Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation

VCDNP (Austria)

The Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) is an international non-governmental organization established on the initiative of the Austrian Foreign Ministry in 2010 and officially opened in 2011. The Center’s mission is to promote international peace and security by providing a platform for independent analysis and dialogue in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In order to fulfill its mission, the VCDNP employs conferences, seminars, and other fora to foster results-oriented discussion among international organizations, national governments, non-governmental experts, scholars and civil society. The Center partners with other academic and non-governmental institutions as well as international organizations in conducting research, outreach, education and training on non-proliferation and disarmament. The VCDNP is operated by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Contact information

Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP)

Andromeda Tower
Floor 13/1
1220 Vienna

Tel: +43 (1) 236 94 82




Point of contact

Laura Rockwood

The team

NameResumeSpeciality/Research Focus
Laura Rockwood

Executive Director

Laura Rockwood was appointed as Executive Director of the VCDNP in June 2015. Prior to that, she was a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School Belfer Center Managing the Atom Project. Ms. Rockwood retired in November 2013 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the Section Head for Non-Proliferation and Policy Making in the Office of Legal Affairs, where she had served since 1985. At the IAEA, she was responsible for she was responsible for all legal aspects of the negotiation, interpretation and implementation of IAEA safeguards. Prior to working for the IAEA, she was employed by the US Department of Energy as a trial attorney in radiation injury cases and as counsel in general legal matters.IAEA Safeguards; Nuclear non-proliferation; Disarmament verification; Education and training in nuclear non-proliferation and IAEA safeguards
Angela Kane

Senior Fellow

Before joining the Center, Ms. Kane served as the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs until mid-2015. She was responsible for planning, negotiating and conducting the groundbreaking investigation of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria in 2013, which resulted in Syria’s destruction of its chemical stockpiles. Ms. Kane served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at the UN (2008-2012). Ms. Kane was also responsible for Political Affairs as UN Assistant Secretary-General and served as the Assistant Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management. Her field experience includes Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and also in Indonesia and Thailand.Peace operations and disarmament; Political relations and negotiations; Multilateralism
Ian Stewart

Director, European Non-Proliferation and Security Initiative

Mr. Stewart works also as a Senior Research Associate at King’s Collage London, where he runs Project Alpha, a project focused on export control and sanctions issues. Presently, he is the Training Adviser for the consortium implementing the EU P2P programme on dual-use goods. Mr. Stewart worked with the UK Ministry of Defense where he held a number of positions related to nuclear technology and non-proliferation matters. He was also a Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in 2010.Export controls and sanctions; Non-proliferation
Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova

Director, International Organisations & Non-Proliferation Program

Ms. Mukhatzhanova worked previously as Senior Research Associate and NPT Project Manager at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). She served as an expert on the delegation of Kazakhstan to the 2010 NPT Review Conference and the delegation of Chile to the 2015 NPT Review Conference. She has taught workshops and courses on Iran’s nuclear program and on nuclear proliferation trends and trigger events at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (MIIS). Prior to joining CNS, she was a Media and Outreach Specialist at the UN Development Programme in Kazakhstan.Multilateral non-proliferation regimes; International non-proliferation and disarmament negotiations and the role of coalitions; Nuclear politics of the Non-Aligned Movement; Nuclear-Weapon-free zones; Iran’s nuclear program and proliferation theory
Ingrid Kirsten

Senior Research Associate

Before joining the VCDNP, Ms. Kirsten spent 20 years as a diplomat for the Republic of South Africa, including a posting at the South African Embassy and Permanent Mission in Austria. She has also worked as researcher at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and managed stakeholder relations for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS). Her current focus is the nexus between technical cooperation in nuclear energy and nuclear security, as well as the role of the IAEA.


International relations in agriculture and food security; Peaceful uses of nuclear energy and nuclear technology; Nuclear and conventional arms control.
Artem Lazarev

Research Associate

Prior to the joining the VCDNP, Mr. Lazarev completed an internship at the Office of Legal Affairs of the International Energy Agency dealing with the legal aspects of nuclear safety, security and liability. He also worked as a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights and held several other legal posts in Russia and Spain. Mr. Lazarev completed his PhD in International Law from the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain) in September 2017. His dissertation focused on the evolution of the legal aspects of the IAEA safeguards and their application to Iran.IAEA Safeguards; Legal Aspects of Non-proliferation; Nuclear Security
Noah Mayhew

Research Associate

Mr. Mayhew is a member of the first graduating class in the dual master’s degree programme in nonproliferation studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). His thesis addressed US-Soviet and US-Russian policy with regard to the nuclear programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Prior to joining the VCDNP, he completed an internship with the IAEA’s Office of Public Information and Communication.US-Russian relations in the spheres of non-proliferation and arms control; History and modern considerations of nuclear negotiations with the DPRK; Modern use of chemical weapons.
Mara Pfneisl

Office and Events Manager

Prior to joining VCDNP, Ms. Pfneisl completed an internship at the International Peace Institute, Vienna Office, where she assisted in organizing the 43rd annual IPI Vienna Seminar focusing on the dangerous nexus between crime, conflict and terrorism. She also gained experience interning at the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization at the United Nations in Vienna and working on local political campaigns in the United States.  She holds a Masters from the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.