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Friday, April 1, 2011

Science vs. Sceptics: Communicating Risk, Overcoming Complexity In A Fragmented World

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Session Description

Global risks like climate change, infectious diseases, and food security are science-based, highly complex, and often controversial issues that require collective response. Yet today’s highly fragmented and politicised media landscape empowers sceptics, sidetracks legitimate debate and impedes solutions. This panel will explore how to communicate science and risk publicly, and how to overcome complexity to mobilise people for change.


When | Where

11:00 - 12:30 Friday, April 1

Session leaders

  • Alok Jha Speaker
    Science Correspondent, The Guardian
    Alok Jha is a science and environment correspondent at The Guardian newspaper, based in London. In addition to writing news and comment, he presents the Science Weekly podcast and looks after The Guardian’s science website. He graduated with a physics degree from Imperial College London. He is the author of  How to Live Forever (Quercus).
  • Heidi Cullen Speaker
    CEO, Climate Central
    Dr. Cullen is CEO of Climate Central—a non-profit science journalism organisation .Before joining Climate Central, where she reports on climate and energy issues for programmes like PBS NewsHour, Dr. Cullen served as The Weather Channel’ sfirst on-air climate expert and helped create Forecast Earth, a weekly television serie sfocused on issues related to climate change and the environment. Dr. Cullen is the author of The Weatherof the Future, published by Harper Collins and is a Visiting Lecturer at Princeton University.
  • Professor, Faculty of Sociology, University of Trento
    Massimiano Bucchi teaches Science and Technology in Society, University of Trento, Italy. His publications include Science in Society (London and New York, Routledge, 2004), Handbook of Public Communication of Science (with B. Trench, Routledge, 2008), Beyond Technocracy (New York, Springer, 2009) and essays in journals such as Nature and Science. He has served as advisor and evaluator for several international institutions,including the NSF, the Royal Society, and the European Commission.
  • Chairman, Mechai Viravaidya Foundation
    Mechai Viravaidya began his non-profit work in 1974 to address the unsustainable population growth rate in Thailand. A variety of humorous and innovative methods were utilized in conjunction with mobilizing and educating a network of rural schools and village communities to make contraceptives available throughout Thailand. When HIV/AIDS first appeared in Thailand in the mid-1980s, similar methods were used to launch a major prevention program. Following his success at promoting family planning and HIV prevention, Mechai has aggressively approached the problem of rural poverty by empowering the poor to build sustainable entrepreneurial capacity, community empowerment for health, and income generating activities at the village level. In 2008, he established the Mechai Bamboo School in Northeast Thailand, to re-engineer rural education. The school acts as a life-long learning center for all members of the surrounding communities as well as a focal point of social and economic advancement. Through partnerships with the private sector, the Bamboo School assists over 50 rural schools to become centers for community development.