Activities

Consortium Launches eLearning Course on Non-proliferation, Disarmament and EU Policies

The eLearning course “EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament” covers all relevant aspects of the EU non-proliferation and disarmament agenda. It aims to provide a comprehensive knowledge resource for practitioners and scholars interested in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, and EU policies in these fields. The course was designed, developed and launched by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium and funded […]

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The eLearning course “EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament” covers all relevant aspects of the EU non-proliferation and disarmament agenda.

It aims to provide a comprehensive knowledge resource for practitioners and scholars interested in arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, and EU policies in these fields. The course was designed, developed and launched by the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium and funded through the EU Council Decision CD 2014/129/CFSP of 10 March 2014. The course consists of 15 Learning Units covering both non-conventional and conventional weapons, and has an optional certificate section. 24 authors from 12 European countries and the EU contributed to the course, which represents an open educational resource for all interested users world-wide.

Visit nonproliferation-elearning.eu

EU Non-Proliferation and disarmament Internships

The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium will support 36 Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internships in European think tanks between 2018 and 2021 (see COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/299 of 26 February 2018). The duration of each internship shall be 3 month (13 weeks). All members of the European network of independent non-proliferation think-tanks are eligible as host institutes for […]

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The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium will support 36 Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internships in European think tanks between 2018 and 2021 (see COUNCIL DECISION (CFSP) 2018/299 of 26 February 2018).

The duration of each internship shall be 3 month (13 weeks). All members of the European network of independent non-proliferation think-tanks are eligible as host institutes for an EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament internship. For each internship the host institute will be granted 3,000 €. Interns – as a rule – are expected to cover their living and traveling costs by themselves. The EU Non-Proliferation Consortium can provide limited subsidies (500 € / month) for a limited number of students for the duration of the internship. Host institutes for an EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Internship must meet the following requirements:
  • Membership in the European network of independent non-proliferation think-tanks
  • Availability of office space / working place for intern
  • At least one expert specialized in non-proliferation or disarmament affairs and corresponding EU policies
  • At least one expert must have teaching / tutoring experience and serve as the general supervisor
For further details, please contact  Sophia Wenzel from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) Please note that this call is not directed to students, but to research institutes and think tanks only

Next Generation papers

At the end of their traineeship, the EU Non-Proliferation Consortium interns are invited to publish relevant papers they have had the opportunity to write during their internship. These articles being published on this website are under their sole responsibility. For further details, please contact Benjamin Hautecouverture from the Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (FRS): b.hautecouverture@frstrategie.org
 

UN Fellowships on Disarmament

  Credit: UN / Kim Haughton This project includes an annual 2- to 3-day Brussels study visit for the UN Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament, including a seminar with speakers from the Union institutions and experts from the Consortium network, and a field trip to relevant locations. The visit is scheduled to fit into the […]

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  [caption id="attachment_7755" align="alignnone" width="5605"] Credit: UN / Kim Haughton[/caption] This project includes an annual 2- to 3-day Brussels study visit for the UN Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament, including a seminar with speakers from the Union institutions and experts from the Consortium network, and a field trip to relevant locations. The visit is scheduled to fit into the European component of the fellowship programme. The UN Disarmament Fellows spend around 10 weeks travelling to meet relevant organisations in the field of non-proliferation and disarmament including in Geneva, Vienna, New York, China, South Korea and Japan. However, the Disarmament Fellows’ programme, which has now trained more than 1000 non-proliferation and disarmament practitioners, had not previously visited the European Union (EU) institutions in Brussels. As mandated by Council Decision (CDSP) 2018/299, the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) has been charged with organizing a three-day programme for the Fellows in Brussels to introduce them to the policies and functioning of the European Union. The first visit to Brussels took place from 15 to 18 September 2018 and included lectures by the European External Action Service, the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s International Cooperation and Development sector, a representative from the current Presidency of the European Council (Austria), EU Consortium network members and NATO. The program also featured visits to the House of European History and the European Parliament. For more information about this activity please contact VCDNP’s Office and Events Manager Mara Zarka, mzarka@vcdnp.orgmzarka@miis.edu.

