June 28, 2010
Science Can Shape Global Diplomacy
Ahmed Zewail, Los Angeles Times
In today's world, America's soft power is commonly thought to reside in the global popularity of Hollywood movies, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Starbucks. But the facts tell a different story. In a recent poll involving 43 countries, 79% of respondents said that what they most admire about the United States is its leadership in science and technology. The artifacts of the American entertainment industry came in a distant second. In the 1970s, what I, as a young foreign student studying in the United States, found most dynamic, exciting and impressive about this country is what much of the world continues to value most about the U.S. today: its open intellectual culture, its great universities, its capacity for discovery and innovation.