International platform for disarmament and non-proliferation dialogue, research and education

March 2016 Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Short Course

The VCDNP and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) held their 11th intensive short course on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament on 21-25 March 2016. The continued high level of interest in the course brought together a diverse group of 26 diplomats and representatives from permanent missions, ministries and international organizations. Participants represented 21 states from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Women made up 39 percent of the course participants and 58 percent of the lecturers.

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The course preceded the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) that was held in Washington, D.C. on 31 March to 1 April 2016. Given the timing of the course, one session was dedicated to the NSS process and beyond, including a discussion of the potential key debates at the final NSS and development of the post-Summit architecture. Special attention was also given to the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Course participants were able to benefit from an engaging public panel discussion entitled “CTBT at 20: Re-Energizing the Global Debate”, attended by more than 100 participants. The panel featured the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Ambassador Mitsuro Kitano (Japan), Ambassador Kairat Sarybay (Kazakhstan), Ambassador Merav Zafary-Odiz (Israel), Ambassador Mohamed Hussein H. Zaroug (Sudan), Angela Kane (VCDNP), Andrew Schofer (USA) and Mohammad Omari (Jordan), with Laura Rockwood (VCDNP) moderating. The panelists discussed possible ways forward to facilitate the CTBT’s entry into force, while also noting challenges and existing hurdles that still need to be met. In addition, course participants were give the opportunity to engage more with the CTBTO and its verification network through a tour of the CTBTO Data Center.

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The course agenda covered a wide range of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament topics, such as: the nuclear fuel cycle; export control regimes; bilateral arms control; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards; nuclear-weapon-free-zones; case studies on Iraq, South Africa, and Iran; disarmament verification; new verification technologies; and other topics. Course participants were given the chance to interact with experts, ask questions in a candid manner and have an open debate. Lecturers included experts from CNS and the VCDNP, as well as senior officials from international organizations and academic institutions. The list of speakers included: Dr. William Potter (CNS); Laura Rockwood (VCDNP); Jasmin Craufurd Hill (WiN Global/IFRS); Sarah McOmish (AWE); Tariq Rauf (SIPRI); Therese Renis (IAEA); Maryem Haddaoui (Permanent Mission of Morocco); Jacques Baute (IAEA); Angela Kane (VCDNP); Hellmut Lagos (Permanent Mission of Chile); Elisabeth Waechter (CTBTO); Jeffrey Lewis (CNS); Anita Nilsson (Chatham House); Janneke Vrijland (Permanent Mission of Netherlands); Ricardo Ayrosa (Permanent Mission of Brazil); Heather Williams (Kings College London); Sitara Noor (VCDNP); Tom Shea (TomShea Nuclear Consulting Services); and Renauld Chatelus (independent consultant).


View the Course Agenda


For the first time this year, the VCDNP also hosted a social event that brought together current course participants with VCDNP course alumni. The event provided a great opportunity for participants to widen their networks, both in Vienna and abroad, to exchange professional experiences and to share knowledge in the field of nuclear non proliferation and disarmament.

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At the end of the course, participants completed an anonymous survey aimed at assessing the course and its contribution to their professional development. The survey results confirm the importance of the VCDNP short course and its ability to deliver knowledge on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in an interesting and intriguing way. Highlighted below are some of the comments provided by participants (quoted as written):

“The course provided me with a comprehensive introduction of different approaches in disarmament.”

“The course enhanced my knowledge in the area of the NPT [and] enables me to provide sound and informed advice to my principals.”

“As a diplomat in Vienna, this course will help me to deal with IAEA and CTBTO issues.”

“Quality of the speakers: experts, substantive, informative, engaging, entertaining, able to understand their audience and deliver targeted presentations.”

“It was inspiring to see so many women speakers during the course.”

The VCDNP extends its gratitude to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway for their generous support that made this course possible.