Living, and Illuminating, Peace: GSI eNewsletter Winter/Spring 2015

Events, reports, and analysis

A Message From the President

The necessity of human solidarity must not be trumped by the divisiveness of nuclear weapons. This was part of the historic message expressing the ideas of His Holiness Pope Francis shared at the recent conference in Vienna on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The World Evangelical Alliance, representing over 600,000,000 Christians, is similarly calling for moral sanity. Other religious voices are beginning to voice their support for the new humanitarian movement to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Parliamentarians across the world over are similarly speaking out. 

But when the debates take place at the security policy level in Washington, Moscow, Paris, Bejing, London, Tel Aviv, Pyongyang, Islamabad, and New Delhi (as well as Brussels and the capitals of other states under the nuclear deterrence umbrella) the voices of militarism prevail again and again. The political pressure from the public, the reasonable arguments of the diplomats, and clearly established legal duties have been insufficient to overcome the demands made by military and security planners to continue to rely on nuclear weapons as a core instrument in the pursuit of security. Some argue that the risks of using nuclear weapons as a threat are unacceptably high, though nuclear proponents insist that these risks are manageable. It is evident that this latter, erroneous argument continues to prevail. 

We do not believe that this dangerous and flawed approach to security can overcome the awakened conscience of humanity. That is why the moral compass toward nuclear disarmament is so important. The Vienna conference was an important contribution to these efforts, and we join the leaders of our program, the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND), who sent a letter of congratulations to the Austrian government for their outstanding work organizing and hosting the conference. 

At the Vienna conference, we helped convene a session on the moral challenge of nuclear weapons. It was exceptionally well received and we are pleased to share that we will continue advancing this route to stir public opinion and stronger political commitments. At that conference, the Holy See’s Statement, “Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Abolition,” expressed the strong position of Pope Francis and articulated principles around which progress must be achieved. It exemplifies the moral compass needed to steer ships of state through the turbulent, dangerous waters of a multipolar, unstable world. Toward this end, we are again gathering on April 9, 2015, at the United Nations in New York City. The event, titled “Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass” is co-hosted by the Holy See and will take place between 3-5 PM. You are invited to attend. 

This short report shares some of the efforts we are making at several levels of society, all with the purpose of learning and practicing “Living Peace.” This phrase is the instructive framework of the Nobel Peace Laureates and we commend your attention to their statement. 

It is our sincere hope that this report of what a relatively modest non-governmental organization can do with passion, sincerity, and commitment will inspire you to actively engage in building an edifice of sustainable peace. Senator Douglas Roche has analogized our work to those who put bricks in the beautiful cathedrals of Europe, many of whom knew they would not live to see the building in its complete form. In that spirit, please join us in laying the next brick.

Very truly yours,

Jonathan Granoff


P.S. Please note the below invitation to a major UN event on April 9. 

Vienna: Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass

On December 8, the opening day of the Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, as nearly 160 states and scores of civil society groups and international organizations gathered in Vienna, the Global Security Institute joined once again with the Permanent Mission of the Philippines, the United Religions Initiative, the World Evangelical Alliance, and Religions for Peace, to amplify religious voices asserting the moral imperative of nuclear disarmament.  

The Vienna event was the most recent endeavor among these co-sponsors, who have been working together to create an effective, informed, and engaged coalition of religious voices addressing the impropriety of nuclear weapons and the unequivocal moral imperative to eliminate them.

The co-sponsors hope that the amplification of these voices at prominent international diplomatic gatherings will constitute the requisite moral compass that can help guide diplomats and policy makers toward policies that lead irrevocably toward a world without nuclear weapons. This is why, in the words of Co-Chair Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, President of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, “this is not an ordinary or traditional ‘side event'” but rather a “call to conscience” to all. 

The event, entitled “Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass,” featured a distinguished panel of religious leaders and representatives including: Madam Ela Gandhi, Religions for Peace and granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi; Dr. Mustafa Ceric, Former Grand Mufti of Bosnia and leading scholar of Islam; Tyler Wigg Stevenson, World Evangelical Alliance; and Dr. William Vendley, Religions for Peace. Ambassador Cabactulan and Jonathan Granoff served as co-chairs.

Read the full event report

Watch the full video of the event:

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND)

Austrian Parliament Hosts Roundtable During Vienna Humanitarian Conference

As the historic Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons convened, the Austrian Parliament hosted a roundtable discussion in cooperation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and GSI’s network of the Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND). 

Bringing together parliamentarians from over a dozen countries from Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, the Pacific, and the Middle East-as well as representatives of nongovernmental organizations-the roundtable focused on actions that can be taken by parliamentarians to eliminate nuclear weapons in security doctrines and to support negotiations for nuclear abolition. 

