Meridian Reads: Science, Fashion and Soviet-China Relations

Photo Credit: VOA


Happy Sunday, Meridian Readers! We hope your weekend has been filled with fun, sun and relaxation. Now it’s time to fill it with diplomacy, so let’s dive on into this week’s #MeridianReads…

Can ‘Science Diplomacy’ Work?

Publication: Inside Higher Ed | By David Matthews Related image

  • Not totally sure what science diplomacy is? That’s okay – most people aren’t. The idea behind it is that working together on research projects can build trust and networks between countries, which improves their overall relations.
  • “Working together on scientific projects would be a very sincere vote of trust in the relationship,” explained Carolin Kaltofen, a research associate at University College London and an expert on the idea of science diplomacy.
  • How long has this kind of diplomacy been practiced, you ask?
    • About 10 years.
    • The concept of science diplomacy shot to prominence when a series of books, reports and centers launched to explore its potential — although in reality it has been practiced for much longer.
    • Example: US – Soviet space mission cooperation.
  • Paul Berkman, director of the Science Diplomacy Center at Tufts University, said he thinks it’s possible for science diplomacy to restore the dialogue in the Middle East, or the South China Sea. Fingers crossed.

Pssst: We’re pretty big fans of Science Diplomacy. Check out our involvement here.

Embassies Embrace Fashion as Public Diplomacy Tool

Publication: The Washington Diplomat | By Stephanie Kanowitz

  • People in the diplomatic community are realizing — and relishing — fashion’s role in diplomacy, which is becoming just as prominent as food, art and sports diplomacy. Here, here!
  • “When we wear something, it can have such a strong impact on people because we are watching, particularly those that are high up in government,” said Jan Du Plain, president and chief executive officer of Du Plain Global Enterprises.
  • Du Plain recently worked with Indira Gumarova, wife of Czech Ambassador Hynek Kmoníček, and the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) to host “Glamour & Diplomacy,” a fashion show at the State Department.
    • The event featured female ambassadors and ambassadors’ wives wearing ensembles by contemporary designers from around the world, representing over a dozen countries and five continents.
  • Now is the right time for fashion to take its place in Washington because people are less judgmental of cutting-edge clothing, said Gumarova, a PR consultant and founder of the group Diplomacy & Fashion. BRB, heading to Georgetown.

PS: Check out our diplomacyXdesign project here.

China’s Panda Diplomacy Comes to Moscow

Publication: Voice of America | By Charles Maynes Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a ceremony at which Xi was presented with an honorary degree from St. Petersburg State University in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 6, 2019.

  • Chinese leader Xi Jinping is currently on a three-day state visit to Russia aimed at underscoring Russian-Sino cooperation.
  • Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met roughly 30 times over the last six years, and Xi refers to Putin as his best friend. So… they’re close.
  • What role does the US play in this relationship? Not a big one, other than its tensions between these two countries have only made them closer.
    • “People generally tend to go to the places where they are liked,” said Mikhail Korostikov, Asia-Pacific observer for the Kommersant daily newspaper, while explaining the personal chemistry between Putin and Xi. “But the conflict with the U.S. that both countries are facing made them closer.” (i.e. that trade war with China and the many sanctions the US has levied against Russia).
  • What else makes Russia and China best buds? They share similar views on global security and international crises — such as those in Syria, North Korea and Iran.
    • Oh, one more thing. Russian officials now tout trade deals with China worth more than $100 billion annually — making China Russia’s top trading partner. Nothing bonds best friends like a few billion dollars.

That’s it for this week, folks. We’ll catch you later.