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

September 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Short Course

The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) held their tenth intensive short course on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament on 21-25 September 2015. The continued high level of interest in the course brought together a diverse group of twenty-five diplomats and officials from civil society organizations to the VCDNP in Vienna, Austria. Participants represented twenty-two states from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.

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The timing of the course, convening the week after the 59th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), provided participants with an opportunity to engage with lecturers on a wide range of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament topics, some of which had been discussed extensively during the IAEA General Conference. The comprehensive program included sessions on: export controls; nuclear security; bilateral arms control; IAEA safeguards; case studies on Iraq, South Africa, and Iran; states’ motivations for pursuing nuclear weapons; and other topics. Participants were able to benefit from an engaging panel discussion on the review process of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), reflecting on what had happened at the 2015 Review Conference and looking forward to the next review cycle. The panel featured Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (Austria), Dr. Camille Grand (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique), and Dr. William Potter (CNS), with Ms. Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (CNS) as the moderator. Course participants were also given the opportunity to gain hands on experience through tours of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Data Center and the IAEA safeguards and satellite imagery labs.

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Course lecturers included CNS and VCDNP staff members, as well as senior experts from international non-proliferation organizations and academic institutions. The list of speakers included: Jacques Baute (IAEA), Jean Du Preez (CTBTO), Dr. Camille Grand (Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique), Dr. Matthew Harries (International Institute for Strategic Studies), Jean Philippe Morizot (IAEA), Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (CNS), Dr. William Potter (CNS), Tariq Rauf (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), Laura Rockwood (VCDNP), Dr. Scott Sagan (Stanford University), Dr. Nikolai Sokov (CNS), Elena Sokova (CNS), Dr. Grant Spence (VCDNP), and Ian Stewart (Kings College).

View the Course Agenda

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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 following are some of the comments provided by participants (quoted as written):

“Lectures and background materials covered all things, filling up gaps, introducing both practical and normative aspects of each topic.”

“The course provided me with a practical interpretation on NPT and other treaties, and also enriched my basics in nuclear physics and nuclear fuel cycle.”

“As a Vienna ‘newcomer’ [it was] an excellent introduction to the field!”

“My predecessor recommended the course to me and I will recommend it to others. The course exceeded my expectations.”

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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.