The UN Disarmament Fellows’ Visit to Brussels

On 12-13 September 2019, the VCDNP organized for the second time a visit to the seat of the European policy organs in Brussels, Belgium, for the participants of the United Nations Programme of Fellowships on Disarmament. During the UN Disarmament Fellowship program, the participants spend about 10 weeks traveling to the centers of international disarmament and non-proliferation affairs, including Geneva, Vienna, The Hague, and New York, to learn more about the work of the international organizations and to gain a better understanding of disarmament and international security issues. The Fellows also visit a number of states, such as Kazakhstan, Japan, and Brazil, upon the invitation of those governments. [caption id="attachment_8426" align="alignnone" width="3988"] The 2019 UN Disarmament Fellows in the European Parliament.[/caption] Prior to Council Decision (CDSP) 2018/299, the Fellows had not visited the European Union institutions in Brussels. As a member of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPD Consortium) the VCDNP organises the Brussels visit as mandated by Council Decision (CDSP) 2018/299, in order to introduce the Fellows to the policies and functioning of the European Union (EU). On 12 September, the Fellows started their visit with a tour of the European Parliament, where they got acquainted with the structure and functions of EU’s main institutions and policy-making bodies. Later, at the Flemish Peace Institute, experts from the EUNPD Consortium and Network organizations gave thematic presentations and discussed with the Fellows issues related to export control regimes and EU policies, drivers of disarmament diplomacy, and the future of the non-proliferation regime. [caption id="attachment_8427" align="alignright" width="400"] Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament[/caption] EUNPD Consortium Chair Dr. Sybille Bauer also provided an overview of the Consortium history, structure, goals, and activities. Director of the NATO Arms Control, Disarmament and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre William Alberque briefed the Fellows on the structure and functions of NATO, the Organization’s activities in arms control and non-proliferation, and cooperation with the EU in these areas. On 13 September, the Disarmament Fellows visited the European External Action Service (EEAS) to learn about the work of European Union’s diplomatic service in various international security areas. Mr. Jacek Bylica, Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, welcomed the Fellows and provided an overview of the EEAS’ history and role in helping implement the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy with regard to arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation matters. Following Ambassador Bylica’s remarks, EEAS, European Council, the Council of the EU, and European Commission experts from different committees and offices discussed with the Fellows a broad range of issues, including the EU’s work on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the EU Joint Research Centre, conventional weapons controls, space policy, and new challenges in cybersecurity. The Fellows also were given the opportunity to visit the Europa Building, the main seat of the European Council and the Council of the EU. During the discussions in Brussels, the Disarmament Fellows asked astute questions and engaged actively in the substantive material presented by all the speakers. The VCDNP would like to extend its gratitude to the Flemish Peace Institute and EEAS for their generous support and cooperation in organizing this visit. [caption id="attachment_8428" align="alignnone" width="3256"] The 2019 UN Disarmament Fellows in the European Council room of the Europa Building.[/caption]

Short Course on The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: History, Threats and Solutions

On 19-21 February 2020, the VCDNP held the first course on nuclear non-proliferation for graduate and post-graduate students in the fields of IT and engineering, titled “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: History, Threats and Solutions”. The course represented a joint project between the VCDNP and the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC), of which the VCDNP is […]

