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"No one can solve this problem alone, but together we can change things for the better." 

– Setsuko Thurlow
Hiroshima Survivor
June 6, 2016
Tony Fleming

Five Decades On, Our Work Is Not Done

Inside the Arms Control Association April 2022 Fifty years ago, on May 26, 1972, the first bilateral nuclear arms control agreements were struck: the U.S.-Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. That breakthrough followed the entry into force of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970. At the same time, the Arms Control Association was established as a project of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, becoming an independent, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization in 1972. As the first ACA Newsletter from April 1972 notes, the...

The Role of Arms Control in U.S.-Russian Relations

Inside the Arms Control Association February 2022 The Role of Arms Control in U.S.-Russian Relations The ongoing major Russian military buildup around Ukraine creates the potential for a catastrophic war that can and must be avoided through serious and deft diplomacy. Among the many factors that have led us to this point is the breakdown of important conventional and nuclear arms control agreements that helped bring an end to the first Cold War. These crucial guardrails, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, the Open Skies Treaty , the ABM Treaty , and the INF Treaty , are no...

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and the Government of Mexico Voted 2021 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year

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Recognized for Novel Initiative to Combat Illicit Arms Trafficking

For Immediate Release: Jan. 14, 2022

Media Contacts: Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107

(Washington, D.C.)—Mexico’s foreign minister, Mr. Marcelo Ebrard, and the government of Mexico were selected as the 2021 Arms Control Persons of the Year through an online poll that drew thousands of participants from dozens of countries. The annual contest is organized by the independent, nongovernmental Arms Control Association.

Mr. Ebrard and the government were nominated for their lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico that is fueling violence and criminal activity.

The lawsuit, filed in a Massachusetts federal district court, alleges that several major firearms manufacturers and wholesalers “design, market, distribute, and sell guns in ways they know routinely arm the drug cartels in Mexico,” and that contributes to a decline of life expectancy in Mexico. It said the named companies sell about 340,000 of an estimated half-million guns that illegally flow each year from “Massachusetts and other U.S. states to criminals south of the [U.S.-Mexico] border.”

“The Mexican Foreign Ministry’s lawsuit against the U.S. firearms companies represents an important new way to hold rogue actors accountable for their role in the violence caused by small arms trafficking across international borders,” according to Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

“The Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest is a reminder of the diverse and creative ways that dedicated individuals and organizations from around the globe can contribute to meeting the difficult arms control challenges of today and the coming decades,” he said.

This year, eight individuals and groups were nominated by the Arms Control Association staff and board of directors. “All of the nominees demonstrated extraordinary leadership in raising awareness of and advancing effective arms control solutions for the threats posed by mass casualty weapons during the course of 2021,” Kimball said.

The runners-up in this year’s contest were Sébastien Philippe, an associate research scholar of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security, and French journalist Tomas Statius, for their groundbreaking investigation that challenges the French government’s official public story of the health consequences of French atmospheric nuclear tests in the South Pacific. Their new findings suggest more than 100,000 people in Polynesia may be eligible to claim compensation from France for harm caused by the tests, which is about 10 times more than estimated by the existing French government.

Online voting was open from Dec. 8, 2021, until Jan. 12, 2022. A list of all of this year's nominees is available at https://www.armscontrol.org/pressroom/2021-12/2021-arms-control-persons-year-nominees-announced

Previous winners of the Arms Control Person of the Year are:

  • Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security for catalyzing support and action from leaders and practitioners in the national security and foreign policy communities to increase diversity into their ranks (2020);
  • Areg Danagoulian and colleagues at MIT for development of an innovative new nuclear disarmament verification process using neutron beams (2019);
  • 4,000 Anonymous Google Employees whose open letter to company leadership led to Google ending its work on “Project Maven” with the Pentagon (2018);
  • Diplomats from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Costa Rica who secured the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (2017) ;
  • 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);
  • General 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
  • Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).
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Mr. Ebrard and the government were nominated for their lawsuit against U.S. gun manufacturers and distributors that takes a novel approach to combat illicit weapons trafficking from the United States into Mexico that is fueling violence and criminal activity.

    Addressing the Disarmament Deficit

    Inside the Arms Control Association October 2021 This week (Oct. 24-29) marks United Nations Disarmament Week, which seeks to promote awareness and a better understanding of disarmament issues. The annual observance was first called for at the UN’s 1978 special session on disarmament. Since we were founded 50 years ago, the Arms Control Association has been a leading force pushing, prodding, and promoting effective action on arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament—every day of every week, every year. We’ve made a difference—but nuclear competition and global tensions are growing once...

    A Call for Changes to Outdated Nuclear Thinking

    Inside the Arms Control Association September 2021 As the Pentagon begins a major assessment of U.S. nuclear weapons policies and capabilities, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, the Arms Control Association and more than two dozen other nuclear experts and disarmament organizations are calling on President Biden “to effect significant and long-overdue changes in U.S. nuclear policy that would dramatically reduce the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons to our nation and the world.” In a detailed September 15 letter organized by the Arms Control Association and sent to the White...

    A Good Start, But Serious Challenges Lay Ahead

    Inside the Arms Control Association July 2021 For nearly a decade, the nuclear arms control and disarmament process has been at a standstill, spending on nuclear weapons has risen to obscene levels and competition between nuclear-armed states has been accelerating. As a result, the risk of nuclear war is increasing. In response, the Arms Control Association has been working to get the U.S. and other major powers to step back from the nuclear brink. We’re making some progress - even as we deal with an unexpected new challenge . At their June 16 summit, President Joe Biden and President...

    Biden and Putin Summit: A Chance to Move Back from the Brink

    This week’s summit meeting in Geneva is a pivotal opportunity for the leaders of the world’s two largest nuclear weapons possessors to reduce the growing risk of nuclear conflict and get back on track to reduce their bloated nuclear stockpiles. For months and weeks, we’ve been working hard to highlight and explain what can be done on strategic stability and arms control and to build political support for meaningful post-summit follow-through actions by President Biden and President Putin. Last week, our board chair Tom Countryman and I met with NSC staff at the White House and delivered a...

    Arms Control ‘David’ v Nuclear Lobby ‘Goliath’

    Since the Arms Control Association was founded in 1971, we have taken on some consequential issues. Despite being a small organization, we have been able to punch above our weight class and make a difference by catalyzing action, informing better policy decisions, and holding decision-makers accountable to reduce the dangers posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Now, we are in a battle with the powerful "ICBM Lobby" over the size and the scope of the proposed $1.7 trillion U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program. Bill Hartung writes in an article in the forthcoming issue of Arms...

    Pressing for Progress on Nonproliferation

    The Arms Control Association team remains in the thick of the debate over how and why the United States and Iran should return to compliance with the historic 2015 nuclear deal. Since President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions, Iran has retaliated by taking steps to ramp up its nuclear program and, in the process, has exceeded key limits set by the agreement. Both governments say they want to return to compliance, but they have not yet agreed as to how. With each passing day, the window of opportunity to avert a renewed nuclear crisis is narrowing. As I told...

    New Administration, New Congress, New Possibilities

    The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, already faces a daunting array of challenges left behind by his predecessor—including major decisions to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and proliferation that require prompt action. Biden’s national and foreign policy team, along with the new Congress, have an opportunity and a responsibility to restore U.S. global leadership to reduce the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons. Our new Arms Control Association report, Nuclear Challenges for the Biden Administration in the First 100 Days , written by our senior policy...

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