The nuclear ambitions of Japan, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia were discussed at the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates

25.11.2021

MOSCOW, NOVEMBER 25, 2021. PIR PRESS. «I appreciate the opportunity to participate in such a cooperative and friendly international environment. The Debates really honored the spirit of Timerbaev, bringing students together to practice positive diplomacy. Thank you, PIR Center!», — Sarah Erickson, participant of the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates, debater of the team of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA (MIIS), 2nd year student of the Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation developed jointly by MGIMO, MIIS and PIR Center.

On November 15, 2021, PIR Center held the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates. This year, students and young specialists in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and global security from Russia and foreign countries took part in the event. The teams of debaters were represented by such Russian and foreign universities and organizations as MGIMO Russia, MEPhI, Ural Federal University (UrFU), PIR Center, as well as MIIS and CTBTO Youth Group.

III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates combined two formats situational analysis and role-playing game. The participants of the Debates successfully discussed country threats to the nonproliferation regime in the medium term. They presented their vision of the nuclear ambitions of Japan, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia, acting as representatives of these countries. "Does the country need nuclear weapons, and should it seek to acquire them," was the main question that debaters had to answer. In total, four tracks of Debates (in English) were held within the framework of the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates, each of them was dedicated to a specific country and its ambitions in the nuclear sphere.

Each track of Debates was moderated by graduates of the Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy, and WMD Nonproliferation (MGIMO-MIIS-PIR Center), who are currently working in the leading organizations specialized in nuclear issues: Veronika Bedenko, an Analyst at Open Nuclear Network (ONN); Noah Mayhew, a Research Associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation (VCDNP); Vladislav Chernavskikh, a Research Associate at the Research Associate at the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS), and Inna Rodina, Fellow of the IAEA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP).

The debaters demonstrated a high level of training and erudition. «I was deeply impressed by the knowledge of the student debaters and the eloquence with which they delivered their remarks.  Ambassador Timerbaev would have been very proud to see so many talented young nonproliferation experts following in his footsteps», noted Dr. William Potter, Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (USA), a member of the PIR Center Advisory Board, a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS).

Such results became possible thanks to the support and assistance provided to the debaters at the preparation stage by their mentors. Among the latter were experienced theorists and practitioners in the field of nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament and global security:

  • Director of the Eurasia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, USA, Sarah Bidgood and a Research Associate at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies Cameron Henderson (mentors of the teams from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA).
  • Associate Professor of Ural Federal University Dmitry Pobedash (mentor of the team from UrFU).
  • Former Head of Verification and Security Policy Cooperation at IAEA Tariq Rauf (mentor of the team from the CTBTO Youth Group).
  • Associate Professor of MEPhI Elena Tsyvkunova (mentor of the team from the MEPhI).
  • Coordinator of the Nuclear Nonproliferation & Russia Program of PIR Center Sergey Semenov (mentor of the teams from MGIMO Russia and PIR Center).

Each track of Debates was opened and finished by the voting procedure. Even though the voters represented the same organizations as the debaters, they were called upon to be guided by the principles of objectivity and rationality and to cast their vote not for the teams, but for the persuasiveness of their arguments. In general, the Debates were focused on the educational component. As the Director of PIR Center Vladimir Orlov noted, nuclear nonproliferation won as a result, because the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates were primarily a unifying intellectual and educational game.

Elena Karnaukhova, Executive Secretary of the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates, Coordinator of the Education & Training Program of PIR Center, noted at the end of the event that each debater coped with their tasks perfectly and had the potential to become a real expert in the field of nuclear nonproliferation. Following the results of the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates, the members of the debating teams were ranked among the graduates of the Education & Training Program of PIR Center and PIR Alumni Community.

III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates were held as part of the celebration of the birthday of Yaderny Kontrol journal, or Rhino Day, during which Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Roland Timerbaev, one of the most prominent experts in nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear arms control, was remembered. "On the same day [in 1994 - editor's note.] we packed one of the copies of the journal in an envelope, took it to the post office (the Internet and e-mail were just emerging at that time, and we did not send the journal by e-mail at that time), and a few weeks later Roland Timerbaev received it, working at Monterey at the time. He was really surprised by this unexpected parcel and told Bill Potter about the new journal from Moscow. Then we received comments from Ambassador Timerbaev  as well as a number of other leading Russian specialists - on our pilot issue of the journal, which allowed us to enter the new year 1995 with our own new periodical and its first issue already polished to a shine," recalls Vladimir Orlov, Director of PIR Center.

We are glad that this day was shared with us by all the participants of the III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates. Some of them shared pleasant impressions with us!

 

 

For more information on III International Timerbaev Nuclear Debates and educational projects of PIR Center do not hesitate to contact us via [email protected].

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