This essay critiques science diplomacy discourse generated by President Obama’s “New Beginning” speech at Cairo University on June 4, 2009, which launched a program of action in education, science, technology, and innovation to build trust between Muslim-majority countries and the United States. I contend that the Cairo Agenda sparked parallel dialogues, carried out in two separate loci of discourse: the official public sphere through which the Cairo Agenda was promoted, and a reticulate public sphere dedicated to Muslim science. My critique explores the quality and substance of the border crossings between these two arenas. I introduce science diplomacy’s value as a strategy for cross-cultural engagement, then illustrate and comment on the dialogues taking place within the Cairo Agenda and Muslim science arenas. I conclude with observations and recommendations to build and strengthen the lattice work between these arenas, and prospects for creating a cross-cultural ethos to guide the purposes and practices of science.
rhetoric, diplomacy, public sphere, science, US-Muslim engagement
Copyright © 2015 M. Karen Walker
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