Convening a Second Track for Disarmament Diplomacy
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams delivering keynote address at the 2014 Disarmament Forum at Pace University New York City. Photo credit: Control Arms
For the latest news and updates on the International Disarmament Institute’s convening activities, visit our news site.
Given the New York City campus location and respect for Pace within the disarmament policy community, the Institute offers a powerful convening role for what is called in policy circles “Track Two Diplomacy” (unofficial, informal and non-governmental conversations). Second track diplomacy offers ways for a policy issue to be discussed more freely than in formal, public assemblies and opens space for excluded and marginalized voices.
Annual Humanitarian Disarmament Forum
Pace University has co-hosted the annual Humanitarian Disarmament Forum since 2014, drawing together over 100 humanitarians, philanthropists, academics and activists working on weapons issues on the New York City campus. These conferences included workshops on both thematic issues and skills sets and allowed for sharing of best practices. Pace students have had the opportunity to attend these conferences, providing note-taking and logistical assistance as well as participating in strategy sessions.
- Report on 2015 Forum on “Crisis Advocacy.”
- Report on 2014 Forum on “Gender and Disarmament," featuring Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jody Williams.
Side Events and Panels in Multilateral Meetings
A key pathway for NGO and university research to enter into the UN policy system is through “Side Events”, which are panels, receptions and discussions held around the edges of formal decision-making assemblies, during lunch breaks and in the evenings. These events also allow for informal and unrecorded conversations between government policymakers and NGO advocates. Pace University faculty and students have participated in or helped organize numerous such events in recent years.
At the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Pace University co-hosted at UN headquarters a Side Event on “The other part of Article VI: General and Complete Disarmament” with the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica and the SCRAP Project of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (A report and an audio recording is available here). A follow-up side event was held during the General Assembly First Committee in October 2015. The organizers of these panels later curated a volume on General and Complete Disarmament published by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.
Pace University’s undergraduate classes were featured at a Disarmament and Nonproliferation Education side event hosted by Mexico and Japan during the 2015 NPT Review Conference.
Workshops and Conferences
Just before the beginning of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, April 24-26, Pace students and faculty helped organize the International Peace & Planet Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just and Sustainable World, which attracted 600 leading activists, scholars and diplomats from more than a dozen countries, including survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb attacks and Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs. Pace, along with the Cooper Union and Hunter College, hosted several of the conference workshops. The following weekend, Pace hosted an all-day strategy meeting of Abolition 2000, a network of thousands of nonprofit organizations, both national and international, working on nuclear issues. Participants heard from luminaries like New Zealand Member of Parliament Phil Goff and Ambassador Yasuyoshi Komizo, Secretary-General of the Mayors for Peace.
On Pace University’s New York City campus in November 2015, Pace University’s Center for Community Action and Research hosted a workshop for Pace faculty, staff and students on “Nuclear Weapons: Facing the Humanitarian Costs.” Pace University’s Adult Resource Center (PARC) has also hosted lectures on nuclear disarmament.
Pace University hosted the Robotic Weapons Symposium in 2013, which brought together an interdisciplinary group of experts to consider the political, legal and ethical implications of robotic weapons. Videos of the proceedings are available from Pace’s iTunes University site. The workshop was funded by a $7,500 Thinkfinity Grant from Verizon Foundation, in partnership with Pace University’s Center for Teaching Learning and Technology.
At the 2010 “Wisdom of the Survivor” conference, over 100 hibakusha – survivors of the atomic bombings of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki – met with 9/11 survivors at Pace University’s campus in New York, “to address the unique political, psychological and spiritual contributions survivors of atrocity and their families can make towards a more peaceful future.”