| by Rhianna Kreger

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Bill Potter in his office
William C. Potter is the founding director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and the Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute. (Credit: Elena Zhukova )

Middlebury Institute Professor and James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Founding Director William C. Potter was elected last week as a Foreign Member to the Russian Academy of Sciences section on Global Issues and International Relations.

Dr. Potter is one of a limited number of non-Russian nationals honored by the Academy, and only the second American—after Dr. Henry Kissinger in 2016—ever elected to the RAS Global Issues and International Relations Section. Other non-Russians include Nobel Laureates Hans Bethe, Kenneth Arrow, and Murray Gell-Mann, Stanford University physicist Siegfried Hecker, Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and Princeton University physicist Freeman Dyson.

“Dr. Potter’s election to the esteemed Russian Academy of Sciences is a welcomed recognition of his extraordinary achievements in the field of weapons of mass destruction research, training, and education,” said International Advisory Council member Cary Neiman. “At a time of extreme distrust between the two largest nuclear powers, it is reassuring to know that Bill’s integrity, knowledge, and wisdom are as respected in Russia as they are in the United States.”

“By extension,” continued Mr. Neiman, “the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies takes great pride in the Russian Academy’s acknowledgment of the profound importance of the Center’s work to curtail the spread of weapons of mass destruction.”

“This is great news for the whole global nonproliferation community and for US-Russian relations, which is particularly important in these difficult times,” said Dr. Vladimir A. Orlov, director of the Moscow-based PIR Center. “Dr. Potter is a leading world-class expert in nonproliferation studies, and this recognition by the Russian Academy of Sciences is both very logical and very timely.” Dr. Orlov added that “it is also a validation of Bill’s systematic contribution to the improvement of dialogue between Russia and the United States—and to training the next generation of nonproliferation specialists in both countries—an approach that requires long-term vision, well-developed strategy, and, at times, courage.”

Founded in 1724 by Emperor Peter the Great, the Russian Academy of Sciences is the highest-level scientific institution in the Russian Federation. It seeks to advance fundamental research in the Sciences and Humanities, to conduct long-term scientific investigations closely connected with industrial development, to study new possibilities of technical progress, and to promote maximum practical application of scientific achievements and developments.

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