Happy Birthday, Dr. Potter!


MOSCOW, JULY 8 2017, PIR-PRESS — Happy Birthday, Dr. Potter! Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, member of PIR Center Advisory Board turns 70.

Today, July 8, William Potter celebrates his 70th anniversary. Dr. Potter is a Founder and Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (California, USA) - the leading research and education center in the nonproliferation field. William Potter is Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies, Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and PIR Center Advisory Board. For 5 years professor Potter served on the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters and the Board of Trustees of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research. He has been an advisor to the delegation of Kyrgyzstan at every NPT Review Conference and Preparatory Committee meeting since 1995. 

PIR Center, our common friends and partners congratulate professor Potter with his birthday.

Founder and Special Adviser to PIR Center, Head of the Center for Global Trends and International Organizations at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Vladimir Orlov: " An anniversary of a prominent, internationally renowned scholar is when you can just say the name and that is enough. This is how reputation works: you either have it, it or you do not. If you do – it speaks for itself in every corner of the world. But to build such a high international standing is harder than to plant a proper English lawn. It takes decades not just years.

I extend the warmest congratulations to my dear friend Bill Potter. Bill founded the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey – the strongest and the most prolific school with undisputable authority that gives training to more and more generations of nonproliferators. Monterey mafia created by Bill is truly global. It has spread not only across the United States and Europe, but also East Asia, Africa and now it grows even bigger — in Latin America. “Not what to think but how to think” – that is the critical thinking that professor Potter develops in the younger generation of specialists and that deserves respect and admiration.

Specially should be mentioned the generations of young — and somewhat older, venerable specialists from the former Soviet republics that Bill fostered. His contribution to strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation regime is quite specific and is measured by these dozens or even hundreds of people who have been graduating from Monterey school, the school of William Potter, since 1990’s till the present day. Every single one who happened to be in Monterey on Thanksgiving recalls with gratefulness Bill’s hospitality and the amazing roasted turkey that he serves in his house that is always open for guests as it is open to new ideas.

I am sure that if Bill shows up at any meeting at the United Nations or a research conference, there will be tons of people who will call him their Mentor. And I am one of them.

That is why Bill’s anniversary is a special day for me too.”

In 2016 Middlebuty Institute, MGIMO, and PIR Center opened Double Degree Master's Program in Nonproiferation Studies. Dr. Potter is scientific adviser from the American side. 

Happy birthday to William Potter wishes Rector of MGIMO-University Anatoly Torkunov“Dear William! Recently interactions between MGIMO and Monterey Institute has gained considerable momentum, largely due to your and Anna’s involvement in cooperation development between our institutes. MGIMO is grateful for your contribution. I wish you good health, happiness and professional success”.

MGIMO’s Vice-Rector for Graduate and International Programs, Andrey Baykov joined in the congratulations: “Dr. Potter, let me congratulate you on your anniversary. You are a highly professional, globally-renowned expert. Your involvement in the development of our dual degree Master’s program is unique. I hope that we will reach the new level of quality in training of the specialists in nonproliferation, who will make this world safer and more secure. I wish you all the best and further success in your work”.

Dauren Aben, alumnus of Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Moterey, former executive director of the Almaty office of the Monterey Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Senior Research Associate, Eurasian Research Institute: "I know Dr. Potter in several capacities. First of all, he is my professor. Thanks to him I got acquainted, among other things, with the complex world of negotiations on nuclear issues. Second, he is my former principal and colleague within Center for Nonproliferation Studies of Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Moterey, which regional office in Almaty I headed for few years. Under Bill’s keen leadership office was able to contribute to the strengthening of the scientific and research and professional potential of the Post-Soviet countries in the spheres of disarmament, nonproliferation, export control, and nuclear security. Finally, and most importantly, he is my senior kindred spirit, whose example inspires me to continue active academic work in the nonproliferation sphere. 

Among the nonproliferators it is customary to call Nonproliferation Treaty as the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime. By analogy I would call Monterey center created by Doctor Potter a cornerstone of scientific research and education in the nonproliferation sphere. And Bill is a godfather for this huge constellation of specialists educated by the center, which in our professional society is called Monterey mafia. CNS’s research is the key source of information and analysis for decision-makers, and alumni of the Middlebury institute and CNS inters thanks to the training within the educational programs and direct work with Dr. Potter become sought-after experts in the government agencies of their respective countries, international institutions and nongovernmental organizations. That is why Dr. Potter and his center account for the significant part of the institute’s brand. 

I would like to cordially congratulate Dr. Potter with his anniversary and wish him physical and creative longevity! I am sure that Bill dreams of the time, when his center becomes obsolete, because humanity will enter a qualitatively new phase of its development, free from wars, violence and threats of the use of force. But this perspective is quite remote, that is why we would need Bill’s knowledge, experience, enthusiasm, sense of purpose, and wisdom in order to successfully raise awareness in the sphere of nonproliferation and disarmament aiming for the world free of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction.

Among the students of William Potter  - Director of the Center for American Sudies, Associate professor at the deaprtment of theory and history of international relation of Ural Federal University Dmitry Pobedash: "Dear Teacher! You have accomplished much in your life: an accomplished scholar, an astute politician, the “founding father” of CNS, and – most importantly – a good friend to your colleagues and to your students. Yet I am sure that with your unique combination of intellect, energy, and resourcefulness you are going to have much more achievements in the future. May you keep working hard with all your vitality, wisdom and enthusiasm. This kind of teaching - through your own example, not only through your books and lectures - has been precious for your students all over the world. Let there be love and happiness in your life for many years to come!"

Nina Rozhanovskaya, coordinator and academic liaison in Russia, Kennan Institute, Wilson Center: “Anyone who has been to a major international arms control or nuclear nonproliferation event knows that CNS is extremely successful in this mission. But it’s not just about training the next generation of experts, it is also about transcending borders and bringing people together. My friends, fellow nonproliferation scientists, and I often jokingly refer to ourselves as members of the Monterey mafia and you, Dr. Potter, are not just its leader (or should I say Godfather?), but also a great source of inspiration. Happy birthday and thank you for all your hard work and initiative!”

PIR Center's team joins in the congratulations and cordially wishes Dr. Potter to always keep positive mood, creative freedom and inspiration. May good health and happiness be with you! Best wishes from PIR Center!