PRESS RELEASE: Announcing Diplomatic Skills Training Course For Young Scientists


April 12, 2022

Washington, D.C. – Meridian International Center is investing in the future of diplomacy by developing emerging American scientists interested in international affairs careers through our new Diplomatic Skills Training for Young Scientists course held in partnership with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN) and Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT).

Part of Meridian’s DiplomacyRISE initiative, the Diplomatic Skills Training for Young Scientists aims to provide scientists, doctors, engineers and similar professionals interested in becoming international affairs practitioners with education focused on soft skills that are central to diplomacy.

In summer 2022, Meridian will offer a four-week virtual diplomatic skills training pilot program for 15-20 NSPN Science Diplomacy Committee Members. The pilot program will consist of three half-day virtual trainings on topics such as cultural competency, protocol and negotiation culminating in an in-person training to take place at Meridian in Washington, DC.

Announced by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Chief Executive Officer of Meridian, at the 2022 Meridian Diplomacy Forum: Statecraft in the Evolving Frontiers: Ocean, Arctic and Space, “Climate change, cybersecurity and global health will continue to be some of our greatest global challenges. We need diplomats and international affairs practitioners with a scientific background in the room to tackle transboundary issues like these. The more science we can infuse into our foreign policy means the closer we are to making a safer and more secure world.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to recruit more scientists into international policy fields to deal with the challenges that arise from disease vectors, energy and the environment and new technologies. These trainings, led by experienced diplomatic practitioners, will help address the talent and capacity gaps in the global policy field by prepping scientists with the essential skills that are needed to succeed like risk assessment, cultural intelligence, cultivating stakeholders and action planning.

By embracing and encouraging scientists to develop diplomatic skills, Meridian will help prepare the U.S. State Department and other foreign affairs bodies for modern challenges by building a talent pool that combines science and technology with diplomacy. Meridian and NSPN plan to offer the Diplomatic Skills Training for Young Scientists course regularly.

Echoing the need to address the scientific gaps in diplomacy, our Diplomatic Skills Training for Young Scientists partners shared perspectives on the future impact of this program:

“Improving global health and advancing health equity around the world requires greater attention and resources including the development of our next generation of scientific and policy leaders,” said Carrie Krehlik, Chief Human Resources Officer of Global Blood Therapeutics. “GBT, as a company dedicated to meeting the needs of underserved patient communities, is proud to support Meridian’s efforts to educate and empower the diplomatic professionals of tomorrow to address the world’s toughest challenges.”

Lyndsey Gray, Ph.D., Science Diplomacy Committee Chair of the National Science Policy Network shared, “Our nation’s ability to solve the most difficult and pressing international challenges is dependent upon robust, evidence-driven diplomacy. However, early career scientists can find transitioning into federal and diplomacy-affiliated work environments very difficult since they lack the same training experience as those with an international relations background. The Meridian diplomacy course hopes to address this issue head-on. By giving them the chance to formally build crucial soft skills and to network with diplomacy experts, we are giving early career researchers the chance to lead not just with science, but with diplomacy as well.”

“In the current public-private landscape, science and technology need to be systemically integrated into our foreign policy making and decisions. It can no longer be secondary,” Frank Justice, Vice President of the Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement, stated. “Meridian has a long history crafting diplomatic training programs for clients ranging from junior diplomats in developing countries to Fortune 500 corporate teams. We look forward to helping scientists ‘think like a diplomat.’”

DiplomacyRISE (Readiness, Innovation, Skill, and Equity) is an inclusive diplomatic professional development program that provides greater access to critical skills training, career guidance networks and emerging issue expertise to cultivate the next generation of U.S. diplomats that reflect America’s diversity and are equipped with 21st century statecraft skills and knowledge. Led by our Center for Diplomatic Engagement, the initiative draws on more than 60 years of close relationships with the diplomatic community to accelerate collaboration between public and private sector leaders across borders and cultures in order to address some of the greatest opportunities and obstacles facing the United States and the world.

As diplomacy evolves, Meridian is helping shape its future. Learn more about Meridian’s diplomacy work here. For questions about the forthcoming Diplomatic Skills Training for Young Scientists or our DiplomacyRISE initiative, please contact Meridian Digital Marketing Manager Danielle Najjar at

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Meridian International Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded 60 years ago, Meridian has equipped thousands of leaders with the networks, insights and cultural context essential for non-partisan work on shared issues. Meridian strengthens engagement between the United States and the world through diplomacy, global leadership and culture because we believe we are stronger together when globally engaged.

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