- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world, has fellowship programs in other areas of government besides the State Department. There also are other sponsors of science fellowships at State as well. A majority of the AAAS Diplomacy Fellows at State come from the biological and physical sciences, but backgrounds and ages vary.

The only U.S. secretary of state believed to have had a hard science background is Colin Powell, who majored in geology at City University of New York.

Both Secretary Madeleine K. Albright and Mr. Powell are credited by many involved in the AAAS program with encouraging their presence at State.

“In a world being transformed by technology, good science is vital to good diplomacy,” were the opening words of a formal policy statement issued by Mrs. Albright in May 2000. “Whether the issue is countering weapons, dealing with infectious diseases or expanding the global economy while protecting the global environment, if we are to get our international strategies right we must get our science right.”

The first science and technology adviser to a secretary of state was appointed that same year. The current adviser, George Atkinson, a Colin Powell appointee, is professor of chemistry and optical sciences on leave from the University of Arizona.

— Ann Geracimos

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