The Honorable Neal Lane
Assistant to the President
for Science and Technology
Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20502
Dear Dr. Lane:
As President Clinton emphasized in August 1994:
"The nature of science is international, and the free flow of people, ideas, and data is essential to the health of our scientific enterprise."
These remarks, made in the President's policy statement "Science in the National Interest," charted our Nation's course toward an ever-increasing era of global scientific cooperation. Since then, universities, private industry, and Federal agencies have strengthened bonds with international partners to tackle complex problems facing our global society--poverty, environmental degradation, disease, and sustainable energy production. Through the Administration's investments in information technology, modern communications will serve as both tool and catalyst for global scientific collaborations that enable medical breakthroughs, yield new technology, and even expand diplomatic relations.
The commitment of this Administration has strengthened U.S. participation in international science and technology ventures. But while the United States reaches outward to engage global partners in scientific collaboration, we must also look inward, to appreciate and recognize the international diversity of our unique "melting pot" of scientists developing the foundation of our country's strong economy. For example, many policy-makers, as well as public citizens, may not realize that the United States' "domination" of the Nobel Prizes in science this year occurred thanks to four scientists, all foreign-born and working for the benefit of our Nation. Regarding our young scientists, 20 percent of the U.S. finalists in one of America's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competitions, the Intel Science Talent Search, were born outside the United States.
As President Clinton said during his remarks at California Institute of Technology last January 21, 2000:
"…Einstein's contributions remind us of how greatly American science and technology and, therefore, American society have benefited and continue to benefit from the extraordinary gifts of scientists and engineers who are born in other countries, and we should continue to welcome them to our shores."
Therefore, we urge you, through your role as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, to undertake public outreach initiatives that will highlight and acknowledge the value of our nation's internationally diverse and open scientific enterprise. We suggest that the President proclaim one week of the year as "Global Science and Technology Week." We strongly recommend the week of May 7-13, 2000, during which time the United States will be hosting the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). The ISEF brings together more than 1,200 high school students from 40 nations for a prestigious international science competition. The President's proclamation of Global Science and Technology Week would strengthen your outreach efforts and underscore this Administration's demonstrated commitment to the international nature of science.