IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano welcomed the new Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation at an opening ceremony on Friday, 25 February 2011, saying, "it is vital that we educate the people of the world about how devastating nuclear weapons are and build awareness of the importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation."
The Center, an initiative of Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, will be managed by the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies (CNS) of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, a graduate school of Middlebury College. It aims to advance international peace and security through policy-oriented research and analysis of disarmament and non-proliferation issues, and promote education through training programmes, conferences, seminars and international, non-governmental and academic partnerships.
"As a human being, as Director General of the IAEA - and particularly as a citizen of the only country ever to experience the unspeakable horror of nuclear bombs - I believe with all my heart and soul that these horrific weapons must be eliminated," Amano said.
"Achieving that goal will require continued global efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the vital importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation."
Areas of Cooperation
In addition to disarmament and non-proliferation issues, Amano also identified terrorism, nuclear security, nuclear power and nuclear law as potential areas of cooperation between the IAEA and the Vienna Center.
He mentioned, for example, attending a Nuclear Security Summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. in April 2010, which saw the participation of leaders from 47 countries.
"I was pleased that the IAEA´s efforts to help countries make their nuclear facilities and borders more secure against the threat of nuclear terrorism were recognized at the highest levels. The heads of government gave strong moral and political support to our work," Amano said.
The Director General emphasized the role and importance of education in the nuclear field and spoke highly of his former Professor and friend Bill Potter, Director of CNS, for being a "tireless advocate of the importance of disarmament and non-proliferation education."
Foreign Minister Spindelegger, the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission of the CTBTO, Tiber Toth, the President of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Sunder Ramaswamy, and CNS Director Bill Potter also addressed dignitaries at the opening.