On March 25-29, 2013, the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) conducted another intensive course on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. Twenty five diplomats and practitioners representing countries from Middle East, Africa, South America, Asia, and other regions, many of whom traveled from their national capitals, gathered at VCDNP for a week full of lectures, seminars, and panel discussions.
Lord Browne of Ladyton (Des Browne), former UK Defence Secretary and Board member of the European Leadership Network (ELN) delivered a keynote presentation to the course participants and other experts in Vienna on the current challenges in nuclear disarmament and the role of European countries in this process. The course program featured a number of well-known senior experts and included: Dr. William C. Potter (CNS), Tariq Rauf (Global Nuclear Solutions), Laura Rockwood (IAEA), Dr. Scott Sagan (Stanford University), Therese Renis (IAEA), Jean du Preez (CTBTO), Robert Kelley (IAEA Safeguards (ret.)), Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (CNS), Dr. Siegfried Hecker (CISAC), Elena Sokova (VCDNP), Peter Colgan (IAEA), Siew Fei Chin (Deputy Representative, Singapore) and Dr. Nikolai Sokov (VCDNP). In addition, course participants had a chance to participate in a round-table discussion with Amb. Cornel Feruţa (Romania, 2013 NPT PrepCom Chair-Designate), Amb. Alfredo Labbé (Chile), Amb. Alexander Kmentt (Austria), and Amb. Khaled Shamaa (Egypt) on the agenda and challenges facing the forthcoming Preparatory Committee of the Nonproliferation Treaty in Geneva.
The course participants also toured the Data Center of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and learned about the CTBT monitoring system and global technical capabilities to detect nuclear explosions.
The VCDNP extends its gratitude the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Sloan Foundation, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for the generous support for this course.
At the end of the course, participants completed an anonymous survey. The following are some of the assessments provided by participants:
“The course is really excellent and very rich in materials and I am looking forward to participate in the next course.”
“This course was interesting, informative and insightful for career diplomats, like me.”
“I found the course very instrumental and meaningful for my future responsibilities and future career.”
“A very useful course designed to understand nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.”
“The course and lectures were very well designed to provide a holistic picture on different issues related to disarmament and non-proliferation.”
“Being a Desk officer at the UN, I had an arsenal of information to excel in my work.”
“Some of the issues I deal with in my job are disarmament in general, and the conference on Disarmament, specifically. Therefore, the course added significant knowledge to my professional development responsibilities.”
Funding for the course was provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.