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Released: May 21, 2012 - POGO Graduation Speech 2012
 

REMARKS OF U.S. CONSUL GENERAL GRACE SHELTON

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences:  POGO Graduation

May 21, 2012 

POGO GRADUATES ARE SCIENCE DIPLOMATS

 

Good evening, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to be here tonight.  I’d like to thank Dr. Nick Bates for the kind invitation. 

I’m looking forward to hearing Dr. Tom Malone give the commencement address, so I’ll keep my remarks brief.

I’d like to give a special welcome to the members of the BIOS Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and visitors, and especially to the graduates of POGO.

I am delighted to honor the ten graduates from the 2012 POGO program, who originate from all over the world.

It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to study at BIOS, an American institution, here in beautiful Bermuda.  BIOS represents a true educational and scientific partnership between the United States and Bermuda, just as the POGO program reflects international scientific collaboration.

As the U.S. representative here, I’d like to talk about how your work in the classroom and the laboratory intersects with diplomacy. 

One of the goals of diplomacy is the creation of a peaceful and stable world, and science has an important role to play in reaching that goal.

The term we diplomats use to describe that role is “science diplomacy.”  It’s an expression that captures the various roles of science in foreign policy with a particular emphasis on the ability of science to build partnerships between countries that can be sustained regardless of the political winds.

 Science provides the objective data for making and implementing good policy choices as well as offering solutions to challenging global problems that can threaten peace and stability as well as sustained economic growth and prosperity. 

So the work you are doing individually and collectively in the scientific arena, in the area of marine science, is critical.  The combined talent of the world is needed to address the global issues we face.  You POGO scholars and BIOS scientists, in your role as science diplomats, are a part of that.

Science is about community, about sharing values and data. These values instill unique and strong qualities into the community, providing the conditions for scientific partnerships between individual scientists from different nations and different cultures to flourish.

Science, with its value system based on merit review, open and transparent data, and reproducibility of experimental results, allows colleagues from across the globe to work together.  Every time you engage in an international project you are building and enhancing important relationships. 

When scientific and technical communities from different countries work together – the nations get to know each other better.  It opens a channel of understanding that can remain in place through ups and downs in a relationship.  International science cooperation demonstrates ways countries can work on problems that are important to their citizens and the world.

You POGO graduates are also now part of the global research community, where scientists work – either physically or virtually –with colleagues no matter where they’re from.  

Efforts to engage scientists from around the world, as the POGO program does, are essential to building a strong and vibrant global research community.   It is also important to broaden participation of people in science everywhere and to attract more and more young people to scientific and technical careers.

I am sure you’ve accomplished a lot in your various scientific fields during your time at BIOS.  And that’s a great thing – you’ll return home having advanced in your areas of specialty.  You’ll also leave Bermuda and BIOS having made important connections.  

I urge you to nurture these relationships as you progress in your scientific careers.  Persevere in keeping your curiosity forever thirsty and your minds open to new people, experiences, and ideas.   I know you will find success in your endeavors.

Congratulations on your achievements over the past ten months and your promise for the future.   The world expects great things from you!