2018 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year Nominees Announced

For Immediate Release: December 7, 2018

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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Since 2007, the Arms Control Association's staff and board of directors have nominated individuals and institutions that have advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons.

This year's nominees are listed below. Each nominee has, in their own way, provided leadership to help reduce weapons-related security threats during the past year.

Last year, more than 2,500 individuals from over 90 countries voted in the contest, the highest number of votes from the widest range of countries in the 10-year history of the contest. A full list of previous winners is available here.

Voting will take place on the Arms Control Association's website between December 7, 2018 and January 7, 2019. The results will be announced January 10, 2019.

The 2018 nominees are:
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in for promoting improved Inter-Korean relations and a renewed dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang on denuclearization and peace that has led to a number of significant steps to decrease tensions, including a North Korean moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear testing, a halt to U.S.-South Korean military exercises, and steps to avoid military incidents along the demilitarized zone that divides North Korea and South Korea.
  • European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, for her persistent efforts on behalf of the EU to ensure the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has verifiably blocked Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons, and to preserve legitimate trade with Iran after the Trump administration violated the agreement and reimposed sanctions.
  • California State Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for introducing the first statewide resolution on restricting presidential “first use” nuclear launch authority (AJR 30) to be approved by a State Assembly and Senate. Similar resolutions on the subject have been introduced in other state legislatures around the country this year, including in Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Vermont.
  • Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) for offering amendments during the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization and appropriations process to eliminate or condition funding to develop a low-yield warhead option for the U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile as proposed in the Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review. The lawmakers warned that the new warhead is unnecessary, could lead to unintended nuclear escalation, and could lower the threshold for nuclear use.
  • German Minister for Economic and Energy Affairs Peter Altmaier, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and Chancellor Angela Merkel for Germany’s initiative to cut off any new arms sales to Saudi Arabia and rescind approval for existing sales in response to Saudi Arabia’s role in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Since 2012, Germany has substantially reduced arms exports in response to human rights concerns the Saudi Arabia’s role in the war in Yemen.
  • A group of 4,000 anonymous Google employees for writing a letter to Google’s leadership opposing “Project Maven” a Google-Pentagon project using artificial intelligence (AI) which could be used to improve drone targeting. Due to the employees’ actions, Google ended its work on Project Maven when the contract expired and announced it would focus on “socially beneficial” AI and avoid work that causes “overall harm.”
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for launching a comprehensive, humanitarian-based United Nations Disarmament Agenda in May and for rolling-out an implementation plan in October. Guterres’ 87-page agenda encompasses 40 specific action items to take forward the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons and emerging methods of warfare.
  • Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in Geneva Michael Gaffey, Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations in Geneva Sabine Böhlke Möller, Director of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research Renata Dwan, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva Rosemary McCarney, and Founder/Executive Director of Women@TheTable Caitlin Kraft-Buchman for creating and co-chairing the International Gender Champions Disarmament Impact Group. The impact group developed specific aims for expanding knowledge about the importance of gender issues and practical actions for bringing gendered perspectives into disarmament discussions. The group identified priority actions and for engagement in 2018-2019.
  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for launching the “International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons” initiative in January to “name and shame” individuals connected to chemical weapons attacks. The French also contributed to winning approval in June from Chemical Weapons Convention states parties to grant the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons the authority to investigate and identify perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks.

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" include:  The disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Amb. Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica (2017)The government of Marshall Islands and its former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum (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).