Read more… 

Humanitarian and Security Initiatives for Nuclear Disarmament: Vienna to Helsinki 

Recognized as a regional arrangement under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation in Eurasia. Fifty-seven states participate in the OSCE, whose approach to security is as comprehensive as it is cooperative, and plays an important role in global security and human rights.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) strengthens the OSCE by strengthening national involvement in OSCE’s important activ

ities. During the 2015 winter session of the OSCE PA, Parliamentarians for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament (PNND), a program of GSI, held a substantive roundtable discussion on February 19, chaired by the Vice-President of the OSCE PA, Christine Muttonnen MP of Austria, who also serves as Co-President of PNND. Titled “Humanitarian and Security Intiatives for Nuclear Disarmament: From Vienna to Helsinki,” the roundtable discussed parliamentary and political initiatives for nuclear disarmament in the context of rising tensions in Eastern Europe, as well as the role of cooperative security in phasing out nuclear deterrence.   

Read more…

The 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

From December 12-14, 2014, the city of Rome hosted the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in the magnificent, Michelangelo-designed plaza in Rome’s famed Campodiglio palace.  

The Laureates issued forth sagacious advice that is worthy of study and practice by every nation. Titled “Living Peace,” the statement addresses the public policy of nations but also

compels us-on an individual level-“to car(e) for others with kindness and compassion,” the very embodiment of change that int urn makes us “able to make changes for peace in the world.” 

GSI Jonathan Granoff, who participated in Rome as a Senior Advisor to the Summit, wrote about the Summit, the Final Statement, and the troubled political backstory to this fourteenth such gathering of world visionaries in the Huffington Post. He writes: “The 2014 gathering was originally scheduled to take place in October in South Africa, and would have been the first summit of its kind in Africa, but the government, bowing to Chinese pressure, refused to issue a visa to the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Laureate… . In response, [the organizers] appropriate suspended the Summit in South Africa and promptly organized an outstanding event in Rome.” 

Read “Living Peace,” the Final Statement of the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates

Read the Huffington Post report 

Working on Final Statement (above): Nobel Laureates Leymah Gbowee, Jody Williams, Dalai Lama, and from the Laureate organization Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, and World Summits Permanent Secretariat President Ekaterina Zagladina, Vice President Enzo Cursio and Special Advisor Jonathan Granoff. Photo by Irina Kalashnikova. 


Doomsday Clock Moves Closer to Midnight

On January 19, 2015, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board took an unprecedented move: they moved their famed Doomsday Clock two ticks up the clock-to three minutes from midnight. 

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, created the Doomsday Clock in 1947 as a tool to convey the unacceptable level of the threat nuclear weapons pose to humanity and the planet. Every year, the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board, together in consultation with the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors (which includes 17 Nobel laureates), make the decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock, resulting in a universally recognized indicator of the world’s vulnerability to nuclear catastrophe. 

In a press release entitled “It is only three minutes to midnight,” the Bulletin shared their reasoning for this year’s move: “In 2015, unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernization, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.” 

“These failures of political leadership endanger every person on Earth,” they wrote. 

In an interview with IPS News, GSI President Jonathan Granoff highlighted the urgency of the global existential challenges that could accelerate the arrival of doomsday, naming in particular the stability of the climate, the acidity of the oceans, and biodiversity, as well as widespread goals of strategic stability and the pursuit of dominance. 

“Remember we are extinguishing species at up to one thousand times faster than what would be the normal evolutionary base rate,” he told IPS. “The backdrop of these challenges arising from science, technology, and social organization is the immature relationship between states in their pursuit of security through the application of the threat or use of force. The most dangerous tools of the pursuit of security through force are the world’s nuclear arsenals.” 

However, recent political developments are offering opportunities for progress, he said. 

Read the full article here

Read more about the Bulletin’s decision

Nobel Peace Prize Forum’s “Toward Inclusive Disarmament: The Voices of Women and Civil Society” 

On March 8, 2015, under the auspices of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum brought together scores of diplomats and civil society leaders to discuss “Inclusive and Sustainable Peacemaking and Peacebuilding.” Disarmament was the central focus of this year’s forum, which highlighted in particular the work of 2013 Nobel Laureate, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).  

On the concluding day of the Forum, GSI President Jonathan Granoff participated in a moderated panel of senior leaders in the field of disarmament, in an event titled “Toward Inclusive Disarmament: The Voices of Women and Civil Society.” For the panel, Mr. Granoff joined Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, US Department of State Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, and Paul Walker, Director of the Environmental Security and Sustainability program at Green Cross International.  