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On 19-21 February 2020, the VCDNP held the first course on nuclear non-proliferation for graduate and post-graduate students in the fields of IT and engineering, titled “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: History, Threats and Solutions”. The course represented a joint project between the VCDNP and the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC), of which the VCDNP is one of six leading non-governmental organizations. The course brought together 26 participants from nine European universities in nine countries. [caption id="attachment_10381" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Course instructors Alexi Drew (King’s College London), Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (VCDNP), Sibylle Bauer (SIPRI), Elena Sokova (VCDNP) and Jean-Maurice Crete (IAEA, retired) during the course’s final session on “Nuclear Proliferation, New Technologies, and the Shape of the Future[/caption] The three-day course was designed to provide an introduction to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament issues to students of technical subjects. The program covered a broad range of topics, from the fundamentals of the nuclear fuel cycle and the history of the spread of nuclear weapons, to export controls and the challenges and opportunities presented by advanced and emerging technologies. The students learned about different elements of the international non-proliferation regime, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its safeguards, and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the verification system it establishes. Course participants also received an overview of how open source information and tools, including satellite imagery and image analysis software, can be used to monitor nuclear and missile programs such as that of North Korea. The lecturers at the course included experts from the VCDNP, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, IAEA, CTBTO, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, King’s College London and Austrian Red Cross. [caption id="attachment_10382" align="aligncenter" width="619"] Course instructors Alexi Drew (King’s College London), Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (VCDNP), Sibylle Bauer (SIPRI), Elena Sokova (VCDNP) and Jean-Maurice Crete (IAEA, retired) during the course’s final session on “Nuclear Proliferation, New Technologies, and the Shape of the Future[/caption]

Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament: Changes in the Field and Career Tracks

The Initiative encourages young women and the next generation to enter the non‑proliferation, arms control, and disarmament field, especially at a time in which the global pandemic has isolated many young people who may find themselves lacking resources and assistance.

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The fields of arms control, non-proliferation and security have been dominated by men. Though improvements have been made over the last decade, diversity is still lacking in terms of gender, color, and age. This observation is the driving force behind the Young Women and Next Generation Initiative (YWNGI) launched on 10 February 2021 by the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) and the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in Rome, Italy, in the framework of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium. The Initiative encourages young women and the next generation to enter the non‑proliferation, arms control, and disarmament field, especially at a time in which the global pandemic has isolated many young people who may find themselves lacking resources and assistance. In this spirit, the launch event featured a spectacular panel of speakers from different backgrounds including Angela Kane, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ambassador Kjersti Andersen of Norway, Dr. Kim Baines, a scientist at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Dr. Heather Williams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. IAI’s Researcher Federica Dall’Arche moderated the event and VCDNP Executive Director Elena Sokova offered welcoming remarks. The event attracted over 350 attendees highlighting the appetite to learn more and engage in the field.
L-R: Federica Dall’Arche (IAI), Dr. Kim Baines: (IAEA), Elena Sokova (VCDNP), Dr. Heather Williams (MIT), Ambassador Kjersti Andersen (Norway), Angela Kane (VCDNP).
The speakers addressed how the non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament field has changed over the years and provided insights into their own experiences in the field as well as offered recommendations for the next generation. Coming from diverse backgrounds, the speakers drew on experiences in the UN, government, natural sciences, and academia, emphasizing the diversity of the field itself and highlighting that there are many different pathways to enter the non-proliferation, arms control, and disarmament area. In her opening remarks, Angela Kane stressed that to make a difference in the field it is not necessary to have a background specifically on arms control and non-proliferation and encouraged the next generation to think of the field with a wider lens focused on international policy and security. In reflecting on how the field has changed over the years, speakers noted that the representation of women has seen an improvement, with many panellists noting that at the start of their careers it was not rare to be the only women in a room full of men. Despite the improvement, however, Ambassador Andersen highlighted that “once you have gender parity within an organization you need to keep working on it because it is never achieved once and for all.” Dr. Baines also personally expressed excitement on “the paradigm shift that has been occurring over the last five years to be inclusive of women in technical and political disciplines.” This shift is also supported by the IAEA’s newly established Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme. Panellists also offered insights and recommendations to early- to mid-career individuals. There was consensus among the panellists on the need to accept challenges, to reach out to colleagues and other experts, to build a network, and follow one’s passion. Caution was expressed in terms of networking though, noting that one needs to be conscientious of others time, and though many in the field are happy to help, such networking effort must be done with a purpose or question in mind. In this regard Dr. Heather Williams stressed the importance of being someone that other people want to work and network with, as the arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament field is a community and most people know each other and collaborate with one another. Many participants were keen to learn of opportunities and recommendations for what they could actively be doing during the pandemic and beyond, especially as the implications of COVID-19 on the job market remain to be seen. Panellists provided plenty of ideas, including the importance of writing and publishing as it shows willingness to take intellectual risks. Speakers also stressed the need to invest in one’s skills, such as presentation skills, languages and intellectual curiosity in other fields of study. One way to expand one’s knowledge is through courses, traineeships, internships and mentorships, such as those offered by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), King’s College London, Women in Nuclear, country embassies and permanent missions, and international organisations. The event ended with an anecdote shared by Angela Kane emphasizing the importance of women needing to support one another in a still largely male dominated field. One way to do this is by promoting and establishing an advocacy network or group of like-minded individuals to make a statement that could lead to change. More events like this one will be organized and the VCDNP and IAI look forward to connecting and making use of the virtual format with which we are now familiar. To learn more about VCDNP and IAI’s initiative and mentorship programme or email mzarka@middlebury.edu or f.dallarche@iai.it.

