Access the conference page here.
The CTBTO Youth Group (CYG) and its newsroom project are coming of age. In a first of its kind its members were hosted by the Russian Federation’s Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and Moscow’s National Research Nuclear University MEPhi for a three day conference.
The 18 – 20 October event at MEPhi (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute) introduced youth group members from countries including China, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and the United States to their Russian youth group counterparts at MEPhi.
The conference included discussions between members of the youth group representing global regions and debate for and against the rule that all nuclear technology holders must ratify the treaty before it becomes law. China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the US, are the last to ratify. There was also a tour of the Russian Federation national data centre, the first time foreign students have visited the centre at Dubna, north of Moscow.
The conference provided a forum for prominent arms control figures, Grigory Berdennikov, Viktor Slipchenko, Konstantin Danilenko, Hans Blix, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, Sha Zukang and Ramamurti Rajaraman, to share with the youth group their views about entry into force of the Treaty.
As part of its continued development newsroom participants interviewed a number of the experts, some of whom are members of the CTBTO’s Group of Eminent Persons (GEM). The newsroom project has been set up to help CYG members communicate their views to a wider audience views about the necessity to bring the CTBT into force ace their concerns about nuclear proliferation.
The Youth Group was launched by Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the CTBTO in 2016 and its membership, open to all, has swollen to more than 300.
We asked some of the MEPhi CYG members for their views about the conference.
In the Russian data centre at Dubna we had a unique opportunity to understand the operating principles of the CTBTO International Monitoring System (IMS). We learned about infrasound, radionuclide and noble gas detectors that operate synchronically as a united organism to collect the data and transfer it to Vienna where CTBTO analysts will do the rest of the work. All the members of the youth group unanimously decided that we also should work together to facilitate the ratification of the CTBT. Yes, some member states of the CTBTO have their differences, but in the end we all serve one great purpose – to make the world a better place for succeeding generations. This is a tremendous responsibility and only together will we be able to complete out mission. Right now history is being made and the future of the world lies in the hands of its youth.
I want to highlight the important role of the conference itself. It served as a great tool to share knowledge about various political aspects and hurdles that the CTBTO faces. We were able to learn a lot about the technology behind the IMS and how countries cooperate successfully to monitor and register nuclear events all around the world. Being a Russian student it was useful to learn that the CTBTO and the world community considers our country a valuable partner against nuclear tests.
It was a once in a lifetime experience to welcome professional scientists and diplomats from all around the globe to NRNU MEPhi. We did our best to make their visit as fruitful and comfortable as possible. To show them that Russia is a kind host and an advocate of entry into force of the CTBT.
There is no doubt that a majority of the students who got the chance to participate in this conference will apply to become a member of the CYG. I know I will.
Apart from raising the topic of political issues and providing us with an in-depth analysis of the technological side of the CTBTO, the conference itself undoubtedly expanded out outlooks and broadened our minds in terms of the interaction with youth group members. The CYG is comprised of students from various countries; consequently, communication with them gave us an outstanding opportunity for developing cross-cultural awareness and sharing experiences. It is also of high importance for us to realize that any effort put into implementing the Treaty by youth group members is regarded with great attention and is highly appreciated by the leaders.