"I learned so much about arms control and disarmament at ACA! I learned more about arms control here in four months than I had in all three years at my college."

– Alicia Sanders-Zakre
Intern, Fall 2016
December 16, 2016
Vote for the 2017 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year

Since 2007, the Arms Control Association's staff and board of directors has nominated individuals and institutions that have advanced effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament solutions or raised awareness of the threats posed by mass casualty weapons. A full list of previous winners is available here.

The 2017 nominees were:

  • EU High Representative Federica Mogherini for her steadfast diplomatic campaign on behalf of the European Union to resist attempts by the Trump administration to seek to “renegotiate” the terms of the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Place of Action and for her strong advocacy for full implementation and compliance with the landmark nonproliferation agreement by all parties, especially by the United States and Iran.
  • The disarmament delegations of Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and South Africa, and Amb. Elayne Whyte Gómez of Costa Rica for leading the negotiations on the landmark 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to a successful conclusion in July and opening it for signature on Sept. 20, 2017.
  • The U.S. State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, Amb. Joseph Yun, for his unwavering efforts to establish a sustained diplomatic dialogue with North Korea designed to defuse rising tensions over the country’s rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs despite skepticism from some quarters in Washington.
  • Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) for introducing H.R. 4415, a bill that would make it the policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first. In announcing the bill, Smith said:“The United States should not use nuclear arms in a first strike. They are instruments of deterrence, and they should be treated as such. A declaratory policy of not using nuclear weapons first will increase strategic stability, particularly in a crisis, reducing the risk of miscalculation that could lead to an unintended all-out nuclear war.”
  • Pope Francis for his declaration that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral, completing the Catholic Church’s shift away from conditional acceptance of nuclear deterrence, and for his call for a more inclusive and effective process to advance disarmament through an international conference on “Perspectives for a World Free from Nuclear Weapons and for Integral Development,” held Nov. 10-11.
  • Members of UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Iraq for their exceptional work clearing more than 269,000 IEDs from locations in Iraq formerly under the control of the Islamic State and instituting a civilian training program to ensure that civilians coming back are able to recognize the IEDs.
  • Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) for continuing to call attention to the negative security and humanitarian impact of U.S.-supplied weapons and ammunition in the ongoing Saudi military campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen. They pushed for a vote in June on a resolution supported by 47 Senators that opposed the provision of more than $500 million in precision-guided weapons to Riyadh.
  • Edmond Mulethead of the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism, for overseeing the investigations to determine the responsible actors for chemical weapons attacks in Khan Shaykhun and Umm Hawsh in 2017, thereby strengthening international accountability for chemical weapons use. On Nov. 7, Amb. Mulet, who is from Guatemala, reported to the UN Security Council that his team determined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) to be responsible for using sulfur mustard in a September 2016 attack in Umm Hawsh and the Syrian Government to be accountable for the release of sarin in an April 2017 attack in Khan Shaykhun.
  • Toby Walsh of the University of New South Wales and a group of more than 137 founders and directors of over 100 robotics and artificial intelligence companies for releasing an open letter warning of the dangers posed by uncontrolled development of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS). Representatives from 86 countries participated in the Group of Governmental Experts of LAWS meeting held in Geneva in November and decided to continue their deliberations in 2018.

Previous winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" include: The government of Marshall Islands and its former Foreign Minister Tony de Brum (2016); Setsuko Thurlow and the Hibakusha of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, (2015); Austria's Director for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Ambassador Alexander Kmentt (2014), Executive-Secretary of the CTBTO Lassina Zerbo (2013); Gen. James Cartwright (2012); reporter and activist Kathi Lynn Austin (2011), Kazakhstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov and Thomas D'Agostino, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator (2010); Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) (2009), Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and his ministry's Director-General for Security Policy and the High North Steffen Kongstad (2008), and U.S.Congressmen Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) (2007).

If you support the Arms Control Association's promotion of these principled individuals and efforts, please make a contribution that allows us to support their work throughout the year. Such efforts depend on the support of individuals like you.