At a recent celebration for the 25th anniversary of the Middlebury Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, a special award was given to one of the key figures in its establishment. General Robert (Bob) Gard served as president of the Monterey Institute of International Studies from 1987 through 1998, the second-longest tenure of any president in the Institute’s history, after the Institute’s founder, Gaspard Weiss. General Gard’s early belief in the importance of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), and his enthusiastic support for its establishment, ensured that the vision that he and founding Director Bill Potter shared would become a reality.
From its relatively modest beginnings 25 years ago, when the staff consisted of Dr. Potter and a couple of graduate assistants, CNS has grown to become the world’s largest nongovernmental organization devoted to research, training, and education on nonproliferation issues, with more than 35 staff in Monterey, Washington, D.C., and Vienna, Austria. As Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson, vice president and dean of the institute, remarked at the event: “Ideas for research centers are proposed on college and graduate school campuses every day. It takes a visionary leader to recognize which of these proposals are truly unique, and vital, and fill a niche that genuinely needs to be filled. General Gard played a critical role at critical time in ensuring that the Center made that transition from idea to reality, and we will always be grateful for the vision and leadership he displayed at that key juncture.”
Since retiring from the Institute, General Gard and his wife Janet have continued to be strong and generous supporters of both CNS and the Institute. The Global Citizen Award is intended to honor leaders whose vision and actions have had a significant, lasting impact on international affairs, and has been given out only a handful of times in the history of the Institute.