lighting, Diplomacy

[WebDebate] Space diplomacy: Old geopolitics or new frontier for collaboration?

04 September 2018 -

Event description

In our September WebDebate, we will be looking at space diplomacy, which finds itself at the intersection of old geopolitics and new frontiers for collaboration. Space has been a source of inspiration for many of the greatest human achievements, but also some of the greatest human fears. We will be exploring to what extent space is another frontier of well-rehearsed geopolitical and power games, and to what extent it is a realm that offers possibilities for multilateral efforts and greater collaboration and understanding.

Recent developments, such as the dispute over the EU’s Galileo Satellite and British access after Brexit, as well as the USA’ announcement of creating a space force, remind us that this is not a marginal topic, but a hotly debated issue of geopolitical dimensions. However, space diplomacy also reminds us of the need for multilateral efforts and of pooling resources together in the interest of achieving a larger goal. In terms of collaboration, space exploration also offers opportunities to foster better collaboration between scientists and diplomats under the various guises of science diplomacy.

To address these issues, we will be joined by Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, Observer Research Foundation; Dr Bleddyn Bowen, University of Leicester, UK; and Dr Jean-Christophe Mauduit, Fletcher School at Tufts University, USA.

Join us online on 4 September at 11:00 UTC (13:00 CEST).
Register to reserve your place.

Our Speakers

Dr.-Rajeswari-Pillai-RajagopalanDr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan is distinguished fellow and head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at Observer Research Foundation. She is also the technical advisor for a new UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) (July 2018-July 2019). As the senior Asia defence writer for The Diplomat, she also writes a weekly column on Asian strategic issues. Dr Rajagopalan joined ORF after a five-year stint at the National Security Council Secretariat (2003-2007), where she was an Assistant Director. Prior to joining the NSCS, she was research officer at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. She was also a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Politics, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan in 2012.


Bleddyn-BowenDr Bleddyn Bowen is a lecturer in international relations at the University of Leicester. Prior to this, he was a lecturer in defence studies at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, which is embedded at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham. He has appeared before the UK House of Commons’ Exiting the EU Select Committee to provide evidence on the impact of Brexit on UK space policy and the UK’s involvement in EU space projects. He has appeared on a number of media outlets, such as BBC Radio 4, 5 Live, Radio Cymru, Radio Wales, S4C, Radio FM4 (Austria), talkRADIO, ARTE TV, Global Newsroom to provide expert analysis on modern warfare and security issues in both Welsh and English languages.


JCMauduitDr Jean-Christophe (JC) Mauduit works at the Science Diplomacy Center at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He was most recently affiliated as a research scholar with the Center for Science Diplomacy at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC. Initially trained as a scientist, obtaining a BSc in Physics from Paris XI University (2002), an MSc (2003) and a PhD in Astronomy / Astrophysics (2007) from the Paris Observatory, Maudit worked for the French National Center for Scientific Research on the European Space Agency ‘Gaia’ satellite mission, and at the California Institute of Technology on the NASA ‘Spitzer’ infrared satellite. His career later took him to South Africa, where he was a project officer for the International Astronomical Union, overseeing more than 40 international projects aiming to develop astronomy research, education, and outreach in over thirty countries.

About our WebDebates

The WebDebates on the future of diplomacy are live streamed on the first Tuesday of every month. They are organised by Diplo within the framework of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training (IFDT). Learn more about our series of WebDebates.

If you form part of a dynamic circle of practitioners in your community, we encourage you to establish a diplomatic hub to follow the WebDebates and to facilitate discussions. For more information, contact Diplo’s Ms Mina Mudric.


Join us online on 4 September at 11:00 UTC. Register to reserve your place.