Scientists & Public Policy

January 21, 2018

Posted: January 21, 2018, 11:40pm

Last week, the USC Science Policy Group held an incredible seminar focusing on the effects of science on international and domestic relations, and the importance of undergraduate and graduate students within the larger, national diplomatic efforts. People from various backgrounds – biomedical engineering, psychology, mathematics, computational biology, and more, gathered to hear from Dr. Nicholas Cull, a Professor of Public Diplomacy within Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Working in interdisciplinary research areas that target the importance of public opinion and the exchange of culture to progress policymaking, Dr. Cull made his talk accessible for us by introducing the broader concepts of public diplomacy.

Instead of typical policymaking between foreign governments, public diplomacy includes the general population in the management of the international environment. For many countries, “soft power” and political strength outside of the typical measurements of wealth, resources, weapons, etc., include having admirable culture and values. A good perception of a country by foreign communities can drastically affect policy.

The United States builds its “soft power” by encouraging international students to pursue degrees at American colleges and deepen cross-cultural relationships. This is all heavily dependent on these students having a good experience during their time here at places like USC and Los Angeles.

This was my first time thinking about my role as a domestic student AND a front-line “diplomat”. Even though student organizations like Viterbi Graduate Student Association (VGSA) and Graduate Student Government (GSG) are always looking for new ways to cater to the international student population, I want to make a more concerted effort to integrate them into our community.

Continued scientific collaboration and global friendships will not only expand knowledge and lead to the development of new technologies, but they will also drastically impact both international and domestic policy. Who knew??

Published on January 21st, 2018

Last updated on January 21st, 2018