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Vienna Center for Disarmament
and Non-Proliferation

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

VCDNP and CNS Conclude Second Intensive Short Course on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament

An intensive course for junior diplomats focused on nuclear nonproliferation policy issues held in Vienna, Austria on March 12-16, 2012.
Updated: 22 March 2012 • Posted: 4 January 2012

On March 12-16, 2012, the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation (VCDNP), in cooperation with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), held the second short course for practitioners on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Twenty-five diplomats from 24 countries attended lectures on such subjects as the history of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and its review process, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and international safeguards, arms control and nuclear disarmament, nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ), and nuclear challenges in the Middle East.

Course participants
Course participants

The participants also had an opportunity to tour the Data Center of the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and learn about the development and operation of the CTBT verification regime. During special panel discussions, the participants interacted with experienced diplomats involved in multilateral nonproliferation-related negotiations, including the chairman-designate of the upcoming NPT Preparatory Committee meeting Ambassador Peter Woolcott (Australia), Ambassador Susan Burk (USA), and chair of the Second Conference of States Parties to NWFZs Ambassador Alfredo Labbé (Chile).

Most of the course participants were diplomats posted in Vienna, while others work for foreign affairs ministries in their respective capitals; the majority of participants came from Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Course lecturers included senior staff of VCDNP and CNS, and experts from the IAEA, CTBTO, and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Laura Rockwood, Jill Cooley, Dr. Tariq Rauf, Jean du Preez, Jacques Baute, Dr. George Moore, Dr. Nikolai Sokov, Dr. William Potter, Elena Sokova, Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, and Mark Hibbs shared their insights on nonproliferation and disarmament issues in the course program.

At the end of the training, participants completed an anonymous survey aimed at assessing the course and its contribution to their professional development. The following are some of the assessments given by participants:

"The course allowed me to better understand the details related to the lack of advancement in the disarmament arena, so I can think about innovative arguments for my country's position in order to contribute to disarmament topics."
"The course will certainly assist in preparations for the 2015 NPT Review Conference, as I now have a comprehensive view of all the main issues to be discussed and can better make policy recommendations on the position of my country."
"It helped clarify the general and sometimes inaccurate information and notions I had so far on international nuclear nonproliferation."
"The course has given me a unique chance to listen to some of the most prominent experts in the field of nuclear nonproliferation policy issues as well as to reflect on the subject from a range of different perspectives - political, historical, technical and even philosophical.

During the course I realized how incomplete my knowledge on certain aspects of the subject was, though working with the IAEA and the CTBTO issues is my everyday life in Vienna."


CNS and VCNPD plan to offer this short-course on an annual basis. Those interested in more information on the short-course should contact VCDNP at info@vcdnp.org.


Dr. William Potter and course participants
Dr. William Potter and course participants
CTBTO tour
CTBTO tour
Course participants
Course participants