NJIT to host nuclear weapons conference: ‘Steps to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World’

On April 14, NJIT will host “Steps to a Nuclear Weapons-Free World” — an all-day conference featuring nine of the country’s leading experts in nuclear weapons and policy, who will address the critical and complex nature of the nuclear weapons issue today.

The conference will be led by two internationally renowned keynote speakers — Daniel Ellsberg, former presidential adviser and chief figure in the release of the Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, as well as author of “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner”; and Robert Jay Lifton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of psychiatry and psychology at The City University of New York, and author of “The Apocalyptic Twins: Nuclear and Climate Threats” and “Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima,” which was awarded the National Book Award in Science.

The conference will address strategies for nuclear disarmament and modern security threats related to the issue of nuclear weapons, such as false-positive alarms, accidents from aging stockpiles and cyber attacks. Conference speakers will also discuss topics such as the medical and environmental impact of modern nuclear weapons radiation, the modernizing of nuclear forces and recent policy decisions involving the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, as well as effective communication methods for educating the general public about nuclear weapons.

“There is an urgent need for new efforts to make the world safe from nuclear war and nuclear threats, to hold the nine nuclear-armed countries to account for the dangers they pose to humanity, and to move towards a world free of nuclear weapons. This conference aims to explore these issues and help chart a path forward for the United States on redirecting nuclear weapons policy towards reducing nuclear weapons dangers, nuclear weapons budgets, and ultimately, towards disarmament.” — Zia Mian, co-director, Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security

“Irresponsible policies have ignited a new arms race and increased the risk of a nuclear conflict. An engaged and empowered public is necessary to challenge the status quo and advance the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.” — Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, Arms Control Association

“The nuclear weapons issue is as critical as ever, and it must be seen not as a single isolated technical issue, but as one connected with environmental, economic, social policy and foreign policy. NJIT has invited a select group of experts to evaluate current nuclear policies and suggest ways to reduce the level of nuclear threat on our planet. We also hope to inform younger students who will someday be in positions of leadership…it is imperative we provide them with a better scope of this issue.” — Jay Kappraff, conference chairman and Professor Emeritus of mathematics at NJIT

Along with Ellsberg and Lifton — who will present via live-stream broadcast — the diverse list of distinguished speakers scheduled to present live at NJIT includes:

  • Zia Mian, physicist and co-director at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, and co-author of “Unmaking the Bomb”
  • Bruce Blair, research scholar at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, MacArthur Fellow and former U.S. Air Force Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile launch control officer
  • Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, Arms Control Association, and expert in nuclear and missile programs of Iran, North Korea, India, and Pakistan
  • Lisbeth Gronlund, physicist and co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and expert in U.S. nuclear weapons policy
  • Laura Grego, senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and expert in outer space security
  • Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will, and recipient of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
  • Elaine Scarry, Harvard University, Cabot Professor of aesthetics and the general theory of value, and author of “Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing between Democracy and Doom”



WHEN: SUNDAY, APRIL 14, 2019, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Registration includes a continental breakfast, lunch, coffee/tea break and a booklet of position papers by the speakers.

For registration and further event details, visit: njit.edu/nuclearfree

For more information: Contact [email protected]

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Tanya Klein
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