Status: Open

At The Public Lecture Of PIR Center, The Evolution Of The Nonproliferation Regime Was Discussed

October 18, 2021

MOSCOW. OCTOBER 18, 2021. PIR PRESS. “It is reassuring when one contemplates the numerous challenges to the NPT regime to know that a new generation of Russian and American scholars and practitioners are preparing enter the field.  CNS and the Middlebury Institute are proud to partner with PIR and MGIMO in this vital educational and training enterprise”, – 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 Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

On October 4, PIR Center within the Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation, developed jointly by MGIMO, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS, USA) and PIR Center, held a public lecture with Dr. William Potter, Director of James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar Professor of Nonproliferation Studies Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (USA), on the topic: «The Evolving Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime: Challenges and Opportunities». The event was held under the auspices of PIR Center project to create a platform NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD, which will become a scientific, educational and communication platform for the current and future generation of experts in the field of international security.

The lecture was open to all those who wished to join in the ideas of one of the world’s leading experts in the field of nonproliferation (in a webinar format). In addition to representatives of PIR Center and students of PIR Center’s Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation, the lecture was attended by students and colleagues from leading Russian universities, PIR Center’s regional partners. Among those present were colleagues from the International Committee of the Red Cross, representatives of government agencies, young international specialists. Robert Einhorn, a world-renowned nonproliferation expert and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, was also among the audience. In general, more than 60 people took part in the lecture, both in-person and remotely.

The Vice-Rector for Science and Research of MGIMO, Andrey Baikov, addressed the audience: “Professor William Potter is one of the most respected experts in the field of nonproliferation. As the director and founder of the world’s largest analytical center engaged in research on nuclear nonproliferation issues, he considers it his personal mission to train a new generation of specialists in the United States and abroad. Several generations of experts and diplomats have completed his author’s training course on modeling the NPT review process and a master’s program in nonproliferation and terrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. I am glad that MGIMO and PIR Center have strong partnerships with James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Together we have launched the first Dual Degree M.A. Program in the field of nonproliferation and plan to further develop education in this field through joint efforts”.

Vladimir Orlov, PIR Center director and founder, characterizing the role of Dr. Potter in the field of nonproliferation noted in his welcoming speech: “He [Dr. Potter] had initiated a very important process on the level of the United Nations when he served on the advisory board on disarmament matters for the UN Secretary-General — the global process on education and training of a new generation of experts in disarmament and in nonproliferation. It resulted in the UN Secretary General’s report on this matter and the UN General Assembly resolution which provided a foundation for efforts in various countries to bring more audiences to the nonproliferation, and disarmament, and arms control dialogues”. The activities of PIR Center and Vladimir Orlov also played a significant role in promoting education in the field of nuclear nonproliferation and global security within the UN.

Professor William Potter, in his presentation, noted among the positive features of the dynamics of nonproliferation the slow pace and relatively small size of past nuclear proliferation, reversive nature of proliferation, near universality of the NPT, growth of nuclear weapons free zones emphasizing that technical capability to acquire nuclear weapons should not be seen as equivalent to the exercise of that capability. Dr. Potter also listed several challenges to the nonproliferation regime, including deterioration in US-Russian and US-Chinese nuclear dialogues, threat of an accidental nuclear war due to the possible emergence of nuclear terrorism together with the general increase of alienation among the nations of the world community. On the road to risk reduction, professor Potter called on the key stakeholders in nonproliferation to be more flexible in their dialogue, to keep the dialogue constructive, and to accept the entry into force of the Treaty for the Prohibition of nuclear weapons.

Professor Potter’s informative report was followed by a heated discussion during the Q&A session, face-to-face and virtual participants discussed the key priorities of the nonproliferation policy, approaches to the possible assessment of the results of the future NPT Review Conference, the views of various US administrations on nonproliferation issues, the situation on the Korean peninsula from the point of view of nonproliferation, the relationship between the creation of the military-political bloc AUKUS and the preservation of the nonproliferation regime, and much more.

“I was very excited to hear from Dr. Potter. He had some unique insights on the current issues in nonproliferation. He answered my question concerning the differences between the Biden and Trump Administrations very thoroughly”, – Mark Myers, student of the 6th cohort of the Dual Degree M.A. Program Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation.

“William Potter’s lecture turned out to be extremely useful for me, as it allowed me to systematize my knowledge about the nuclear nonproliferation regime, as well as clarify some of the subtleties associated with its evolution. I would also like to thank the organizers for the format of the event they chose: the online format not only allowed to attract representatives from different regions of Russia to participate, but also contributed to the activation of expert dialogue between Russia and Western countries,” Leonid Tsukanov, Head of the Monitoring and Research Department at the Institute of Strategic Communications and Social Projects, Yekaterinburg, Russia.

“Even as someone relatively new to this topic and despite the long history of the subject, I personally felt that the lecture was easy to follow. Professor Potter regularly set the context before going into the details. This lecture and his approach helped me personally to interpret the extent of today’s challenges and opportunities,” – a representative of the diplomatic corps accredited in Russia (on the position of anonymity).

“It is very important to create links between the younger generation of international experts and luminaries in the field of nuclear nonproliferation, to gain first-hand experience. Instructing young people is a noble cause. At a time when COVID-2019 occupies the entire information agenda, such meetings make it possible to raise important issues such as nuclear nonproliferation. I am glad that remote technologies make it possible to communicate despite all the difficulties,” Maksat Kamysov, graduate of the master’s program “Strategic Studies” of St. Petersburg State University.

The recording of the event you can find here. It will also be published on the scientific and educational platform NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD. William Potter’s lecture can also be found in printed form.

William Potter’s lecture became a harbinger of public events with the participation of major statesmen and experts from Russia and around the world, as well as international officials. Already on November 1, an open lecture “Prospects of the X NPT Review Conference” will be held. Our invited guest, H.E. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, President-designate of the X NPT Review Conference Gustavo Zlauvinen will give an expert opinion during the lecture. Learn more about the event.

This year for the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Global Security, Nuclear Policy and WMD Nonproliferation has crossed the five-year milestone since the first cohort of students started studying there. Over the years, more than 40 people have received qualifications in the field of nonproliferation and global security, 4 cohorts of students from Spain, Ireland, Canada, China, Mexico, Russia, the United States, and the Republic of Korea have passed through the Dual Degree M.A. Program in Nonproliferation Studies. Now our graduates are achieving great success and high results on the professional path. On September 13, 6 cohorts – 10 students from Russia, the USA, Italy and France – started studying at the Program.

For all questions related to the Dual Degree MA Program in Nonproliferation Studies, and also on participation in the events of PIR Center and materials under the auspices of NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD, please contact PIR Center Educational & Training Program Coordinator Elena Karnaukhova by e-mail