Poland for promoting science cooperation with those countries. From 2001 he has also been the U.S. Co-Chair of the Indo-U.S. Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF) to foster cooperation in science between the U.S. and India.