Fact Sheet
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
January 28, 2010


In his June 4, 2009, speech in Cairo, President Obama declared his intention to “appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops.” The U.S. Science Envoy Program, announced by Secretary Clinton in November 2009 in Marrakech, reflects our commitment to global engagement in science and technology. The U.S. Government’s interest in meaningful partnerships on science and technology stems from America’s and all nations’ mutual interest in improving lives around the world. American science and technology is a global engine of progress and growth, and international engagement by highly-respected American scientists has the potential to build bridges and help identify opportunities for sustained cooperation.

Secretary Clinton announced the first three Envoys in her November rollout: Dr. Ahmed Zewail, Nobel laureate in Chemistry for his pioneering work on femtochemistry and the Linus Pauling Chair of Chemistry and professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology; Dr. Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-chief of Science magazine, former President of the National Academy of Sciences, and University of California at San Francisco biochemistry professor; and Dr. Elias Zerhouni, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, Senior Fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation , and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Professor of Radiology. Other prominent U.S. scientists will be invited to join the Science Envoy program in the coming months, expanding the scope of the program to countries and regions around the globe.

The first Science Envoy, Dr. Zewail travelled to Egypt and Turkey in January and February. Dr. Zerhouni visited France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait in February; Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia in March; as well as Libya in April. Dr. Alberts visited Indonesia in May.

  • Advancing Opportunity, Prosperity and Security. Many of the challenges we face today are ones where science, technology, and innovation will be critical to finding solutions. The overarching objective of the Science Envoy program is to advance opportunity, prosperity, and security worldwide by addressing issues of common concern and advancing cooperation in areas of mutual interests.
  • Foster meaningful collaboration in science and technology. Today’s shared challenges can only be addressed through partnership. Envoys help demonstrate our commitment to science diplomacy and the creation of international partnerships in science and technology. The Envoys will engage foreign governments as well as research, education, nonprofit, and business communities and will identify areas of mutual interest and potential partnership.
  • Inform U.S. government Science and Technology Initiatives. Although the Envoys do not speak for the government, they will share their findings with the U.S. Government after each trip to help U.S. Government efforts to develop partnerships in areas of science technology, and innovation. Science Envoys serve in their civilian capacity and do not speak for the U.S. Government. The State Department provides a modest honorarium and covers their travel costs and related expenses in accordance with federal regulations.

[This is a mobile copy of U.S. Science Envoys]