Center for Global Agenda: 77th UN General Assembly, Science Summit Statement 3 (Culture)

NEW YORK - July 24, 2022 - PRLog -- This position statement is part of a series of statements from the Center for Global Agenda (CGA) at Unbuilt Labs leading up to the 77th UN General Assembly Science Summit (SSUNGA77) to offer actionable recommendations. CGA Co-Directors Marvin Cheung and Marguerite Van Cook will be presenting at and engaging both fellow presenters as well as the general public at the SSUNGA77 on these recommendations.

Marvin Cheung, Center for Global Agenda at Unbuilt Labs, Co-Director, on culture:

As we reflect upon the future of multilateralism, sustainable development, and science diplomacy at the SSUNGA77, it is pivotal that we examine their intersections with culture as well. Too often global policy discussions around people adopt a top-down view, focusing on politics and the few who already have leverage; how can we create a positive bottom-up culture of change that includes everyone?

Building a positive bottom-up culture of change is critical to evidence-based, science-based decision-making. A stronger focus on people and culture presents the opportunity to (1) win the hearts and minds of people for unanimous, lasting, and sincere support for peace, (2) rebuild trust with people and communities who have experienced historical wrongs, and (3) engage new, historically underrepresented, and younger demographics.

In practice, this means engaging in an integrated partnership with non-state actors, such as those from the cultural industry, as well as combining scientific and expert knowledge with local knowledge and common values. We argue that researchers not only have a duty to prove, but also a duty to persuade - this includes securing buy-in from people who belong to different academic disciplines, disadvantaged communities that may not have access to quality education, and faith-based communities.

As researchers ourselves we recognize the challenges in satisfying the duty to persuade - we would like to make three recommendations: (1) integrating a public consultation phase into research processes, (2) encouraging universities, companies, and other research institutions to have public open houses and showcases for research, and (3) implementing cross-disciplinary research partner programs where researchers from STEM and researchers from the humanities can exchange ideas.

More generally, we recommend investing in developing intercultural competencies, including: (1) learning user research and cross-cultural negotiation techniques to ask thoughtful questions and communicate with care, (2) exploring different art, languages, literature, as well as music, and (3) interacting with diverse or underrepresented communities.

There is one initiative we would like to highlight and that is The Human Library, where real people are on loan to readers.

For more information please see the Center for Global Agenda (CGA) at Unbuilt Labs website: or visit our Pressroom for past announcements statements:

Marvin Cheung
Head of Research and Strategy, Unbuilt Labs
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