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Science diplomacy in the Danube Delta. With Ukraine or not?

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Ukraine has clearly defined integration of the European values as a priority for external and internal government policy since 2014. The scientific sphere is not an exception. Nowadays, integration into the European Research Area (ERA) is considered not only as geopolitical constant for Ukraine and Ukrainian science but also as a real instrument for scientists to join a European system approach, independent expertise and modern research infrastructures through consortia. On the other hand, Ukraine as a State will receive an extra funds for reestablishing its old-fashioned research facilities, formed mostly during the Soviet period, through instruments of the participation in common infrastructures and research infrastructure consortia.

The European Research Infrastructure Consortium is one of the policy instrument of ERA aimed at promoting, establishing and operating of the Research Infrastructures (RI) for the needs of several countries’ scientific community with minimal level of bureaucracy and fiscal burdens.

In this regard, it might be interesting for Ukraine to join Romania-initiated project aimed on creation of pan European distributed Research Infrastructure dedicated to Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies on River-Sea Systems (DANUBIUS-RI). The DANUBIUS PP project was included to the ESFRI Roadmap in 2015 and the preparatory phase was completed in 2019.

The research infrastructure will comprise a Hub and a Data Centre in Romania, a Technology Transfer Office in Ireland, and Supersites and Nodes across Europe. The Hub will provide leadership, coordination, and key scientific, educational and analytical capabilities. Supersites will be designated natural sites that provide the focus for observation, research and modelling at locations of high scientific importance and utilizing a range of opportunities to study RS systems from river source to coastal sea. Nodes will be centers of expertise providing facilities and services, data storage and provision, experimental and in situ measurements facilities, state-of-the-art analytical capabilities and implementation of standardized procedures and quality control (the DANUBIUS Commons).

European research on river-sea systems and their transitional environments is world- leading but fragmented, largely discipline-specific and often geographically isolated.

The lack of interdisciplinary research infrastructures has fueled this fragmentation. DANUBIUS-RI will fill the gap, drawing on existing research excellence across Europe, enhancing the impact of European research while maximizing the return on investment. It will provide access to a range of European river-sea systems, facilities and expertise; a ‘one-stop shop’ for knowledge exchange in managing river-sea systems; access to harmonized data; and a platform for interdisciplinary research, inspiration, education and training.

This structure will enable DANUBIUS-RI to build on existing expertise and synergies to support world-leading interdisciplinary research and innovation in freshwater-marine research.

The benefits to Ukraine of being member of the future (DANUBIUS-RI):

  • DANUBIUS-RI is the only European Research Infrastructure dedicated to Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies on River-Sea Systems worldwide. It gained the status of ESFRI Project in 2016, which demonstrates not only European support but its global relevance.
  • The access to the major opportunities given by DANUBIUS-RI will bring the opportunity to find science-based solutions that involve the highest standards at global level to solving national, regional and local problems occurring in river-sea systems in Ukraine. It will support gaining better knowledge of processes in the Black Sea and at contacts with major rivers (not just the Danube).
  • DANUBIUS-RI is working to become a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). This gives a very strict quality control system over the years – to maintain itself as an infrastructure promoting scientific excellence. Therefore, being part of DANUBIUS-ERIC means also becoming part of a strictly surveyed organization, which needs to implement excellence.
  • As a signatory of DANUBIUS-ERIC, Ukraine will give its scientists a direct and open access to all the work opportunities given by DANUBIUS-ERIC across Europe. Researchers and professionals will thus be able to train, work with and use all the data and facilities provided in all parts of the Research Infrastructure, no matter where they are located.
  • With Ukraine a member of the DANUBIUS-ERIC, Ukrainian students (from undergraduate to postgraduate) and postdoctorals will be able to develop and improve their training throughout Europe, using the opportunities offered by the various parts of the Research Infrastructure.
  • Membership of the ERIC will increase the opportunities for participation in future EC DG Research and Innovation – funded projects, in HORIZON EUROPE or following programmes.

That is why the Ukrainian participation in this consortium is very important not only from scientific point of view but also from practical significance of the project outputs for the needs of state environmental protection policy.

Ukraine took the first step towards the DANUBIUS–RI participation in 2016 year. Odesa State Ecological University became part of Horizon 2020 project “The preparatory phase for the Pan-European research infrastructure DANUBIUS–RI: the international center for advanced studies on river-sea systems”. According to the rules of project, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine joined to the Board of Governmental Representatives. In fact, it was Ukrainian first official practical step toward ERICs participation at all.

