Securing the Final Frontier: Duke’s Space Diplomacy Lab

Professor Giovanni Zanalda, co-chair of the lab and director of the Rethinking Diplomacy Program, said the goal is to stay focused on developing policy ideas that involve science – two areas in which Duke has strong expertise.

“Space diplomacy is a very interesting field, because it’s a great example of where you need expertise — deep expertise. And at the same time, you need the policy and diplomatic side in order to make sure that certain treaties, agreements or even rules or behaviors are met,” said Zanalda, a professor of the practice in economics and history with the Social Science Research Institute at Duke.

The lab’s work is already paying off, he said.

“We are already in dialogue with government agencies, foundations, the media and research institutions interested in our work. Some of our recommendations have been included in reports and discussed in workshops and meetings in other institutions. Given the positive response from students, partners and agencies we are also developing training material that can be used in courses at Duke as well as on-demand training modules. We also started to include and collaborate with Duke students and faculty from different disciplines in space-related activities.”

The Space Diplomacy Lab is among a handful of space-related activities at Duke, including a new course on space economy Zanalda will teach this fall in the Department of Economics.

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