February 2021 Introductory Course on the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

From 22 to 26 February 2021, the VCDNP held its first intensive introductory course on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) for students of biological and chemical sciences. The course, conducted in an online format, brought together 29 students affiliated with eight European universities as well as universities in Nigeria, the Philippines, and […]

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From 22 to 26 February 2021, the VCDNP held its first intensive introductory course on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) for students of biological and chemical sciences. The course, conducted in an online format, brought together 29 students affiliated with eight European universities as well as universities in Nigeria, the Philippines, and Russia. Women made up 59 percent of the participants. The course covered a broad range of topics and was designed to provide an   overview of the basics of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons and their proliferation, existing control regimes, and potential impact of new and emerging technologies on WMD threats. Students learned about various elements of the international WMD disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, including the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), as well as strategic trade controls. Course sessions also provided an in-depth look at the advances in life sciences and their implications for chemical and biological weapon threats. The programme included case studies on biosecurity and ethics, nuclear proliferation challenges, and investigation of chemical weapons use and dismantlement of a chemical weapons arsenal. [caption id="attachment_10536" align="aligncenter" width="468"] VCDNP Senior Fellow Angela Kane participating in the session dedicated to a case study on Syria’s chemical weapons program.[/caption] A panel discussion on new and emerging technologies featuring Dr. Filippa Lentzos (King’s College London), Dr. Ulrich Kühn (IFSH), and Dr. James Revill (UNIDIR) allowed for a candid exchange of opinions concerning the threats and opportunities these technologies present for mitigating WMD risks. [caption id="attachment_10537" align="aligncenter" width="1530"] Filippa Lentzos (King’s College London), Ulrich Kühn (IFSH), and Dr. James Revill (UNIDIR) discussion new and emerging technologies and WMD threats.[/caption] Experts and senior officials from international organisations and academic institutions that presented at the course included Dr. Sibylle Bauer (SIPRI), Daniel Feakes (BWC Implementation Support Unit), Dr. Mirko Himmel (University of Hamburg), Dr. Peter Hotchkiss (OPCW), Dr. Ulrich Kühn (IFSH), Dr. Filippa Lentzos (King’s College London), Dr. James Revill (UNIDIR), Dr. Clarissa Rios Rojas (Cambridge University), Shruti Sharma (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, India), and Jerry Smith (CHC Global, former OPCW Team Leader). The VCDNP lecturers included Angela Kane, Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, and Elena Sokova. Women made up 54 percent of the lecturers. [caption id="attachment_10538" align="aligncenter" width="624"] Dr. Sibylle Bauer and Dr. Mirko Himmel give an overview of Strategic Trade Controls.[/caption] [embeddoc url="https://www.nonproliferation.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/2021-Feb-Intro-to-WMD-Course-Programme.pdf" download="all" viewer="google"] At the end of the course, the participants completed a questionnaire, which gave them an opportunity to assess various aspects of the short course and anonymously provide feedback. Overall, the participants rated the course as an excellent contribution to their knowledge and understanding of issues related to WMD proliferation risks. Below are some of the comments provided by participants (quoted as written): It introduced me to the world of non-proliferation and how important it is for our world. It also helped me understand all the mechanism[s] that are necessary to implement the controls and the tough job behind all of this. *** As an undergraduate student, it is very rare that we are taught about the ethical side of what we are doing. Recently there have been some improvements in teaching about sustainability concerns, but this course has been basically the only formal education on security threats that our research may pose. I would say that I have learned a lot on the matter, and that I now have a base and some pointers to continue my education in this topic. *** This course offered me a complete picture of all weapons of mass destruction but also of possible future risks. Amazing speakers and wonderful presentation of all key points. *** Thank you for having this course for students with science background. This course will greatly help us understand that there is more that science can offer in terms of international peace, security and stability. The VCDNP extends its gratitude to the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium for their generous support that made this course possible. The course was funded by the European Union through the EUNPDC pursuant to the EU Council Decision 2018/299.

EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Next Generation Follow-Up Meeting

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently few opportunities for the next generation to meet around the world and think together about the great challenges of our times. With these words, Elena Sokova, Executive Director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), opened the 2021 EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Next Generation […]

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Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently few opportunities for the next generation to meet around the world and think together about the great challenges of our times. With these words, Elena Sokova, Executive Director of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), opened the 2021 EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Next Generation Follow-Up Meeting. The event – jointly organized by the VCDNP and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) within the framework of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium – follows the Next Generation Workshop on non-proliferation and disarmament, an initiative held annually that brings together outstanding young scholars, students and professionals to present fresh ideas and solutions to current non-proliferation and disarmament challenges. As stressed by Ettore Greco, Executive Vice President of IAI, it is essential to substantially involve the younger generation on these issues in order to not only identify gaps and barriers in the existing policies, but also to let fresh ideas and new perspectives help to promote innovative forms of cooperation in an era of daunting challenges for multilateralism. Under the same auspices, the Young Women in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Mentorship Programme was launched during the same week. The meeting was attended by more than 120 participants, including women and girls from all over the world and with the most diverse backgrounds. The event was organised in two tracks. The first track was highly informative, during which two prominent experts addressed respectively biosecurity challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the most current cybersecurity concerns in relation to non-proliferation. The second track of the event was dedicated to networking. Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has left many young individuals isolated and detached from ongoing activities and has severely limited academic exchanges and training opportunities, the goal of the second track was to provide a framework for young people to meet, exchange ideas and promote their work.

VIEW THE MEETING AGENDA

The Impact of COVID-19 and other Bio-Security Challenges

The first topic was addressed by Dr. Filippa Lentzos, Senior Research Fellow at the King’s College London. As pointed by Federica Dall’Arche, Researcher at IAI and moderator of the panel, the topic was particularly timely due to recent discussions on the origin of the virus. In order to reach an assessment of the health and societal impacts caused by COVID-19, Dr. Lentzos walked the participants through an accurate and anguished timeline of the pandemic stressing, in particular, the evolution of the Chinese government’s narrative on the spread of the virus, the role of the World Health Organization and the progressive recognition of the modalities of human-to-human transmission. As the pandemic escalated, however, many questions remain unanswered, according to Dr. Lentzos. The direct impact of the virus on health is still poorly understood and the extent of the indirect and long-term consequences will only fully emerge with time. The enormous socioeconomic effects of the virus, however, are already clear. Dr. Lentzos noted how the virus led to the disappearance of 225 million full-time jobs around the world and has exacerbated long-standing economic, racial and gender divides. Women, in particular, are paying the highest price, comprising 70% of global health and social care personnel. In addition to the consequently increased exposure to risk, women are also victims of what UN Women has called “the shadow pandemic,” i.e. a worrying increase in gender-based violence and domestic violence.
The effects of the pandemic still remain at least partially unknown, and this is even more true for its origin. As essential as it is to reconstruct a clear picture of what happened to reduce the risk of the introduction of new viruses to the human population, we still know little about the time, place and causes that led to the break out of COVID-19. “What should have been a routine science question,” Dr. Lentzos argued, “has instead become extremely politically charged.” In early April 2021, a WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 released a study listing four different possibilities on the origins of the outbreak of the pandemic. The first hypothesis listed is that the virus jumped from an animal directly to a human; the second, that the virus jumped from an animal to an intermediate host and then to a human; the third hypothesis is that the virus was imported to China via frozen food; the last hypothesis is that it spread because of a lab leak. While, according to the report, the second theory seems to be the most likely, the joint nature of the report raises significant doubts on its mandate and independence. The lack of adequately grounded evidence to favour one hypothesis over another is also a cause of particular concern, according to Dr. Lentzos. Yet, understanding the origin of COVID-19 would be essential to strategise on how to prepare for future pandemics. Dr. Lentzos concluded her remarks noting that biological threats are not limited to the current pandemic. Among other risks, she included: the potential accidents in biosafety laboratories, noting that many laboratories are currently under-monitored and under-regulated; deliberate biothreats caused by a growing technical capacity to modify pathogen and transfer them to the human body; and biological information warfare possibly targeting specific individuals or groups. Remarkably, the effects of biological information warfare are substantially indifferent from those of real, internationally prohibited biological warfare. This makes disarmament efforts particularly difficult.