With starting activity in DANUBIUS PP project the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine faced new challenges. On the institutional level, the Ministry is responsible for the participation in the European Research Infrastructure Consortia and for the national consortium forming. But it should be mentioned that for participation in any ERIC and in DANUBIUS-ERIC in particular, Ukraine as non-EU statefaces two big challenges: harmonization of national legislation with EU legislation on ERIC activity and establishing national consortium of research infrastructures as a national part of ERIC.

The DANUBUIS ERIC Statute has the item concerning the obligations on behalf of the state such as annual membership fee, appointment of national representative and support of his(her) participation in Government Board meetings, tax exemptions and support of maintenance of the national research infrastructures involved in ERIC.

According to Ukrainian legislation, in this case,it should be used the Law “On International Treaty of Ukraine”. It means that DANUBIUS ERIC Statute requires ratification by Ukrainian Parliament. The ratification allows to agree to be bound by the terms of the Statute and to implement the EU Regulation “On European Research Infrastructures Consortium (ERIC)”in the same time which establish Value Added Tax exemptions.

The Statute ratification will become a legislative basis for determination of state body responsible for this ERIC, for membership fees and for ensuring of RI functioning.

The ERIC Statute also predicts the obligation of national RI establishment as legal entity that should be the part of ERIC. Only this legal entity can be use the option concerning tax exemptions. The essence of the problem is that Ukrainian legislation should make the binding of a specific legal entity to tax benefits arising from an international agreement.

The third important task of the preparatory period is the financing by the Ukrainian Party the national RIs and rising the level of technical readiness of Ukrainian infrastructures to comply with ERIC technical regulations. In this regards, the interesting for Ukraine is the Romanian experience.

In spite the membership in EU, Romanian has an enlightening experience in participation in ERICs that could be useful for Ukraine. Romania also needs pass through the coordination process with ministries and ratification procedures in Romanian Parliament.

The second pull of issues is building the national RI consortium integrated into ERIC.

The first step toward this process should be determination on the state level the goals, objectives, sources of funding, conditions creation of a consortium and only after this, gathering information and formulating proposals from individual organizations. In this regard, Ukraine could use the experience of Romanian Party. An appropriate way for the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine can be the adoption of R&D project “Specification of Strategy and actions for preparation of the national participation in the DANUBIUS-RI”.

During 2018-2019 years, Romanian Government financed the similar project DANS and from 2020 the project DANS 2 started.

The Term of reference for Ukrainian participation in DANUBIUS ERIC will be an important basic document and further steps of Ukraine in the preparation of the draft action planat the Governmental level regarding Ukraine’s participation in the international structure of DANUBIUS RI. In addition, such document will be an instrument for the financial resources accession for the creation of the Ukrainian part of the DANUBE delta supersite and for request funding from DANUBIUS ERIC.

Also, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine should pay attention on the additional document of the Romanian project “Specification of Strategy and actions for preparation of the national participation in the DANUBIUS-RI” with requirements to the network of observations and research stations that the Romania is creating on its territory as a part of the DANUBE DELTA supersite.

But in spite of importance being the part of EU integration process and building a working strategy of scientific development, Ukraine does not take appropriate steps to achieve state interests in R&D sphere. For became the equal partner in the Danube scientific chessboard Ukraine is explicitly required two components: appropriate legislation conditions and budget allocation.

C. Bradley, M. J. Bowes, J. Brils, J. Friedrich, J. Gault, S. Groom, T. Hein, P. Heininger, P. Michalopoulos, N. Panin, M. Schultz, A. Stanica, I. Andrei, A. Tyler & G. Umgiesser. 2018. Advancing integrated research on European river–sea systems: the DANUBIUS-RI project, International Journal of Water Resources Development, 34:6, 888-899, DOI: 10.1080/07900627.2017.1399107

Dr.Dmytro Cheberkus, PhD in economie, representative of Ukrainian national hub within Black sea assistance mechanisme

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Diplomacy

Higher Education and Diplomacy: Essential Skills for Becoming a Diplomat

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Do you want to become a diplomat? Are you interested in learning more about diplomacy? If yes, you should know that diplomatic skills play a key role in today’s global society. Therefore, mastering these skills is crucial for students who aspire to pursue a career in international affairs or diplomacy.

A career in diplomacy requires specific knowledge and expertise beyond academic study. To achieve their goals. Young diplomats must master various aspects of communication and negotiation. With conflict management, crisis response, cultural awareness, and language proficiency.

“Diplomatic skills” encompass a wide range of abilities. From interpersonal relations to public speaking and effective leadership. These skills are essential in negotiating agreements between countries, improving trade relations, and resolving conflicts. Here are the crucial skills for becoming a diplomatic.

Education Requirements

Although there are no set educational prerequisites to enter the field of diplomacy. A degree in a relevant subject can help hone the abilities needed to succeed in the industry. Writing assignments are often very important for university students.

Most colleges require that students complete at least three academic papers per semester. And since these papers usually take several weeks to complete. You must learn to give yourself plenty of time to craft a high-quality piece. It would be best if you always doubled check the assignment requirements before starting to write your paper. Make sure you’ve covered every aspect of the assignment, use a Fixgerald plagiarism checker to ensure your papers are unique and meet the necessary requirements, and check your topic selection to referencing style. If you need help figuring out where to start, consider asking your professor for guidance.

Since diplomats might go in several different directions professionally. Knowledge in a wide range of disciplines is useful. All candidates, however, need to have a solid grasp of international relations and diplomacy. So many people choose to major in similar fields.

For example, a master’s in global studies and international relations prepares students to understand the complex interplay of politics, law, economics, and security worldwide.

You can choose from four concentrations. Thid includes global health and development, conflict resolution, diplomacy, and international economics and consulting.

Some Degrees Give You An Upper Hand

U.S. diplomats have varied levels of education, from high school diplomas to doctorates.

In a great number of nations, including the USA and UK, among others. To enter the diplomatic service, one must first score well on a general aptitude test. Candidates for FSO positions should therefore brush up on their foundational skills such as algebra, reading comprehension, and reasoning in advance of taking these exams. The purpose of such tests is to gauge the applicant’s general knowledge.

It is helpful but not required to have a background in history, politics, law, or human rights. Most embassies and consulates will tell you that learning about government and international politics is essential if you want to work in diplomacy as a career.

Learn More Languages

For the simple reason that the United States mandates pre-departure language training for all successful applicants. Being able to speak the language well is not a prerequisite for a diplomatic position. However, your application will stand out more if you have international experience and can speak two or more languages. It is more valuable than knowing Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, or Urdu to be able to speak and write your native language.

After a person has done well enough on the test to get in. Most embassies and consulates will perform exhaustive interviews and screenings to establish if a candidate is qualified for a foreign service position.

Be Prepared For The Challenges

The field of foreign service is a challenging one. The ability to keep in touch with loved ones is a challenge for FSOs. This is because officers frequently have to uproot their families in order to serve, and the job itself can be strenuous. However, this in no way diminishes the value of a career as an FSO. There are always a lot of prospective FSOs and experienced officers at an embassy or consulate, all of whom want to get posted somewhere exciting.

Rookies will generally be sent to the most dangerous places first. Since seniority is the most important factor in finding a new job. If you want to be a good FSO, you need to be able to adjust to change. They need to be self-aware enough to see when they need assistance, and determined enough to put in the work required to succeed.

Conclusion

Are you interested in studying to become a diplomat? There are plenty of opportunities, and you don’t even need to go abroad to get them. The reality is diplomacy is both a science and an art. And because it involves negotiation skills, communication ability, and conflict resolution. It requires specific skills. To become a good diplomat, you need to develop these essential skills.

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Religious diplomacy

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With the pandemic still hanging over our heads and a looming global recession, there’s a simple question before us: Will the world move forward–or fall back?

If we want freedom to spread, open societies to grow, trade to increase, and economic growth to advance, we must all see these as interconnected. They transcend day-to-day politics and grow instead from older, deeper sources, particularly religion. Not the kind imposed from above, but the kind that grows through and across societies and cultures. For those who understand the value of that kind of faith, what has happened in Bali, Indonesia must be engaged.

There is a remarkable convergence of religious wisdom and perspective in Indonesia this week; all the world needs to pay attention, especially the parts that might have looked down on the so-called Global South.  Recent weeks have seen contentious elections and surprising volatility even in the most stable countries. In Sweden, a nationalist party has surged to the forefront. In the United Kingdom, three Prime Ministers in a matter of months.

