Peace and Disarmament

Back to listNov 19, 2012

Toda Institute Co-organizes Seminar: Challenges of a Nuke-Free World

Dr. SchellingSeminar participants with keynote speaker Dr. Schelling (center)

On November 19, the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) co-organized an international seminar in Vienna, Austria, on the strengths and weaknesses of a nuclear-weapon-free world titled "Stable Zero: Feasible, Realistic?" The seminar was held at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) and brought together experts in nuclear disarmament, UN representatives and diplomats.

Keynote speaker Dr. Thomas C. Schelling reiterated his 2009 challenge of the wisdom of totally abolishing nuclear weapons and posed the question of what might happen in the event of war in a nuclear-weapon-free world. He cited that historically the absence of nuclear weapons has not prevented war. He also analyzed the situation from the point of view of game theory, pinpointing fear and anxiety as a crucial element in the concept of nuclear deterrence.

Dr. Schelling is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland and was one of the recipients of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (the Nobel prize for economic sciences) in 2005.

In his speech, Professor Harald Müller, executive director and head of research at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), stressed the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapon use and the importance of abolition. On the other hand, Mr. Andreas Persbo, executive director of the London-based Verification Research, Training and Information Centre (VERTIC), presented various negative ramifications that might occur following the actualization of nuclear abolition.

Dr. Sverre Lodgaard, a senior research fellow at NUPI, commented on how significant it would be if "stable zero" were reached and highlighted the critical issue of the management of nuclear waste that nuclear abolition would demand.

A panel discussion on disarmament prospects was convened later the same day and on November 20, a public symposium was also held at which questions and topics posed during the seminar were taken up.

The Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research was founded by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in 1996 in honor of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, made in 1957. The institute aims to bring together peace researchers, policy makers and activists promoting peace-building and dialogue among civilizations.

[Adapted from an article in the November 30, 2012, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan, and a report from the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)]