Cyber Security and Implications for Non-Proliferation

The relevance of cyber security, as reminded by Mara Zarka, Project/Events Manager and Research Associate at the VCDNP and moderator of the second panel, has recently been brought into the spotlight because of the alleged cyberattack to the Natanz nuclear plant in Iran. Although cybersecurity has been on the policymaking eye for over a decade, these events show that the answers we have come up with still remain largely unsatisfactory. According to Dr. Alexi Drew, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Policy Institute at King’s College London, “most of the cyber issues that we see in international security arise out of a lingering series of misperceptions about what cyber security actually is, and who does it.” The actors involved are indeed changing rapidly with drastic consequences within the arms control arena. What was traditionally negotiated between States and within international institutions, is now addressed in far more complex negations because of the growing role of the so-called cyber emerging technologies. As a consequence, continued Dr. Drew, today private industries are the new predominant group of actors shaping the cybersecurity field, with a variable role left to the States. Remarkably, both private actors and States are increasingly aware of the new balance of power and of who can really set the standards. Cutting-edge technology is no longer directed solely by States’ interests, with enormous consequences on international governance dynamics. In fact, according to Dr. Drew, while technology might seem neutral and apolitical, it is the result of ethical and political choices. The kind of decisions now happening are about the importance of privacy in next generation technologies and algorithms, or about how domestic and international standards should be set. And these standards are increasingly set by private actors. Another crucial and often underestimated aspect of cyber security has to do with supply chains that contribute to creating broader attack surfaces, linking private and public digital infrastructures. However, as Dr. Drew explained, not everything that takes place in the cyber space can or should be considered as a form of warfare. In the large majority of cases, it is about cyber espionage, never intended to cause physical damage. This difference is widespread and yet difficult to explain, since it is incidents such as the one that happened at the Natanz nuclear plant – actually intended to cause physical damage – that make the headlines. The consequent general failure in grasping these nuances between espionage and attacks remains one of the main barriers to effective policymaking on cybersecurity. The key of the instability risk that should be addressed by cybersecurity is indeed the possibility of escalation due to lack of knowledge, resulting from a deliberate policy on the side of both States and institutions involved in a cyber event. For instance, NATO members have never defined the standard beyond which a cyber incident can be considered a full-fledged attack, thus expanding the deterrent potential. However, this makes it hard to establish where the line is and represents a critical risk of escalation or “splash effect.” Dr. Drew concluded her remarks noting that cyber capabilities are rapidly proliferating, both in terms of defence and attack capabilities.

Networking session

During this session, participants were divided in groups and provided with ice-breaking questions. The discussion in the different groups covered both the main pressing challenges to non-proliferation and disarmament as well as ways in which the EUNPDC and its members could do to better engage the next generation and young women in the field.

