Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is an
international organizationthat brings together scholars and public figures to work toward reducing the danger of armed conflictand to seek solutions to global securitythreats. It was founded in 1957 by Joseph Rotblatand Bertrand Russellin Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, following the release of the Russell-Einstein Manifestoin 1955.
Pugwash and Rotblat jointly won the
Nobel Peace Prizein 1995 for efforts on nuclear disarmament. International Student/Young Pugwashgroups have existed since 1979.
Origin of the Pugwash Conferences
The Russell-Einstein Manifesto, released
July 9, 1955, called for a conference for scientists to assess the dangers of weapons of mass destruction(then only considered to be nuclear weapons). Cyrus Eaton, a Canadian industrialist who had known Russell since 1938, offered on July 13to finance the conference in his hometown of Pugwash, Nova Scotia. This was not taken up at the time because a meeting was planned for India, at the invitation of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. With the outbreak of the Suez Crisisthe Indian conference was postponed. Aristotle Onassisoffered to finance a meeting in Monacoinstead, but this was rejected. Eaton's former invitation was taken up.
The first conference was held in July 1957 in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, hence the organization's name. It was organized by Joseph Rotblat, who served as secretary-general of the organization from its inception until 1973. The Russell-Einstein Manifesto became the Pugwash Conferences' founding charter.
Twenty-two scientists attended the first conference:
*seven from the
USA( David F. Cavers, Paul Doty, Hermann J. Muller, Eugene Rabinowitch, Walter Selove, Leó Szilárd, Victor F. Weisskopf)
*three from the
Soviet Union( Alexander M. Kuzin, Dmitri V. Skobeltzyn, Alexander V. Topchiev)
Japan( Iwao Ogawa, Shinichiro Tomonaga, Hideki Yukawa)
*two from the UK (Cecil F. Powell,
Canada( George Brock Chisholm, John S. Foster)
*one each from
Australia(Mark L. E. Oliphant), Austria( Hans Thirring), China( Chou Pei-Yuan), France( Antoine M. B. Lacassagne) and Poland( Marian Danysz). Cyrus Eaton, Eric Burhop, whom Eaton had requested be invited, and Vladimir Pavlichenko also were present. Many others were unable to attend, including co-founder Bertrand Russell, for health reasons.
Officers include the president, secretary-general and executive director. Formal governance is provided by the twenty-eight-person Pugwash Council, which serves for five years. There is also a six-member executive committee that assists the secretary-general.
Jayantha Dhanapalais the current president.
The four Pugwash offices, in
Rome, London, Geneva, and Washington D.C., provide support for Pugwash activities and serve as liaisons to the United Nationsand other international organizations.
There are more than forty national Pugwash groups, organized as independent entities and often supported or administered by national academies of science.
International Student/Young Pugwashgroups works with, but are independent from, the international Pugwash group.
Contributions to international security
Pugwash's first fifteen years coincided with the
Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Vietnam War. Pugwash played a useful role in opening communication channels during a time of otherwise-strained official and unofficial relations. It provided background work to the Partial Test Ban Treaty(1963), the Non-Proliferation Treaty(1968), the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty(1972), the Biological Weapons Convention(1972), and the Chemical Weapons Convention(1993). Mikhail Gorbachevadmitted the influence of the organisation on him when he was leader of the Soviet Union.
As international relations thawed and, as more unofficial communication channels appeared, Pugwash's visibility decreased, but still remained important in arms-control issues of the day: European nuclear forces, chemical and biological weaponry,
space weapons, conventional force reductions and restructuring, and crisis control in the Third World. Pugwash's focus also has expanded to include issues of development and the environment.
Nobel Peace Prize
In 1995, fifty years after the bombing of Nagasaki and
Hiroshima, and forth years after the signing of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, the Pugwash Conferences and Joseph Rotblat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prizejointly:"for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and, in the longer run, to eliminate such arms".
The Norwegian Nobel committee hoped that awarding the prize to Rotblat and Pugwash would :"encourage world leaders to intensify their efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons".
In his acceptance speech, Rotblat quoted a key phrase from the Manifesto::"Remember your humanity".
There are more than 3500 "Pugwashites" world-wide, individuals who have attended a Pugwash meeting and thus, are considered associated with Pugwash. Some of these include:
*Michael Francis Atiyah
Bernard T. Feld
Luis E. Miramontes
Ana Maria Cetto
John Charles Polanyi
Isidor Isaac Rabi
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky
Paul M. Doty
Student Pugwash USA
International Student/Young Pugwash
* [http://www.pugwash.org/ Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs]
* [http://www.pugwash.ru/?__variant=12 Russian Pugwash Committee]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=j1SMe41cDSI April 2007 Youtube video of Canadian Pugwash]
* [http://www.pugwash.org/about/conference.htm The First Pugwash Conference] .
* [http://nobelprize.org/peace/laureates/1995/ The Nobel Peace Prize, 1995] .
* [http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/infodocs/people/pp-rotblat1.html Profile of Joseph Rotblat]
* [http://www.physicstoday.org/pt/vol-54/iss-6/p50.html "The Early Days of Pugwash"] , by Joseph Rotblat in "Physics Today", June 2001.
* [http://www.ciaonet.org/conf/nya02/nya02aa.html "Pugwash And The International Treaties On Chemical And Biological Warfare"] , by J.P. Perry Robinson.
* [http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/3778/index.html Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs] (Rome, through 1996 only)
*J. Rotblat, Scientists in the Quest for Peace: A history of the Pugwash Conferences, MIT Press,1972.
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