As President Obama has said, we will “harness the power of science to achieve our goals — to preserve our environment and protect our national security; to create the jobs of the future, and live longer, healthier lives.” Part of harnessing that power of science requires working closely with science diaspora networks that have the potential to be significant partners in development strategies and international cooperation efforts. In an age of increased mobility and connectivity, these knowledge diaspora networks include scientists, students, innovators and entrepreneurs, as well science policy experts that are working outside of their country of birth, speaking a common language and building partnerships. Scientific diasporas are an integral part of our “whole-of-society” science diplomacy strategy, helping to build knowledge-and innovation-based societies around the world and to spread scientific values such as meritocracy and transparency that support economic growth and democracy.
Networks of Diasporas in Engineering and Science or NODES, is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Sciences to assist science diasporas in partnership with U.S. Government technical agencies, academia and science and technology focused non-government groups. Existing activities and networks will be leveraged to help diaspora groups identify and communicate with interested participants, understand how to influence effective policies and connect their talent with the needs of their countries of origin. NODES will highlight the contributions of science diasporas to the United States and to the development of their ancestral countries of origin through research, innovation and education partnerships. A yearly gathering at the AAAS annual meeting will serve as an anchor for mobilizing new constituencies, catalyzing new capacity-building activities and sharing resources in partnership with the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA).