A senior lecturer from School of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Ir. Ts. Dr Baljit Singh was awarded the 2021 Outstanding ASIAN Science Diplomat Award. The award honours and acknowledges him as one of Asia’s eminent leaders in science and technology. It also recognises Ir. Ts. Dr Baljit Singh’s dedication and passion for his work.
The Asian Science Diplomat (ASD) is an annual flagship program under the ASEAN Secretariat for outstanding science and technology researchers below 45 years with the aim of providing training and capacity building in the areas of Science Communication, Science Diplomacy, Science Evidence-Based Policy, and Science Advise to the awardee.
The Asian Diplomat Award helps integrate science and diplomacy to benefit the region’s strategic capabilities, policy objectives, and the development of solutions for societal challenges. It is also intended to help raise awareness of science diplomacy’s principles and applications among Asia’s academics and diplomats while also pointing out where there are still unmet needs. The awardees are also advised on how to achieve global influence at the intersection of science, technology and diplomacy by the award recipients.
For the Science Diplomats, cooperation in science is a requirement. A foundation for all Asian countries’ cooperation should be based on scientific cooperation that contributes to advancing human knowledge and benefits all people on Earth. Cooperative efforts can be aimed at eradicating diseases, eliminating poverty, developing new non-polluting fuels, and toward space exploration. It is possible that science-based policy can serve as a driving force for Asian countries to work together to maximise their shared resources. Additionally, Asian countries with more advanced scientific capabilities and resources can help other developing Asian countries so that everyone can benefit from scientific advancements.
Another role of Science Diplomats is to build and coordinate relationships between governments of differing political beliefs and ideologies through scientific knowledge. Scientists are widely regarded as the most trustworthy people in any country, and their profession is held in the highest esteem and reverence by the general public. Science diplomats can help navigate obstacles to international scientific cooperation by engaging in cross-border science diplomacy, which could ease negotiations of large scale research facilities and systems.