Worldwide endorsements of IISDS from Science Diplomacy Thought Leaders

Professor Abdallah Daar
Professor Abdallah Daar
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Public Health and Global Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Member, Scientific Advisory Board to UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

Many of the global challenges we face today such as climate change, biodiversity loss, planetary health and plastic pollution are multi-sectoral and multi-faceted in nature and their solutions are underpinned by science and technology. But no one country can solve these problems alone. Hence, the need for science diplomacy!

Achim Steiner
Achim Steiner
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The outcomes of Rio and subsequent UN global conferences draw their significance from the coming together of a wide range of stakeholders in government, the business sector, NGOs, civil society, and various interest groups. One of the key major groups is the science and technology sector. Many global challenges result from unbridled technological advances. However, their solutions also rest on science, technology, and innovation, or STI, which depends on the level of awareness and education that citizens are empowered with. Such an understanding can only be fostered through dialogues, not only within countries but between nations. Science diplomacy is one of the main vehicles to ensure this.

I applaud the efforts and extend my congratulations to UCSI University for establishing such an institute which eventually will not only be for Malaysia and the region, but for the rest of the developing world. Best wishes to Prof Zakri, a good friend, and a long-time advocate of scientific advancement for the Global South, for this amazing accomplishment.

I wish you all the best in this endeavour.

Irina Bokova
Irina Bokova
Former Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Prof. Zakri is well known within the UN system as one of the true leaders in promoting science for sustainable development.

I came to know him up close when I was chairing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Scientific Advisory Board and he was one of the 26 eminent personalities on the panel. I found him to be very resourceful, collegial, and committed. He was then and still is, one of the strong voices to promote the close interface between science and policy and an advocate for the rightful place of science in the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030.

Therefore, I am very pleased to learn of his appointment as the founding director of this new institute. Science diplomacy assumes a very pivotal role in trying to solve today's sustainability challenges. With his long and extensive experience in international science and diplomacy, Prof Zakri is well placed to lead this institute.

Professor Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Yusoff
Professor Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Yusoff
DSIS FASc, FIAS, FTWAS, PhD, DSc (honoris causa) (La Trobe)

I would like to congratulate Tan Sri Zakri and UCSI on the timely establishment of the International Institute on Science Diplomacy and Sustainability (IISDS), which is the first of its kind not only in the ASEAN region, but also in the developing world. The current pandemic, which has hit the whole world hard, is without doubt a wake-up call for the global community to address the many critical concerns we are faced with, including climate change, energy crisis, food and water security, haze, and epidemics, among others. Accordingly, science and technology, tightly intertwined with society, play a crucial role in helping us find solutions. I believe that in dealing with such complex global challenges, this Centre of Excellence will contribute enormously in fostering connections at the intersection of science and diplomacy, between our budding scientists and our diplomats.

Dato’ Ir. (Dr.) Lee Yee Cheong
Dato’ Ir. (Dr.) Lee Yee Cheong
Former President, World Federation of Engineering Organisations
Pro-Chancellor, Infrastructure University Kuala Lumpur (IUKL)

As a former president of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), I recalled during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 in Johannesburg, like-minded organisations like the WFEO, International Council on Science, Third World Academy of Science, United Nations University, UNESCO and several others issued the Ubuntu Declaration calling for Education for Sustainable Development at all levels of education, including lifelong learning. Sustainable development is underpinned by science, technology, and innovation. Its understanding can be facilitated by science diplomacy, the practice of science dialogue among nations. Currently, there are few centres of excellence catering to this issue in the world. UCSI University is to be congratulated for having the vision to establish one.

Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary
Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary
Mustafah (pbuh) Prize Laureate, H., I., S., I., T. I.
Coordinator General COMTECH

COMSTECH is an intergovernmental organization (Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperative) serving the 57 member states. Many of its member countries need guidance and training in the use of science, technology, and innovation for their sustainable development. The new International Institute of Science Diplomacy and Sustainability at the UCSI University is under timely initiative which we warmly welcome.

Prof. Mohamad H. Hassan
Prof. Mohamad H. Hassan
Chairman, UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries
President, The World Academy of Sciences

One of the enduring aspirations of citizens in the developing world, in particular those from the Least Developed Countries, is to be empowered with scientific knowledge and in turn to use that knowledge for socio-economic progress of their people. Science diplomacy can be a formidable tool to facilitate that transfer of knowledge and hence improve the wellbeing of citizens in those countries. Prof Zakri, with his long and extensive experience in international relations, has the wherewithal to ensure the success of this institute.

Prof. Paul Arthur Berkman
Professor Paul Arthur Berkman
President, Science Diplomacy Center™ Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA
Faculty Associate, Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School
Associate Director of Science Diplomacy, Harvard-MIT Public Disputes Program Fulbright Arctic Chair 2021-

Opening of the International Institute on Science Diplomacy and Sustainability (IISDS) at UCSI University in Malaysia is wonderful development in the field of science diplomacy that is accelerating globally across the spectrum of subnational-national-international jurisdictions. As the Founding Director and as a world renown leader with science diplomacy from theory into practice – Distinguished Professor Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid will certainly open doors with global inclusion, building common interests that will enable IISDS to contribute short-to-long term for the benefit of all on Earth, most especially among ASEAN countries. It will be an honour as well as pleasure to collaborate with Tan Sri Dr Zakri Abdul Hamid, who has been a friend and cherished colleague for nearly two decades, wishing every success for IISDS on its important journey.

Sir Peter Gluckman
Sir Peter Gluckman, FISC
President, International Science Council
Former Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand

In addressing the issue of sustainability that the global community is facing today, science diplomacy can be a powerful tool to bring the world together. Climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and managing new technologies are but examples of the many issues needing a multilateral scientific and science-policy approach which can only be achieved through an open and transparent dialogue among nations both through formal and informal means.

Ambassador Tan Sri Radzi Abdul Rahman
Secretary-General, World Islamic Economic Forum
Former Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia

The practice of diplomacy today can be much shaped by science and technology as many of the sustainability problems that we are confronted with have their roots in technology and on the same breath, their solutions could also rest on science. Hence, a deeper understanding on the dynamics of science diplomacy is much needed. I welcome the establishment of the IISDS and the WIEF looks forward to work closely with Prof Zakri and his colleagues.

Dato’ Dr. Shazelina Zainul Abidin
Ambassador Dato’ Dr Shazelina Zainul Abidin
Director General, Institute of Diplomacy & Foreign Relations (IDFR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs

It was not so long ago that the United Nations unveiled the 17 SDGs – targets for a planet that is increasingly being crushed under the weight of a global population with finite resources. In no other continent than in Africa are these global targets beyond their ability to sight, much less grasp. The south-south cooperation, of which Malaysia has long championed, has the capacity to be a game changer for these countries in Africa. New science and advances in technology are among a few of the areas from which the countries of Africa can benefit. This is why IDFR is proud to support initiatives of the Institute of Science Diplomacy Malaysia that can deliver on the promise of a shared humanity on a sustainable planet.