The summer meeting of the Science and Human Rights Coalition, convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), focused on the connections between human rights and applications of science and engineering. AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine attended the Coalition Council Meeting and the Executive Directors' Circle Meeting on July 16. AERA President William G. Tierney attended the July 17 meeting in Washington, D.C.
Participants focused on challenges at the nexus of development, technological innovation, and human rights to examine ways that technology and engineering can be used to address human rights concerns. In the agenda, which listed a mix of panels, work groups, and business sessions, the Coalition noted some of the meeting’s central concerns and questions:
Innovative uses of science and technology are reducing the digital divide,
enhancing human rights online, and advancing access to medicines, clean water, education and more. Some of these advances, however, present challenges of professional responsibility for scientists, engineers and health professionals. What are the emerging opportunities to use technology and engineering to address human rights concerns? How does the “right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” help frame these issues? How can educators prepare students to use a human rights–based approach in their work?
The group aims to develop a better shared understanding of ways the scientific and engineering communities can tackle these issues. A plan of action for 2012–2014 will be posted online.
AERA is a charter member of the coalition, which, since its launch in 2009, has grown from 20 to 49 organizations and 70 individuals. This network of scientific and engineering membership organizations recognizes a role for science and scientists in efforts to realize human rights.
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