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Webinar Science and Life

Weaponizing science for the greater good

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Weaponizing science for the greater good

Recorded 06 June 2019


The scientific method has been successfully applied to advance human health and well-being. The process of experimentation, ethical oversight, and critical review of empirical data enables verifiable truths to be uncovered and knowledge to be advanced. Can the same scientific method also be applied to issues of social justice and human rights? Can we use science to improve the well-being of abused children, to fight racism and hatred, and to stop the spread of fear and ignorance? This webinar examines the practice of applying scientific standards of data collection, analysis, and presentation to further social justice and serve core human rights.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Speaker bios

Jack Shonkoff, M.D.

Harvard Center on the Developing Child
Cambridge, MA

Dr. Shonkoff is the Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Graduate School of Education; professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital; and director of the university-wide Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He currently chairs the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting children and families, and the JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new measures of stress effects and resilience in young children. Under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Shonkoff served as chair of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families from 1997 to 2000, and led a blue-ribbon committee that in 2000 produced the landmark report From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. In 2011, he launched Frontiers of Innovation, a multisectoral, science-based R&D platform committed to achieving breakthrough outcomes at scale for young children facing adversity. Dr. Shonkoff has received multiple professional honors, including elected membership in the National Academy of Medicine, the C. Anderson Aldrich Award in Child Development from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children from the Society for Research in Child Development. He has authored over 150 publications and has been a visiting professor or delivered named lectureships at more than 35 universities in the United States and around the world.

Marco Perduca

Luca Coscioni Association
Rome, Italy

Mr. Perduca was a senator in Italy from 2008 to 2013, serving on the Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Human Rights committees. For 20 years, he has coordinated the activities of the Nonviolent Radical Party at the United Nations (UN) in New York, as well as in Geneva, Switzerland, and Vienna, Austria, and has organized high-level meetings to abolish the death penalty in Africa and Central Asia. He has also collaborated with British law firms and various American foundations on ending human rights violations in Italy. Mr. Perduca is an expert on UN mechanisms, with an emphasis on drug policy reform. In April 2018, he cofounded the international platform Science for Democracy, of which he is currently the coordinator. His letters and opinions have appeared in the International Herald Tribune, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. When he was in Parliament, he was often a guest at the BBC as a commentator on Italian politics. In 2014, he published Operazione Idigov, a chronicle of his activities at the United Nations in the year 2000; in 2018, he cocurated Proibisco Ergo Sum, a collection of essays on prohibitions in Italy, and prefaced La Cannabis Fa Bene alla Politica and Terapie Stupefacenti. He has a blog at and is currently working on a memoir.

Amanda Klasing

Human Rights Watch
Washington, DC

Amanda Klasing is acting codirector of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. Her work focuses on sexual and domestic violence, reproductive rights, and economic and social rights, and she is a specialist in the rights to water and sanitation. She has carried out research and advocacy on a number of human rights issues, including the rights of women and girls in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; sexual violence and other forms of violence against women displaced by conflict in Colombia; accountability for victims of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier of Haiti; the relationship between women’s and girls’ human rights and access to good menstrual hygiene management; and the rights to water and sanitation. Most recently, she authored the Human Rights Watch report on Canada’s human rights obligations related to the water and sanitation crisis in the First Nations; the human right to sanitation; and the human rights impact of the Zika epidemic in marginalized communities in Northeast Brazil. Klasing has presented verbal and written testimony before multiple United Nations mechanisms, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals on the right to water and on human rights and humanitarian response; she is also a contributing author of an academic book on health and human rights. She is a founding member of the Human Rights Methodology Lab. She holds a Master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago, and a law degree from New York University.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Ph.D.

American University
Washington, DC

Dr. Miller-Idriss is professor of education and sociology at the American University in Washington, DC, and senior fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). Her primary research areas are on the cultural dimensions of radical and extreme right youth subcultures and school-based responses to radical and extreme youth engagement, and on knowledge production and internationalization in higher education. Her most recent books are The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany (Princeton University Press, 2018) and Seeing the World: How US Universities Produce Knowledge about the World (with Mitchell Stevens and Seteney Shami, Princeton University Press, 2018). Dr. Miller-Idriss also writes frequently for mainstream audiences on issues of youth radicalization, nationalism, education, and parenting, most recently for Le, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, and Fortune. She is currently at work on a new book, Hate in the Homeland: The Places and Spaces of the New U.S. Far Right.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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