Vaughan Turekian

Member of the 2021 Elections Committee

Dr. Vaughan C. Turekian has been the Executive Director of the Policy and Global Affairs Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine since May 2018. Dr. Turekian is currently serving a joint appointment as Senior Director of the Program on Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS), a program within PGA for which he was hired August of 2017. Prior to joining the STS program, Dr. Turekian served as the fifth Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State. In this capacity, he advised the Secretary of State and other senior State Department officials on international environment, science, technology, and health matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States. From 2016 to 2017, he served as a country co-chair, along with the Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations, for the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, a high-level discussion at the United Nations designed to accelerate progress toward globally agreed upon development targets. In 2018, Dr. Turekian was appointed by the U.N. Secretary General as one of the ten international members to promote the role of science, technology, and innovation for achieving for the 17 SDGs.

Dr. Turekian drew upon his background in atmospheric chemistry and extensive policy experience to promote science, technology, and engineering as integral components of U.S. diplomacy. Previously, he was Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Director of AAAS’s Center for Science Diplomacy (2006 – 2015). In this capacity, he worked to build bridges between nations based on shared scientific goals, placing special emphasis on regions where traditional political relationships are strained or do not exist. As Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, an online quarterly publication, he published original policy pieces that have served to inform international science policy recommendations. In addition, Dr. Turekian worked at the State Department as a Special Assistant and Advisor to the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (2002 – 2006) on issues related to sustainable development, climate change, environment, energy, science, technology, and health. He also served as Program Director for the Committee on Global Change Research at the National Research Council (2000 – 2002), where he was study director for a White House report on climate change science.

Dr. Turekian holds a B.S. in Geology and Geophysics and International Studies from Yale University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia where he focused on the transport and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols in marine environments. Dr. Turekian not only brings both technical expertise and over 15 years of policy experience to the position, but also a decorated track-record and steadfast commitment to utilizing our nation’s capital science and technology innovation to advance the long-term sustainability and U.S. diplomacy.

I am honored to be considered as a member of the nominating committee.  Over the past two decades, I have been committed to the critical importance of international science cooperation as central to efforts to address some of the greatest global challenges.  I have been particularly honored to be engaged in efforts to ensure the inclusion of science, social science and technology in the critical role of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. ISC leadership will be critical in this effort, and new leadership in ISC will be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that policy makers have access to information and evidence to make sound decision. Further, ISC has a central role in ensuring that science from all parts of the world are integrated into such deliberations.  The response and recovery to COVID-19, makes such efforts both more challenging and more important, especially as we look at the critical need to promote an equitable recovery both within and across borders   I hope that by serving as a member of the Election Committee, I can work with colleagues to help identify the types of leadership that can help the ISC in this critical mission. 

Dr. Vaughan Turekian

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