The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) held their ninth intensive short course on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament on 16-20 March 2015. The continued high demand and interest in the Center’s short course brought a mix of twenty-four diplomats and officials from international organizations to the VCDNP office in Vienna, Austria. Participants represented twenty-three states from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, and Europe.
The course convened just five weeks prior to the Review Conference (RevCon) of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) scheduled to take place in New York from 27 April – 22 May 2015. Given the timing, expert lecturers dedicated substantial time to the NPT and its review process. In addition to lectures, participants also benefitted from a panel discussion on the upcoming 2015 NPT RevCon featuring the conference’s president-designate, Ambassador Taous Feroukhi (Algeria), Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano (Japan), Ambassador David Stuart (Australia), and Ambassador Wael Al-Assad (League of Arab States), moderated by Dr. William Potter (CNS). The panelists discussed the agenda items for the NPT RevCon and provided their views on what they believe are the most important issues.
Participants also had the opportunity to engage with lecturers on a wide range of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament topics, including export control regimes; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards; new technologies for verification; the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT); nuclear arms control; multilateral disarmament initiatives, such as the “humanitarian initiative,” and other topics. The course also included a visit to the IAEA Seibersdorf laboratories, where participants toured the IAEA safeguards Environmental Sample Laboratory and the Safeguards Clean Laboratory Extension, which strengthens the IAEA’s analytical capabilities to support verification activities. Participants were also introduced to the nuclear applications laboratories and were given the opportunity to visit the agricultural labs and the green house.
Course lecturers included CNS and VCDNP staff members as well as senior experts from international non-proliferation organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies.
The list of speakers included:
- Jean Du Preez (CTBT Organization)
- Hon. Gareth Evans (Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament)
- Anita Friedt (US Department of State)
- Dr. Marc Humphrey (IAEA)
- Thomas Markram (UN Office for Disarmament Affairs)
- Carrie Mathews (IAEA)
- Jean Philippe Morizot (IAEA)
- Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (CNS)
- Tamara Patton Schell (VCDNP)
- Dr. William Potter (CNS)
- Dr. Laura Rockwood (Belfer Center, Harvard University)
- Dr. Nikolai Sokov (VCDNP)
- Elena Sokova (VCDNP)
- Dr. Grant Spence (VCDNP)
- Ian Stewart (Kings College)
View the Full Course Agenda
At the end of the course, participants completed an anonymous survey aimed at assessing the course and its contribution to their professional development. The following are some of the comments provided by participants (quoted as written):
“This course is a must for all newcomer diplomats in Vienna.”
“[The Course] gives a better understanding of the core issues and challenges with regard to international non-proliferation activities and international organization mandates.”
“Nuclear and disarmament diplomacy has become an important agenda in all multilateral talks and the knowledge that we gained from the course will undoubtedly [be] very useful to my work.”
“Presentations were comprehensive, practical and delivered by very professional, thoroughly knowledgeable and eloquent speakers.”
The VCDNP extends its gratitude to the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway for their generous support that made this course possible.