The Fourth Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies (WWMYA)
VYA was proud to be the host of the Fourth WWMYA, which took place from 31st July – 2nd August 2019 at DuyTan University in beautiful Da Nang, Vietnam.
It was in collaboration with Global Young Academy whose representatives were the Co-chair of GYA Koen Vermeir (France) and Managing Director Dr Beate Wagner. Representatives from more than 30 young academics from all over the globe came to discuss the theme “Young Academies for Promoting Peaceful and Inclusive Societies”.
Flavia Schlegel, the Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy at the International Science Council (ISC), opened the meeting with a keynote on the role of young academies in providing science advice as intermediaries between the research community and policy-makers nationally and globally. She pointed out that science cannot be neutral, even for potentially contentious topics like climate change, biodiversity, etc. In closing, she invited young academy representatives to cooperate more closely with the ISC in the future.
This set the tone for following discussions on how young academies can better engage in the implementation and development of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The discussions built on the 2017 young academies statement on the UN SDGs and drew on the InterAcademy Partnership’s recent report on Improving Scientific Input to Global Policymaking, which lists specific recommendations for action by young academies.
The participants in the meeting agreed to build a worldwide network of Young Academies. Such a global community of early- and mid-career scholars will serve to enhance and leverage the impact young academies can make on science and on society. With the increased activity, visibility, and prominence of Young Academies, participants in the 4th WWMYA recognized the need for greater alignment and clarification of core values that underpin Young Academies.
Clarifying these values will be instrumental for future discussion and refinement of the principles that are shared by Young Academies and that may increasingly inform the activities of Young Academies worldwide. As such, Young Academies will be empowered to act with a common purpose, to give a voice to Young Scientists all over the world and in all layers of society, to break through disciplinary and geographical boundaries, and to build collective agency to
positively impact society.
At the Da Nang meeting, Young Academies also presented their strategic activities that contribute towards the UN SGDs, including a demonstration of the ways in which recent IAP recommendations for Young Academies have been incorporated into their activities. They further discussed their experiences on the ways in which partnerships between young and senior academics and government can promote peaceful and inclusive societies. Of note, current Young Academy initiatives that give a voice to and peer mentor early career at-risk scholars were shared to encourage others to take up similar initiatives. Finally, participants presented the outreach activities of several Young Academies and they also engaged in local science outreach for more than 70 Vietnamese high school children.
The Da Nang meeting served as the ideal platform to share good practices between Young Academies on governance issues such as selection of members and securing funding, how to create tools that support the development of new Young Academies, how to get inspiration, and learn about improving work processes, and how to support regional and international collaborations among Young Academies.
The Program Organizing Committee for the meeting included representatives from a number of young academies, thereby ensuring that the meeting agenda reflects the global nature of these biannual meetings.