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ISC and its partners organised the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on 12-29 September 2023.
The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA79 beginning on 12 September 2024.
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Monday, September 25 • 2:00pm - 4:30pm
[IN-PERSON] Science capacity building for the future: defining the Skills Agenda (251402) FULL

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The growing interest in identifying future-ready human skills amidst rapid technological growth has inspired new cross-sector collaboration on education and skill development. This symposium addresses how we can make a more inclusive approach to science capacity building a critical part of the UN Summit of the Future in 2024. This symposium aims to create a platform for a transdisciplinary and global dialogue on improving and reimagining science and technology education. Our goal is collective strategy-building for an equitable STEM future, ensuring every individual, regardless of background, can access opportunities. Together, we can shape novel strategies and policies to influence the next generation of scientists, innovators, and leaders in STEM, aligning with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #4 and the EU-AU Innovation Agenda.
The session has three main objectives:
1.     Advocate for transdisciplinary science & epistemological pluralism to ensure cross-cultural knowledge exchanges & applications.
2.     Identify skills needed to enhance future science capacity from local to global levels.
3.     Identify best practices to enhance these skill sets efficiently from local to global levels. 

DATE: Monday, September 25, 2:00pm - 4:30pm (Check-in: 1:30-1:55pm, as this is a hybrid event that will start at 2pm sharp).
WHERE: The Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations, 885 2nd Ave, 35th floor, NY. 
THIS IS A HYBRID EVENT: In-person attendees will receive an email about entrance procedures. Virtual attendees will find the Zoom link on that event page 10 minutes before start).
IMPORTANT:  IN-PERSON ATTENDEES AND PEOPLE ON THE WAITING LIST: You need to change your Sched profile to Public by Thursday 9/21 to attend this event!

2:00pm - Welcome to everyone and introduction of symposium and speakers. 
  • Session 1: A foundational perspective of science diplomacy.
  • Session 2: Astronomy education, sense-making and African oral traditions.
3:05pm - 3:15pm - Coffee Break
  • Session 3: Transdisciplinary and societally relevant science and science education in the Americas.
  • Session 4: A broad, diverse, and actionable framework for science capacity building for the future.
4:10pm - 4:30pm - Panel discussion / Q&A


Speaker 1: Imac Zambrana (Associate Professor, University of Oslo and Oslo New University College, Norway)
Title: A broader and more diverse framework for science capacity building for the future.
Summary: There is a need to identify and develop skills for the future amidst anticipated technological advancements. The digital and green transformations, diversity, and unevenness in resources, needs, and societal challenges reflect the importance of considering and understanding these challenges and turning them into opportunities. This talk will provide a framework for supporting a more holistic, inclusive, and trans-disciplinary approach to science capacity building.
Speaker 2: Petter Næss (Executive Director, U.S-Norway Fulbright Foundation for Educational Exchange)
Title: The value of diplomacy and exchanges across borders and fields. 
Summary: The Fulbright program promotes global peace and understanding through academic exchange and strives to “see the world as others see it.” This talk will examine some of the issues and tensions relevant to that imperative: the “two cultures” of science and the humanities, epistemological pluralism, threats to academic freedom, precautionary principles and market forces, unequal distribution of resources in the global research community, national identities and interests in the face of global challenges, and how to collaborate constructively and peaceably with those who may see the world – and the world of science – differently.
Speaker 3: Larisa Schelkin (CEO, President and Founder, Global STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Center, Inc.)
Title: The importance of global competencies and science diplomacy (“science in diplomacy, science for diplomacy and diplomacy for science” Royal Society & AAAS)
Summary: Sharing scientific knowledge and approaches through formal and informal, private, and public collaborations and training depends on global perspectives and literacy. One needs to understand global nuances to navigate global scientific communities and ensure technological progress across all disciplines. Skills such as science diplomacy are not currently being taught in schools, but moving forward, scientific communities and science education depend on promoting and integrating them into the curriculum across all educational systems.
Speaker 4: Charles Takalana (Physicist, Head of Secretariat, African Astronomical Society, South Africa)
Title: The role of astronomy to build skill sets within and across fields.
Summary: Astronomy is a data-intensive science. It can be used to build skill sets for other fields and technology transfer beyond the field of astronomy. Moreover, the astronomical heritage in Africa, combined with the increasing need for dark sky preservation, opens up opportunities for policy and strategies to boost interdisciplinary exchanges between and across educational efforts in astronomy, technology, and the SDGs.
Speaker 5: Tshiamiso Makwela (Post-doctoral fellow and research scientist, IAU OAE, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy & University of Cape Town).
Title: Astronomy Education Research towards sense-making
Summary: Science education that leads to responsible and informed citizenship from a global perspective needs to respect the culture of students while at the same time fostering their abilities to think critically and scientifically. This talk advocates for a science education approach that respects cultural backgrounds and fosters critical thinking, using astronomy as a case study. It will argue against rote memorization, emphasizing the importance of sense-making in connecting science, culture, and personal experience. 
Speaker 6: Ismahan Soukeyna Diop (Associate professor at Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal)
Title: African oral tradition as a tool for sharing and understanding of culturally relevant content.
Summary: African storytelling tradition can be used to share, teach, and understand non-scientific and scientific material. Oral tradition builds on projections of known cultural content, such as ancestry and practices, contextualizing new and unfamiliar content. The abstract narrative can become a bridge into the context. This talk will share how African storytelling has been used to project material in psychotherapeutic sessions and discuss how such oral traditions can be used for science education and training.
Speaker 7: Laila Sandroni (STeP fellow, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, Uruguay).
Title: Weaving transdisciplinary research network

