The establishment of the new Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation—managed and operated by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) on behalf of the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS)—was celebrated in Vienna today at an opening ceremony hosted by Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs Michael Spindelegger, and attended by MIIS President Sunder Ramaswamy and CNS Director William Potter.
The new center will serve as an international hub for discussions among representatives of civil society, national governments, and international organizations regarding nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issues. The Austrian Foreign Ministry’s October 2010 announcement of the selection of CNS to operate the center cited “its distinguished record of leadership in the field and its shared vision.” A key point of emphasis for the center is opportunities to educate the public—and especially young people—regarding nonproliferation and disarmament issues.
CNS is the largest nongovernmental organization in the United States involved in research and training in the fields of nonproliferation and disarmament. The Monterey Institute’s Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies (NPTS) master’s degree program, launched in August 2010, is the only one of its kind in the U.S., and draws heavily for its curriculum on the expertise and resources resident in CNS and the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program. Students seeking an NPTS degree made up more than 10 percent of the Institute’s student body in the program’s first year.
Friday’s event began with a panel of distinguished international experts on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) addressing this topic: “Implementing the NPT Action Plans: What’s Next for Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation? What Role Can Civil Society Play?” The panel featured CNS Director William Potter, Ambassador Susan Burk (Special Representative of the U.S. President for Nuclear Non-Proliferation), Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan, (Chair, NPT Review Conference 2010), Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala (Chair, NPT Review Conference 1995), and was moderated by Ambassador Alexander Marschik of the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs.
Minister Spindelegger, Director-General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ambassador Tibor Toth (representing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization), MIIS President Sunder Ramaswamy and CNS Director Potter also spoke at the opening ceremony.
The Vienna Center is intended to serve as a platform for independent expertise in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and will sponsor activities including conferences, seminars, educational and training programs, as well as research and analysis and dissemination of findings. The center will be located in the Andromeda Tower next to the Vienna International Center.