Yale hosts international student summit to advocate elimination of nuclear weapons

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From Left: Harrison Monsky '13, co-president of Global Zero Yale Chapter; Global Zero co-founders and Yale alumni Bruce Blair and Matt Brown at a panel during the Global Zero Summit held in London in 2010 (Photo by Max Whittaker)

Over 300 college students from around the world will convene at Yale on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18 and 19, to discuss the elimination of nuclear weapons.

During “‘Reaching Zero,’ the Global Zero Student Summit at Yale,” student leaders will meet with world leaders, participate in intensive policy and campaign training, and strategize on how to build the movement.

The summit is being hosted in partnership with the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, which is headed by former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo. The program will include sessions with eminent leaders and experts on a broad range of topics, including:

  • Key steps to initiating the first-in-history multilateral nuclear arms negotiations;
  • The $1 trillion-per-decade cost of nuclear weapons globally;
  • Nuclear weapons issues in the context of the upcoming presidential elections in the United States, Russia, and France;
  • Reduction of U.S. and Russian tactical nuclear weapons in the European theater;
  • Movement-building and civic engagement in the 21st century; and
  • Online and offline organizing strategies to galvanize the Global Zero campaign.

“The bellicose use of nuclear weapons, either by states or non-state actors, is potentially the most significantly disruptive event for human progress and certainly for globalization. The only sustainable scenario to end the nuclear danger would be an international regime that effectively achieves and guarantees the abolition of nuclear weapons,” said Zedillo. “The work of Global Zero, of which I am a member, is extremely important and I applaud the Yale Global Zero students group for organizing this major international summit here at our University.”

Global Zero is the international movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. It was co-founded by Bruce Blair ’84 Ph.D., president of the World Security Institute, and Matt Brown ’01 J.D., former secretary of state of Rhode Island

“I am proud that this international movement was spawned by two alumni of the University,” said President Richard C. Levin, who will deliver opening remarks at the summit. “I am delighted that our current students are continuing Yale’s tradition of leadership and service by hosting this summit at such a pivotal time.” 

“Reaching Zero” was conceived and developed by Harrison Monsky ‘13 and Matt Shafer ’13, co-presidents of the Yale Chapter of Global Zero. “Yale launched one of the first campus chapters of Global Zero,” said Monsky. “Through our participation in past Global Zero summits in London and Los Angeles, we have been able to play a meaningful role in building the student momentum for the movement.”

Other speakers will include former international weapons inspector Hans Blix; former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson; and Jonathan Schell, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

Blair and Brown began laying the groundwork for Global Zero in December of 2006. The movement was publicly launched at the first Global Zero Summit In December 2008 with 100 eminent world leaders. Since 2008, the Global Zero movement has grown to include more than 300 current and former heads of state, national security advisers, military commanders, and business, civic, and faith leaders, as well as nearly half a million citizens worldwide. The organization has hosted four international summits, and has built an international student movement with 100 campus chapters in 10 countries.

Click here for additional details about the conference, including a video and registration information.

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