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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

First U.S. Science Envoys Begin Travel

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 11, 2010


The U.S. Science Envoys Program is a core element of the U.S. commitment to global engagement in science and technology. American science and technology contributes to the global engine of progress and growth, and short-term visits by highly-respected American scientists have the potential to build bridges and help identify opportunities for sustained cooperation.


The program was first announced by President Obama in Cairo on June 4, 2009, and Secretary Clinton announced the first three envoys in Marrakesh last November: Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-chief of Science magazine, former National Academy of Sciences president and University of California at San Francisco biochemistry professor; Elias Zerhouni, former National Institutes of Health director and Johns Hopkins University professor; and Ahmed Zewail, Nobel laureate and California Institute of Technology professor. Other prominent U.S. scientists will be invited to join the U.S. Science Envoy Program in the coming months, expanding the scope of the program to countries and regions around the globe.


During the next two months, the first three science envoys will be travelling to key countries in North Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. Beginning this week, Dr. Zewail will visit Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Dr. Alberts will travel to Indonesia later this month. Dr. Zerhouni plans to visit several North African and Middle Eastern countries in February and March. The envoys are scheduled to meet with heads of state, ministers, and representatives from the scientific, education, nonprofit, and business communities to identify opportunities for new partnerships in science and technology.


The science envoys will seek to deepen existing and develop new relationships and gather valuable input on areas of potential collaboration aimed at addressing common global challenges and realizing shared goals. They will investigate opportunities in all areas of science and technology, including math, engineering, health, energy, climate change research, and green technologies, identify the strengths of and gaps in existing scientific institutions, and offer recommendations. Although the envoys are private citizens, they will share what they learn on these trips with the U.S. Government, and the relationships they build will help reaffirm our renewed commitment to global engagement.

PRN: 2010/029

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