By Kavya Kadia
A few months ago, I experienced this while working on a research project for The New York Academy of Sciences. I had a chance to work with the most talented and extraordinary minds from Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil, and Egypt—to name a few countries—on Forest Literacy and Sustainability. I realized how, through scientific collaboration, we can address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, disease, and poverty—and can hopefully prevent the next pandemic.
Working with a girl from Pakistan—a country with which my homeland of India has a complex relationship—helped me change my “traditional” outlook toward humanity beyond borders and boundaries. She chased teams and mentors to find an opportunity for me and found a way where she and I could work together, irrespective of our nationalities. One of the core values I learned from her was that talent matters, not nationality. It doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are headed. For the two of us, it was unity through science.
“Talent matters, not nationality. It doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are headed. For the two of us, it was unity through science.”
Although we are in an era of globalization, countries and communities are becoming increasingly divided. Science has the power to be a unifying force. By sharing knowledge and resources, we can develop innovative solutions that benefit everyone. Scientific research can also help break down cultural barriers and promote understanding between diverse peoples. As the Indian philosophy Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam states, “The whole world is my family.”
As a young researcher, I believe that the scientific revolution can prevent conflicts and wars between countries. By promoting international cooperation and diplomacy, and facilitating communication and collaboration between nations, science can foster mutual understanding and trust. This has the potential to reduce tensions and prevent conflicts from escalating into full-scale war.
Through my research experiences on sustainability, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with experts from around the world. I have witnessed female leaders from the smallest towns of Africa take complete responsibility for reducing their area’s carbon footprint and establishing centers of climate preservation without any government support, largely by allowing the rays of science into their lives.
Since I have seen firsthand how science can bridge cultural and societal divides and promote collaboration toward common goals, I am excited about the endless possibilities that scientific research holds for improving our health, expanding our understanding of the universe, and creating a more sustainable and equitable world. With new technologies, discoveries, and innovations continually being made, I believe we have the potential to revolutionize how we live our lives and perceive one another.
Looking ahead to the future, I hope even my slightest contributions to the field of science help de-escalate tensions between nations and create a more peaceful planet. To all the young researchers out there: The world is counting on you and so am I.
The article was originally published by Girl Up, United Nations Foundation.