For Immediate Release: January 14, 2021
Media Contact: Tony Fleming, director for communications, 202-463-8270 ext. 110
(Washington, D.C.)—Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS) were selected as the 2020 Arms Control Persons of the Year through an online poll that drew participants from over 65 countries. The annual contest is organized by the independent, nongovernmental Arms Control Association.
Ambassador Jenkins and WCAPS were nominated for catalyzing support and action from leaders and practitioners in the national security and foreign policy communities to increase diversity into their ranks and boards of directors and pursue concrete steps to “root out institutional racism” in the governmental and non-governmental sectors in the field.
Following the wave of protests in 2020 against the police killings of George Floyd and other Black people, WCAPS organized a solidarity statement endorsed by leaders and individuals from 150 organizations and launched working groups to develop concrete strategies and tools to attack the problem.
"It is an honor to be selected for my work and for WCAPS, which represents the dedication of so many amazing individuals within the organization seeking to increase diversity and widen perspectives in the fields of peace, security, and conflict transformation," said Ambassador Jenkins upon being notified of the results.
"I am especially happy to know that a vision I had for many years to give a voice to people of color, particularly women of color, has been so welcome when I was not sure in 2017 what the reception would be for such an organization," she said. "Thank you, Arms Control Association for your many years of valued work in arms control and nonproliferation, and for promoting the importance of a multitude of perspectives for better policies."
Thomas Countryman, board chairman of the Arms Control Association remarked, “Any nation that shuts out more than half of its best minds from solving its most urgent issues condemns itself to second-rate solutions. Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins’ dedication will mean that we can have a national security apparatus that is not only diverse but also first-rate."
This year, six individuals and groups were nominated by the Arms Control Association staff and board of directors. All of the nominees demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing effective arms control solutions for the threats posed by mass casualty weapons during the course of 2020.
The runners-up was a group of Members of Congress who introduced legislation to prohibit funding for new U.S. nuclear tests and to establish a rigorous congressional approval and review process to guard against any unilateral move by the president to resume nuclear testing in the future in response to reports that the Trump administration was considering resuming U.S. nuclear testing for the first time in 28 years.
This 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.
Online voting was open from Dec. 22, 2020, until Jan. 13, 2021. A full list of the 2020 nominees is available online.
Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person(s) of the Year" were:
- Dr. Areg Danagoulian and colleagues at MIT (2019);
- 4,000 Anonymous Google Employees (2018);
- Diplomats from Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, and Costa Rica (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);
- 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).