Beyond and behind these surprising headlines is a gathering global turbulence.

The institutions that inspired free trade, open borders and remarkable economic growth are deteriorating. We have several choices before us.

We can do nothing, but that would hardly provide us much hope for the future. We would only face greater headwinds and worse outcomes. We can replace those institutions, but there are few if any convincing or compelling ideas about what those substitutes would be. Or we can work to critically examine our institutions, see where their foundations are weakening, and seek out thoughtful ways to replenish and renew them.

In Bali, the R20 is launching to pursue that path of replenishment and renewal. Launching through and alongside the Group of 20 or G20, that body’s Religion Forum (“R20” for short) will mobilize faith leaders to ensure that religion functions as a genuine and dynamic source of peace, progress and prosperity in the 21st century. Among the R20’s goals is “infusing geopolitical and economic power structures with moral and spiritual values.”

One of the world’s senior Islamic scholars, Dr. Abdul Karim Al-Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, announced on day one of the R20: “Major global challenges today are not merely political or economic … They are moral. And navigating the world out of these crises requires moral leadership. This year, the world’s religious leaders are for the first time part of the G20. It is time we acknowledge that religion must be part of the solution for global crises.”

This is exactly what the G20 needs; even many of its most stable countries are stumbling. Like the United States, some lack shared unifying practices–a monarchy is one example–and so their polarization becomes ever more severe. Could thoughtful, compassionate, and genuine religious traditions, developed over generations to become meaningful pillars of diverse societies, be the answer?

As a member of the nobility of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu, a 600-year-old historical thalassocracy, I have dedicated many years working with traditional Islamic monarchies in Southeast Asia and have a unique viewpoint on why the R20 matters. Considering I was born in the Roman Catholic faith, this might be a rare perspective of course, since many in the West–the historic core of the developed world–know comparatively little about Islam or Southeast Asia.

Let alone Islam in Southeast Asia.

Which is why launching the R20 in Indonesia is massively meaningful. Not only is Indonesia the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, but it is also of course a G20 economy, a secular democracy, and home to the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), a unique organization that represents some 100 million moderate Muslims–a huge portion of Indonesia’s population. Its General Chairman, Mr. Yahya Staquf, is a compelling Muslim thinker and scholar, who has challenged critical misinterpretations of Islam.

In my purview, the NU is a major reason why Indonesia has remained a secular democracy.

To begin this conference in such a dynamic society is incredibly heartening; not only does the Forum gain from the experience of one of the world’s largest Muslim bodies, but that body (the NU) is also closely partnering with the previously mentioned Muslim World League, the world’s largest Islamic non-governmental organization, to build the R20. A wise pairing: NU promotes a pluralistic approach to Islam, with roots in Southeast Asia going back many centuries. That makes the Muslim World League a natural partner and amplifier.

Behind its Secretary-General, Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the Muslim World League has become a remarkable force for moderation, inter-faith and intra-faith dialogue, and global religious consciousness. The NU and the MWL reach huge numbers of Muslims, the world’s fastest-growing faith community, much of which lives outside the G20. If the principles of an open world order are to survive and expand, they will need to find ways to engage audiences beyond their borders.

To convince them that their values and many of the original sources of the G20’s dynamism are not at odds. That is something NU, the Muslim World League, and the R20 can well do.

To say nothing of their wider reach. In that spirit, in fact, the Muslim World League announced at the R20 “a new humanitarian fund for the victims of war everywhere.” Not only is the fund not directed only to Muslims, but it also reaches beyond Muslim-majority countries more broadly. Dr. Al-Issa emphasized that Ukraine would be a primary area of the fund’s focus. That is sure to encourage other faith leaders in attendance that the R20 is not just an exercise in lofty rhetoric, but active, on-the-ground engagement.

His Holiness Pope Francis has already addressed the R20; he is joined in his participation by other leaders of the Catholic Church, the world’s largest single faith denomination, as well as senior representatives of the Protestant World Evangelical Alliance, representing 600 million believers in over 140 countries. That is not to mention clergy from Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, as well as other Christian and Muslim traditions. In that spirit, the next G20 (and R20) will take place in India, followed by Brazil; the world’s largest Hindu and Catholic countries, respectively.

