The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the first global conventional arms treaty on April 2, 2013. This is the first time the world’s nations have come to agreement on a legally binding international treaty regulating trade in conventional weapons (there are already treaties regulating nuclear as well as chemical and biological weapons). The treaty is being hailed as historic for pioneering elements such as linking sales to the human rights records of buyers.
For students of international policy, the opportunity to witness these negotiations and meet and interact in person with stakeholders is invaluable. Professor Edward Laurance, a veteran of many international small arms negotiations, took a group of 11 students to New York over spring break and arranged meetings with high-level negotiators and leaders of non-profit organizations involved. “It was very interesting to hear the arguments of the different sides from the people representing them and also to learn how expectations about the effectiveness of the treaty varies from country to country,” says Mohamed Maklouf (MAIPS ’13).
The students also spent time in the Big Apple networking with alumni of both the Monterey Institute and Middlebury College, and many used the opportunity to meet with prospective employers, or work to land amazing internships.