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  • Position : Director
  • Affiliation : PIR Center
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Disarmament and nonproliferation education. Achievements, new challenges and solutions.

Albert Zulkharneev

Action 22: All states are encouraged to implement the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (A/57/124) regarding the United Nations study on disarmament and non-proliferation education, in order to advance the goals of the treaty in support of achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

In 2010 – 2015 Russia due to activities of its national universities and NGOs fully implemented its commitments in accordance with Action 22 of the NPT Review Conference 2010 Action Plan. I can also remind you that five years ago besides the Action 22, Russia supported the statement of the First Committee on education, initiated by Japan. Russia was the only nuclear weapon state that supported this statement.

Achievements of 2010 – 2015

Key achievement of the recent years is the formation of the system of nonproliferation education in Russia and other CIS countries, appearance of the sustainable educational nonproliferation network. Educational programs not only improve skills, but also help to select young talents, motivate them and provide opportunities for their growth.

There are dynamic centers and experts specializing in nonproliferation studies in key Russian universities as well as in Kazakhstan, Republic of Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyz Republic and other countries.

Key role in creating such a system was played by close interaction between government, non-governmental organizations, academia, universities and foreign partners.

PIR Center, the organization, which I represent, took lead in promotion of nonproliferation education in Russia and CIS. During the last five years, about 150 young experts took part in the PIR Center’s schools and training courses, more than 200 students participated at the PIR Center’s classes in Russian and CIS universities. We took part in youth forums and reached broad audience of active young people. For two years we implemented program on nonproliferation education in Central Asian countries. Overall number of the PIR Center’s alumni community exceeds 800 specialists.

New Challenges and Tasks

Today there are new concerns and tasks, connected with both the interest in nuclear energy growing worldwide and change of political situation. However, there is a great potential in nonproliferation education and we are ready to realize it together with our partners.  

I would like to pay your attention to the two following issues.

The first one is globalization of proliferation risks and necessity for training of nonproliferation specialists around the world. 

The latest trends show that the interest in nuclear energy continues to grow. According to 2013 IAEA report  9 new countries started construction or preparing infrastructure for their first nuclear power plants, 26 countries were considering final decisions or drafts of nuclear power programs.

Thousands of specialists are receiving training in nuclear disciplines. All of them will have sensitive knowledge on nuclear technologies. All of them represent different countries and regions.

Only one professional training center of Rosatom Corporation provided courses for more than 500 managers from 12 new nuclear countries during the last 5 years. This figure does not include hundreds of undergraduate students. 

It is a significant challenge to nonproliferation education. National nuclear programs are considered as the key to sustainable development, formation of scientific and technical elite, strengthening independence and status in the region, transition to the new league of world politics.

At the same time, we certainly face globalization of proliferation risks. This raises the question of training nonproliferation specialists around the world. The knowledge and experience necessary for the task are still restricted to few countries. It is necessary to invest our efforts into development of national centers of nonproliferation studies and education in new nuclear countries.  

The second issue I want to raise is the lack of mutual understanding and the risk of indoctrination and politicization of disarmament and nonproliferation education.

Current security crisis in Europe and stagnation in arms control dialogue again demonstrated differences in understanding of security and strategic stability. These differences include different priorities in terms of hard and soft security, human security, geopolitical concerns and military balances.

It is hardly possible to conduct any realistic dialogue on disarmament matters, if some countries or experts forget all other aspects except humanitarian one, and their counterparts will speak only from positions of military balance and strategic stability. Today we see that both sides perceive actions of each other as propaganda campaigns, which intentionally or not aim to reduce security of the other part.

I believe that for our common success, it is important to avoid such situation in nonproliferation and disarmament education, to avoid its politicization and indoctrination. 

It is important to emphasize necessity of critical thinking and development of abilities for complex, comprehensive analysis of nonproliferation and disarmament problems.

I would say that disarmament and nonproliferation education is not about «good» and «bad», it is about “what” and “why”.

All the problems, I mentioned, are rather natural. Their solutions depend not only on our noble intentions, but on methodology and the real projects we implement.

I think one of the key solutions is multilateral cooperation between professionals in nonproliferation studies and education, implementation of joint international, multilateral projects, which allow to get the knowledge and skills for professional career, independent analysis and better understanding of your partners.

Dual-Degree Master’s Program in Nonproliferation Studies

I would like to pay your attention to the project, which can be a breakthrough in nonproliferation education and future security dialogue.

Currently three institutions PIR Center, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO University) develop a Dual-Degree Master’s Program in Nonproliferation Studies.

It would be the first international degree program on nonproliferation organized by leading U.S and Russian centers of nonproliferation studies.

On October 2014 in Montreux, our organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), confirming  interest in developing academic cooperation and the mentioned program.

The program is planned to be innovative educational product of outstanding quality, combining the best academics as well as practitioners from Russia, the United States.

 

We are open to cooperation with other countries and institutions.

The program will provide extensive training in the field of nonproliferation. It will create a unique opportunity for aspiring students from all over the world. One of the programs priorities will be providing education for young specialists from nuclear newcomer countries.

The program will be designed so that students will have the  opportunity to study in both Moscow and Monterey. The partners also will seek opportunities to arrange internships for students in the program in the principal locations for international decision making in the field, such as in Geneva and Vienna.

The students will receive Master’s Degrees from both Russian and American educational institutions. The first enrollment is planned for the fall of 2016.

Dr. Potter has already introduced to you the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, a world leader in nonproliferation education.

I have also  presented you the PIR Center – the leading Russian organization in nonproliferation and arms control.

The other partner from the Russian side is MGIMO – the leading Russian university in international relations studies. MGIMO has reach experience in developing Master’s programs with foreign partners.

The program will prepare highly-qualified experts ready for practical work in governmental, international, and private organizations dealing with nonproliferation. We believe that everything is in place to assemble one of the best international nonproliferation education programs and make real contribution to global efforts on strengthening the nonproliferation regime.

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