India is a place where more conversations about religion, the state and freedom need to happen urgently. About 84% of the world’s population say religion is important, if not very important to them—the future of the world’s freedom and flourishing requires a thoughtful engagement with the thoughtfully religious. Without religious freedom, there cannot be economic freedom. Without economic freedom, we are unlikely to see meaningful, sustainable, long-term human flourishing. And in that aspect, Dr. Al-Issa is right, religion must be part of that process.

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The Soft Power: The U.S.-Chinese-Russian Competition

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The US-Chinese-Russian competition for global influence is not limited to military, economic, and technological tools, but extends beyond them to the realm of soft power. Traditionally, the concept of force in international relations refers to the military and economic spheres and is described as hard power, and it tends to coerce, whether through the actual use or threat of force, or the imposition or threat of economic sanctions. Also, hard power includes incentives, in all its forms and levels, that a strong state presents to a weaker one, or hints at depriving it of them. On the other hand, soft power avoids direct tools of coercion or enticement, and instead seeks to influence by marketing an attractive and successful human, cultural, political, and economic model, or by focusing on higher value systems, building persuasive narratives, or talking about a system of more balanced international, based on fair rules and principles…etc.

The three great powers realize the importance of soft power within the previous determinants, and then each of them tries to promote either its own model or the benefits that will accrue to the world if it stands with it. In this context, we recall the Chinese-Russian summit, which brought together Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, early this year in the Chinese capital, Beijing, during which they pledged to work to end the uniqueness of the United States in global hegemony and work to establish a new international order based on multipolarity. In the joint statement issued by the two leaders, there were clear references to soft power, as the two sides approach it, whether in terms of rejecting unilateral approaches in addressing international issues and resorting to force and interference in the affairs of states and infringing on their legitimate rights and interests, or in terms of rejecting the Western definition of democracy and how to practice, and thus the misuse of democratic values ​​and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights. On the other hand, Washington reiterates its accusations that the two sides are trying to destabilize the foundations and ‘the rules of the international system’, and considers that these foundations and rules, which it considers itself a custodian, guarantee the establishment of stability globally.

I live in a country where the First Constitutional Amendment fortifies freedom of expression, no matter how different the prevailing beliefs and convictions are. This was one of the dimensions President Joe Biden alluded to as the 2020 nominee when he spoke of strengthening American leadership globally, through the ‘power of the model’ and ‘reclaiming moral leadership.’

In practice, there is a vast discrepancy between claimed or endorsed American values, and their practice. Nevertheless, the United States succeeds in employing soft power to its advantage, even if it contains degrees of deception and hypocrisy. Perhaps a critic of American foreign policies from the heart of Washington itself, without fear or apprehension of arrest or direct targeting, what serves the purposes of American propaganda, as this supports its other soft power tools, such as claiming to carry the banner of democracy and human rights in the world, even if there is a contradiction between the example and reality. I do not want to simplify the previous issue here, as there is some complexity in it. The constitutionally protected freedom of expression may be subject to political or security abuse, but this is another story. Also, American soft power is based on additional menus that appeal to many people, even in China and Russia, such as the imagined American lifestyle offered by Hollywood, and the vast space for success possibilities, or through the companies like Cable, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Starbucks…etc.

Hence, the concept of American soft power and its tools are broader and deeper than their Chinese and Russian counterparts. In the cases of Beijing and Moscow, we find a focus on soft power in terms of competing with the US model of hegemony and interfering in the affairs of states under various pretexts, including democracy and human rights, but they overlook that they are no less a violation of just international values ​​and rules than the United States. In addition, the bulk of their use of soft power is directed at authoritarian regimes that are fed up with Washington’s repeated ‘lectures’ on democracy and human rights, even if they do not care about them, while both China and Russia focus on commercial and military interests, without blackmail in the name of freedoms, democracy, and human rights.

As a result, the soft power of each of these parties, in essence, carries a lot of coercion, not less than hard power, but rather a complement to it. The United States employs its soft power to remain at the top of the pyramid of the international system as a hegemonic superpower, and then values ​​are often subject to considerations of interests rather than morals. While China and Russia seek to weaken American hegemony, and their soft power has implicit coercive relations, whether through economic involvement, as China does, with countries that request their help, or dumping dictatorial regimes with all kinds of expensive weapons that are not conditional on respecting the rights of their people, as they do Russians.

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