READ TAKEAWAYS FROM THE NETWORKING SESSION

The European Union’s Role in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament and Its Engagement with Academia and The Younger Generation

On 29 April 2021, as part of the Young Women and Next Generation Initiative (YWNGI), the VCDNP and the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in Rome, Italy, with the support of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC), organized the second public outreach event focused on the EU and its policies on non-proliferation and disarmament, as well […]

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On 29 April 2021, as part of the Young Women and Next Generation Initiative (YWNGI), the VCDNP and the International Affairs Institute (IAI) in Rome, Italy, with the support of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium (EUNPDC), organized the second public outreach event focused on the EU and its policies on non-proliferation and disarmament, as well as its engagement with academia and the younger generation. The panellists included former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice‑President of the European Commission, Rector of the College of Europe, Federica Mogherini, Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Ambassador Marjolijn van Deelen, and the EUNPDC Chair, Dr. Sibylle Bauer. IAI’s Executive Vice President Ettore Greco provided welcome remarks and VCDNP’s Executive Director Elena Sokova moderated the session. Over 300 individuals attended the event, including many of the Young Women in Non‑Proliferation and Disarmament Mentorship Programme participants and other EUNPDC next generation conference and training course individuals. The high level of interest demonstrates the strong need for these discussions and opportunities to interact.
Ms. Federica Mogherini
Federica Mogherini shared her experience working as the former High Representative, highlighting the role her team played in 2015 in the final months of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiations with Iran. Stressing that negotiations on the JCPOA are again taking place in Vienna, Austria, Rector Mogherini noted the crucial role of the EU in maintaining and monitoring the agreement, despite the US’s withdrawal in 2018. The EU had a unique role to play in the negotiations as it served as the facilitator and the depository for the text of the agreement. The EU also conducted a fair amount of detailed, technical work on the agreement to make sure nothing was left to interpretation, especially regarding sanctions related issues and nuclear commitments. The facilitator role provided the EU with the institutional basis to reach out to the other parties to the JCPOA after the US withdrew, to ensure that the agreement was preserved and monitored. According to Rector Mogherini, the EU has a role to play in non‑proliferation and disarmament, especially given Europe’s history and experience of devastation when arms control fell short, emphasizing that the EU should become champions in solidifying the international community’s reliability in arms control, non‑proliferation and disarmament infrastructures and regimes.
Ambassador Marjolijn van Deelen
Supporting arms control architecture and treaties, strengthening multilateral institutions, and supporting third countries in developing their arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament architecture is at the core of the EU’s non-proliferation and disarmament strategy. Ambassador Marjolijn van Deelen highlighted that the EU is committed to strengthening the international security environment and recognizes that it cannot tackle global challenges, like those posed by proliferation risks, alone. The EU has multiple institutions focused on non-proliferation and disarmament ranging from the EEAS, which serves as the EU’s diplomatic service, to the EU Commission which manages the EU’s policies on dual-use export controls and the EU Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Risk Mitigation Centres of Excellence, to the Joint Research Centre focused on technical issues related to disarmament verification. Nuclear safeguards in the EU are implemented by EURATOM that also provides valuable expertise on international safeguards development to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and EEAS office. In international fora the EU is active in taking common positions in support of existing treaties, encouraging other States to accede to treaties they are not yet party to, and supporting institutions, like the IAEA and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, that support these treaties. The EU strongly believes in the powers of multilateral diplomacy to resolve problems peacefully and is devoted to ensuring the international system is fit for purpose. To do this, the EU works closely in partnership with other institutions and academia.
Dr. Sibylle Bauer
The European network of independent non-proliferation and disarmament think tanks, was established in 2010 with the full support of all EU Member States to contribute to independent research and education activities in non-proliferation and disarmament. Dr. Sibylle Bauer shared with the audience the make-up of the Network, comprised of over 100 members, and of the Consortium that coordinates its activities . Dr. Bauer also talked about the various activities, of which the YWNGI is included, that the Consortium implements with the support of the EU. Importantly, it was emphasized that the EUNPDC focuses on a wide range of issues in non-proliferation and disarmament, ranging from nuclear, to conventional, to biological, to outer space and emerging technologies. It was also stressed that the EUNPDC is not limited to institutions in EU Member States but also includes members from third countries outside the EU. For more information on the EUNPDC and its activities please consult the nonproliferation.eu website. The prepared remarks were followed by a second round of questions seeking panellists’ advice for young women and the next generation interested in entering the field of arms control, non‑proliferation and disarmament. Rector Mogherini emphasized the importance of leading by example, noting that the EU delegation sometimes was only composed of women whereas their interlocuters were solely comprised of men. She also noted that to really address the imbalances in the field, it is important to start with academia and the curricula they encourage their students to follow. The panellists all agreed on a strong list of seven skills and qualities for both professional and personal growth presented by Dr. Sibylle Bauer:
  1. Clear thinking and solid analysis;
  2. Excellence;
  3. Commitment;
  4. Authenticity;
  5. Integrity;
  6. Empathy, in which active listening and really caring was stressed; and
  7. Creative Problem Solving.
“What also is really important, I think, is to help others not just get a foot in the door but then to help them stay in the field and climb up.” – Sibylle Bauer
Adding to this list, other panellists emphasized the importance of working in teams, indicating that every role in a team is important and no one role should be perceived as any more or less significant.
“You need a mix of people that have different competences and when you put those together you can be much stronger.” – Marjolijn van Deelen
There was resounding agreement that passion and interest in what one is doing is the best guide to navigating one’s career. Also, the panellists encouraged participants to not be afraid to try new things and to be willing to go into depth on topics that may not fall within their educational background, whether it be more policy-oriented or technical.
“I think passion in what you are doing is the only thing that really counts.” – Federica Mogherini
Some highlights from the question-and-answer session include insights into the difficulties in forming a common position in the EU, noting the diversity of the group and the need for fierce, internal debates. Once a common position or statement has been agreed, it serves as an umbrella under which other like-minded countries can align themselves. All speakers stressed that given the divergent views within the EU, when a common position has been adopted, especially on controversial matters, it is a powerful statement that can offer hope to the larger international community and refocus energy on where agreement exists, and action can be taken.

Do You Aspire to Work at an International Organization? Tips and Insights for Young Professionals.

The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) cordially invites you to attend a virtual event for young professionals and students interested in working at and engaging with international  organisations in Vienna, which will be held on Monday, 6 September 2021 from 15:00 to 16:30 Central European Summer Time (CEST) via Zoom. For those unable to access Zoom, the event will […]

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The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) cordially invites you to attend a virtual event for young professionals and students interested in working at and engaging with international  organisations in Vienna, which will be held on Monday, 6 September 2021 from 15:00 to 16:30 Central European Summer Time (CEST) via Zoom. For those unable to access Zoom, the event will also be livestreamed to YouTube. What skills and competencies do international organisations look for in the recruitment process? How can you best prepare yourself for a career as an international civil servant? How does the application process work and how best to prepare for an interview? What pathways exist to internships, training and capacity building programmes and other opportunities? Representatives from three international organisations in Vienna – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization (CTBTO), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – will speak to these questions and more during this event. The event will be held as a part of the Young Women and Next Generation Initiative in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, led by the VCDNP and the Istituto Affari Internazionali with the support of the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium. Speakers: Mr. Pedro Álvarez Cobacho, Recruitment Officer, IAEA Ms. Maria Chepurina, External Relations Officer, CTBTO Ms. Monika Ivic, Talent Acquisition Assistant, OSCE The discussion will be moderated by Elena K. Sokova, Executive Director of the VCDNP and an International Gender Champion, Vienna Hub. The opinions/views expressed by the speakers in the event do not necessarily reflect the opinions/views of the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation or its employees.

Registration and Questions

We kindly ask you to RSVP using the online registration form. By registering for this event you acknowledge and agree to the VCDNP Responsible & Respectful Behavior Policy.