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Nine Nominees In the Running for the 2017 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year

For Immediate Release: December 21, 2017

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext. 114

(Washington, DC) -- Nine U.S. and international leaders and groups have been nominated this year for efforts in 2017 on nonproliferation and disarmament or for raising public awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.

Nominees for the Arms Control Person(s) of the Year are made by the staff and board of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association, which has recognized such efforts annually since 2007.

This year nominees include:

  • EU High Representative Federica Mogherini for her campaign to resist attempts to renegotiate the Iran nuclear deal;
  • Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica and delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa for successfully negotiating the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
  • Ambassabor Joseph Yun, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, for efforts to establish a sustained diplomatic dialogue with North Korea;
  • Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) for introducing H.R. 4415, a bill that would make it the policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first;
  • Pope Francis for his declaration that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, completing the Catholic Church’s shift away from conditional acceptance of nuclear deterrence;
  • Members of UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and partners in Iraq for the removal of more than 269,000 mines, IEDs, and other explosive hazards from locations formerly under ISIS control;
  • Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) for calling attention to the impact of U.S.-supplied weapons in the ongoing conflict in Yemen;
  • Edmond Mulet, head of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism, for overseeing the investigations to determine the responsible actors for Syrian chemical weapons attacks; and
  • Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales and a group of more than 137 founders and directors of over 100 robotics and artificial intelligence companies for their open letter on the on the dangers posed by uncontrolled development of lethal autonomous weapon systems.

"Each of this year’s nominees have, in their own way, provided leadership to help reduce weapons-related security threats," noted Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

The winner will be selected by the public through online voting on the Association's website (https://www.armscontrol.org/acpoy) from December 8, 2017 until January 5, 2018. Nominees and their supporters are invited and encouraged to "campaign" for the award. Many have already started doing so via their social media profiles, using the hashtag #ACPOY17 to draw attention to their nomination. 

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" include: Tony de Brum and the government of the Marshall Islands (2016); Setsuko Thurlow and the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2015); Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (2014), Executive-Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo (2013); Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011), Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010);Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S. Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).

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