This session will be the first meeting of the UArctic Science Diplomacy Thematic Network that was approved in 2017. In this network, all are welcome to contribute to science diplomacy as an international, interdisciplinary and inclusive (holistic) process. To develop this holistic process, science can be considered as the ‘study of change’ to include the natural sciences and social sciences as well as indigenous knowledge, all of which identify patterns and trends (albeit with different methodologies) that become the bases for decisions.

The diplomacy introduces evidence and options (without advocacy), contributing to informed decision-making. The goal of this new UArctic network is to train scientists as diplomats with theory, methods and skills that contribute to informed decision-making for sustainable development in the Arctic and elsewhere across generations. Dialogues in this inaugural session will be facilitated by a panel with diverse expertise to set in motion education, research and leadership activities for the Science Diplomacy Thematic Network.

The panelists represent other UArctic thematic networks (Model Arctic Council – Dr. Melody Burkins) as well as the International Arctic Science Council (IASC – Dr. Allen Pope) and International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA – Prof. Andrey Petrov), collaborating with the Science Diplomacy Center at Tufts University (Prof. Paul Berkman), which is leading the thematic network.

With a view toward practical applications across the Science Diplomacy Thematic Network, the Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation that entered into force in May 2018 will be considered throughout this session, building on the 3 November 2017 Science article (The Arctic Science Agreement Propels Science Diplomacy) that was crafted by panel members in this session. Timing of this inaugural session is synergistic across the UArctic Congress 2018 to “support both science-based decision-making and science diplomacy,” as introduced in the UArctic Congress 2018 Declaration.