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DiploNews – Issue 47 – 23 September 2002

DiploNews – Issue 47 – September 23, 2002

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Vaccine Diplomacy

"Vaccine diplomacy is nearly as old as vaccines themselves," writes Peter J. Hotez in a Foreign Policy article. Vaccines have played an important role in history, halting great plagues and eliminating deadly diseases, but the author believes that "throughout the developing world, vaccines could also be transformed into powerful agents of conflict resolution." In the early 1800s, during a time of nearly continuous war between Britain and France, the smallpox vaccine developed in England was shared with France. In the 1950s, Soviet virologists collaborated with US researchers to develop a polio vaccine – which was introduced in the US only after its safety and effectiveness had been tested on millions of Soviet children. In polio-endemic regions of Africa and Central Asia the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization have negotiated cease-fires for immunization campaigns. In 1995 former US President Jimmy Carter helped to negotiate a 6-month cease-fire to reduce drancunculiasis, a parasitic disease caused by the guinea worm – at that time the longest cease-fire in the history of the Sudanese civil conflict.

Hotez suggests that the part of the world which might benefit most currently from cooperation on vaccine research is South Asia, where relations between neighboring countries (for example, China and India) are tense and tropical infectious diseases are rampant. If just a small percentage of the resources now devoted to defense in China and India were dedicated to vaccine research many diseases could be vastly reduced or eradicated. In addition, "A multilateral vaccine development program that focuses on tropical infectious diseases highly endemic to South and East Asia might foster a spirit of regional cooperation."

To read more, visit the Foreign Policy website.

Language and Diplomacy Discussion Forum

DiploProjects has recently launched an online discussion forum dedicated to language and diplomacy. You are invited to visit the forum website or to follow the links from the Language and Diplomacy Portal. The latest contributions discuss the Bush/Churchill analogy in relation to US action in Iraq, language training and diplomacy, and the false dichotomies used by the US administration, for example good vs. evil, and "you are either with us or against us". Visit the website and read more, add your ideas and opinion, or suggest a new topic for discussion.

Reminder – 2003 Online Course in IT and Diplomacy – Call for Applications

DiploProjects is accepting applications for the 2003 Online Postgraduate Diploma Course in Information Technology and Diplomacy until November 30, 2002. This year-long course will begin in February 2003 with a 10-day introductory workshop in Malta. The course this year will focus on preparing participants for international IT and telecommunications summits and conferences such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS – Geneva, December 2003). All course information, and application instructions and forms are available on the course website. If you have any questions please contact Sylvana Bugeja.

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