Watch the full video of the panel:

Georgia Public Broadcasting Presents “Are We at Risk of Nuclear War?” 

On March 21, 2015, “Are We At Risk of Nuclear War?” was broadcast on Two Way Street, a program aired on 17 stations of the Georgie Public Broadcasting Network. For the panel, GSI President Jonathan Granoff joined Professor Mohammed Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Ira Helfand of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, and Jean Yves Ollivier, an internationally recognized peace advocate. The panel was assembled as part of the run up to the 2015 global summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The special edition of Two Way Street was sponsored by the Sam Nunn Institute of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and was taped in front of a live audience at Georgia Public Broadcasting last month. Bill Nigut was the moderator. 

Watch the full video of the panel: 

TIPS Leadership Academy at the American Bar Association

At the recent meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) in Houston, Texas, GSI President Jonathan Granoff delivered a presentation to the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Leadership Academy, based on his paper, “Pacta Sunt Servanda,” originally delivered at the United Nations.  

In this presentation, which looks at the legal obligation that agreements must be kept and honored in good faith, Mr. Granoff urged participants to recognize the urgency of the legal commitment to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” the NPT commitment that has been in force since 1970, and renewed with vigor every five years since the treaty was first reviewed in 1995. 

Mr. Granoff is also a Co-chair of the ABA’s International Law Section’s Taskforce on Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament. 

Global Common Goods: Security and Realism

The winter 2015 edition of International Law News, the publication of the American Bar Association’s International Law Section, focuses on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the successor to the Millennium Development Goals, which were to be developed between 2000 and 2015. In this special issue, the contributing lawyers demonstrate that the rule of law is one of the main cornerstones in the implementation of these goals. 

In his contribution to the ILN, Jonathan Granoff writes that the critical and existential threats we face in the twenty-first century require cooperation and the establishment of international legal regimes, “the pursuit of which will amplify the capacity of nations to work together and find common ground in addressing issues where current differences preclude critical short-term progress.” He compares the ad hoc way by which legal regimes are emerging at the global, regional, and national level, with the far more stable intentional legal regime that regulates global commercial matters, and calls on lawyers to actively advocate for treaty regimes to protect the global common goods: stabilizing the climate, protecting the oceans and rain forests, and insuring that nuclear weapons are never used. 

Read “Global Common Goals and Goods: Security and Realism,” or download the entire issue of ILN

GSI in the Media

  • The Inter-Press Service reports on civil society’s support for a UN resolution declaring nuclear strikes on cities to be a clear-cut violation of international law. Jonathan Granoff tells reporter Roger Hamilton-Martin that other uses of nuclear weapons also violate international law, but there should be no question that destroying a city is illegal. Read more
  • TREND News, a leading news service in the Caucasus, Caspian, and Central Asian region publishes Granoff’s views on the impending nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, noting that the deal is a “good one” if it makes Iran part of the world community. Read more.  
  • In the Russian speaking world, the TASS News Agency publishes a widely read interview with Granoff in which he calls for a “new realism” in US-Russia bilateral relations. Read more in English, or in Russian.  
  • Former Secretary of State George Shultz and Ambassador James Goodby, founding member of the Bipartisan Security Group, published a new volume, The War That Must Never Be Fought: Resolving the Nuclear Dilemma, which is available for free download from the Hoover Institution.  
  • Jonathan Granoff and Grand Ayatollah Shaykh Muhammed Ali al-Tashkhiri, a senior Iranian cleric, discuss relevant world affairs on Al Mayadeen television’s popular show, “Game of Nations” on the subject “Dialogue of Religions– Clash of Civilizations.” See below for the segment, available only in Arabic:  

Upcoming Events




The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See and the Global Security Institute 

invite you to

Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass


H.E. Archbishop Bernadito C. Auza,

Permanent Representative Observer Mission of the Holy See (Host)

Ms. Virginia Gamba, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs

Ambassador Libran Cabactulan, Permanent Mission of the Philippines

Jonathan Granoff, Global Security Institute (Chair)

Bishop William Swing, United Religions Initiative

Dr. William Vendley, Religions for Peace

Tyler Wigg Stevenson, World Evangelical Alliance

Rabbi Peter Knobel, Central Conference of American Rabbis

H.E. Bishop Oscar Cantu, United States Conference of Bishops

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Parliament of the World’s Religions


With a special musical performance for peace by world-renowned cellist Michael Fitzpatrick 


April 9, 2015

3:00-5:00 p.m.


United Nations Headquarters

Conference Room 4


Those without security passes must RSVP before April 7, 2015 to or


Special gratitude goes to the following supporting organizations who helped to make this event possible: 

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