avatar for Laila Sandroni

Laila Sandroni

Fellow, Conviva (T2S)
avatar for Petter Næss

Petter Næss

Executive Director, Fulbright Foundation Norway
avatar for Tshiamiso Makwela

Tshiamiso Makwela

Research Scientist and Postdoctoral Fellow, Internation Astronomy Union Office of Astronomy Education and University of Cape Town, Max Planck Institute for Astronom
Tshiamiso Makwela completed her PhD in Astronomy, focusing on Astronomy Education Research at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2022. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) South Africa. Tshiamiso currently works at the International... Read More →
avatar for Larisa Schelkin

Larisa Schelkin

NASA GLOBE Educator, UNITAR Global Diplomacy Faculty, NASA GLOBE Partner/Teaching Faculty UNITAR Global Diplomacy Fellowship New York/Global STEM Education Center, Inc
Larisa K. Schelkin CEO, President and Founder, Global STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Center, Inc. 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation; She is President and Founder of the Global STEM Education Consulting, LLC. Larisa Schelkin is the author of the Global STEM... Read More →
avatar for Charles Takalana

Charles Takalana

Head of Secretariat (AfAS) & Co-Chair: IAU-GA2024 National Organising Committee, African Astronomical Society (AfAS) & IAU-GA2024 NOC
Charles Mpho Takalana completed his PhD in physics, focusing on Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in December 2020. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. Charles currently works at the African... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Barnes

Rebecca Barnes

AAAS STP Fellow, Belmont Forum
Rebecca (Becca) Barnes is a member of the Belmont Forum Secretariat and an AAAS STP Fellow at the National Science Foundation. In this role she works to facilitate the creation and implementation of transdisciplinary multilateral research calls around questions of global environmental... Read More →
avatar for Ismahan Soukeyna DIOP

Ismahan Soukeyna DIOP

Associate Professor of Psychology, Université Cheikh Anta Diop
Ismahan Soukeyna Diop holds a PhD in clinical psychology. She works as a teacher-researcher at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. Since her obtention of a tenure-track position as a teacher-researcher at UCAD, she has managed the courses in the field of clinical psychology... Read More →
avatar for Andres Villalba

Andres Villalba

International Speaker, Ministry of Education and Universidad Gaston Dachary
Andrés Villalba is an EFL Teacher in Argentina, has a B.A. in Applied Linguistics and a Specialization from Ohio University. Has participated in bilingual projects in Argentina, Brazil and the United States and delivers conferences on education, culture, and innovation for Universities... Read More →

avatar for Imac Zambrana

Imac Zambrana

Associate Professor, University of Oslo
Imac Zambrana, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the University of Oslo, a cognitive developmentalist and a tech enthusiast. Her research is focused on how we develop our cognitive and communicative skills and how we subsequently apply those skills to learn more about as well as... Read More →

Monday September 25, 2023 2:00pm - 4:30pm EDT
The Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations