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Plenary 2

PLENARY SESSION 2

Regional Efforts and Scientific Development
Moderator: Francisco Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Sciences, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine

Speakers will discuss their organizations’ work building scientific capacity in Latin America and Eastern Europe, including lessons of general value and those unique to the region.


Knowledge Sharing and Collaborative Research to the Benefit of a Better Environment in Latin America click here for audio, including introduction of moderator
Mary T. Kalin Arroyo, Full Professor of Biology, University of Chile

Latin America is a one of the richest areas in the world for biodiversity and a continent whose geography provides a model for answering numerous questions concerning global trends in biodiversity and climate change. Saving that biodiversity and using it sustainably in the face of ever-increasing economic pressures requires a cadre of well-trained and active scientists in many different fields, ranging from alpha taxonomy to ecological economics. While Latin America possesses many internationally-recognized groups of scientists, much isolation exists between the individual countries of the Region. In the mid 1980s, through generous support by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, W. Alton Jones Foundation, Jessie Noyes Foundation and others, Latin American botanists joined together to establish the Latin American Plant Sciences Network. This presentation will review the extraordinary biodiversity of Latin America and then concentrate on the impact of a small, home-grown Latin American initiative that has allowed hundreds of Latin American graduate students and young scientists to cross national borders, undertake joint research projects, develop regional graduate courses, and hold international scientific meetings. Many aspects of the Latin American Plant Sciences Network model have been adopted in the newly formed Center for Advanced Studies in Ecology and Research on Biodiversity in Chile, where international networking and collaboration are key elements.


Scientific Cooperation Amid Social Change: The Case of the Former Soviet Union click here for audio
Gerson Sher, President, U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation

Scientific cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union has undergone several distinct phases since its inception in the 1950s, including the post-Soviet period since 1991. In each phase, American scientists, pursuing their scientific interests and in some cases policy interests as well, have in fact also participated in profound processes of change. In the current period, a major challenge is to move beyond the "assistance" mode of salvaging the best of Soviet science characteristic of the 1990s, to a new framework of cooperation and mutual respect that is also mindful of the evolving context of institutional and historical change that is taking place in the region. By doing so, American scientists and their institutions can have a significant, positive impact not only on the quality of scientific cooperation with these countries, but also on the direction they take in promoting science and economic development. Working with scientists of the former Soviet countries to build bridges to the neighboring geographic regions is also a significant opportunity whose potential depends in part on how effectively the U.S. community can work with the former to build mutual confidence and respect. The CRDF is funded by the Department of State, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and other public and private sources. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent those of the CRDF or its funders.

 

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