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2nd CTBT Science Diplomacy Symposium kicks off

The 2nd CTBT Science Diplomacy Symposium openend on 21 May and will run until 1 June 2018 at the Vienna International Centre. The Symposium’s aim is to raise public awareness of the CTBT's contribution to international peace and security, and to encourage cooperative and collaborative research and innovation on nuclear test monitoring science and technology. The Symposium seeks to stimulate creative thinking about possible political, legal and diplomatic solutions among diplomats, practitioners and policy makers, academics, and the next generation to the challenges facing the Treaty. With an emphasis on youth, over 40 members of the CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) from across the globe are participating in the Symposium.  CTBTO Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) members will also be participating and lending their expertise to discussions.
These are interesting times where the global ban on nuclear tests in concerned. …Perhaps current events help account for the high interest in our Symposium. We have some 350 registered participants – online and offline – from all corners of the globe. With the exception of DPRK, we have in attendance … all Annex 2 States still to ratify the Treaty.

Day 1 kicked off with an introductory remarks by Xiaoning Wang, Director of the Legal and External relations Division who welcomed the more than 100 participants in the room, as well as those participating remotely. Introductory sessions on the CTBT and a “youth takeover” followed, in which members of the CTBTO Youth Group presented activities they had been involved in over the past year. Students of the Russian Federation National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) demonstrated their creativity with a poem, a poster exhibit, and launched a presentation competition among Symposium participants.

The high-level session on Friday, 25 May features: CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo; Karin Kneissl, Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria; Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba; Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs; and Desmond Browne, Vice-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former UK Secretary of State for Defence.

A further highlight of the Symposium is the simulation exercise—on 31 May and 1 June—which allows participants to take part in a mock CTBTO Executive Council deliberation over an on-site inspection request, enabling them to apply concepts and ideas discussed during the Symposium, and deepen their understanding of the Treaty and the Organization. In addition to lectures, panel discussions, and hands-on demonstrations, the Symposium includes site visits, an exhibit of the CTBTO OmniGlobe, IMS Station models, and the 360 ?virtual reality film installation “Collisions”, featuring an Australian indigenous elder who experienced nuclear testing in his homelands.

The detailed agenda of the Symposium is available here and most sessions are live streamed. Check back here for updates and highlights during the Symposium & follow us on Twitter (#2SDS) and Facebook.