Seeking Common Ground through Science: Programs Enable President Obama’s Plan

The strategy outlined by President Barack Obama emphasized scientific and technological collaboration to promote peace in partnership with Muslim countries is at the core of the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF). Since its congressional establishment in 1995, CRDF has worked to promote international research collaboration in the interests of global peace and prosperity—most recently implementing programs throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

“We applaud the President’s affirmation of science as a powerful tool to peacefully engage Muslim countries,” said Cathleen Campbell, President and CEO of CRDF. “CRDF knows firsthand that scientists and engineers with sound research and analytical skills are the foundation of knowledge-based economies. Investing in their education and the supporting infrastructure allows all countries to innovatively develop the capacity to solve global and local problems. This is why CRDF has joined with other science and foreign policy organizations to call for greater U.S. investments in international science and technology cooperation,” Campbell added.

During his Cairo speech, the President announced funds underway to support technological development in Muslim countries. “We welcome this strategy, as they recognize much of the work we are already doing in the Middle East and around the world,” she said

Working in innovative public-private partnerships in Iraq, CRDF is working to implement Virtual Science Libraries (VSLs)—digital access points for universities and research institutes to an outstanding collection of science, engineering and computer science journals across the Middle East and North Africa. CRDF also sponsors joint research projects for Arab and American scientists, and conducts scientific seminars and business training that allows scientists to engage with their peers in the global scientific community. Additionally, CRDF is helping to develop and expand more effective detection and treatment of genetic disorders, and supporting a host of health-related efforts in the region.

As CRDF forges new and creative ways to address the challenges of modernity, technological divide, security and economic development, the Foundation continues to press for an expansion of its work through establishing a multi-year Global Science Fund; designed to draw upon America’s recognized strength as an international leader in science and technology. Such a fund would provide and promote a framework for collaborations and seems to connect to the President’s proposed initiative.

CRDF is committed to working wherever international science and technology collaboration can make a critical difference in the future of a nation, its people and their peaceful co-existence with their regional and global neighbors. We invite other organizations and government agencies to support the President and join CRDF’s lead to advance science for diplomacy. The time is now to unite the science, foreign affairs, education and business communities—harnessing some of our best assets—to address global challenges.

Visit the CRDF Web site for more information: http://www.crdf.org.


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