In the race towards the future, the country relies on science. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE recently sent a message to UAE scientists.

His message outlined precise objectives towards which the wise leadership would like scientists to work. First, to support the development efforts of the country at all levels. Second comes the activating of a scientific diplomacy in order to promote international collaboration and intercultural tolerance. The third is to support plans to associate the national economy with scientific and technical progress, utilizing the latest fruits of the human mind in various fields of science and technology through supporting vital sectors such as aviation, shipping and logistics. Fourth, to find solutions towards establishing UAE-based businesses or industries that will contribute directly to making the UAE among the first in the world in these sectors. The fifth point is to participate in achieving greater security and sustainability in the country through scientific research on food, water and information security and alternative energy for long-term development in these sectors. Sixth,  to support the efforts of the UAE to improve the quality of life and productivity to make the country a leader in the field, on the basis of scientifically-backed health care policies. The seventh point is to improve the position of the UAE in the global scientific community, through communication, consultation and collaboration with all national actors on setting a clear agenda towards the UAE Centennial 2072 and the development of knowledge production in the country for the benefit of all.

These seven ingredients are essential for the progress of the UAE. The goal is to link scientific with decision-making circles. In most countries, the gap that exists between scientific researchers and decision makers’ centers has been a subject of study in many Western think tanks and research centers.

The use of a relatively new term in political literature, science and technology diplomacy, reflects a new focus on the need for scientific cooperation to spread peace and resolve conflicts.

A leading international project, the UNESCO-sponsored SESAME project, was officially launched in 2002. It aims at promoting the culture of peace through international science and technology cooperation, linking scientists in conflict zones, reducing brain drain, and promoting technology transfer through knowledge exchange opportunities. There are no science diplomats but scientists engaged in diplomacy in their own ways, and when diplomacy serves science, science serves diplomacy, one expert points.

In his message, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum summed up the global human dimension of the UAE development process, showing a will to help building intercultural bridges that will reduce the risks of conflicts, crises and wars.