In January 2023, the Truman Center held a two-day Nuclear Policy Workshop in Chicago that brought together 18 undergraduate students from around the midwest to engage with experts in nuclear security, as part of Truman’s efforts to diversify the nuclear policy field. The workshop was led by Truman’s Janne E. Nolan Nuclear Security Fellow, Lily Wojtowicz.
The workshop began on Wednesday, January 18th with Truman’s Vice President of Policy and Programs, Jon Temin, providing welcoming remarks, followed by a presentation by Ms. Wojtowicz on “The Dawn of the Nuclear Age and Nonproliferation” that focused on the fundamentals of the nuclear age and nonproliferation. Mari Faines, Global Zero’s Partner for Mobilization, then led a session on “Nuclear Policy Today and What that Means for You: Organizing and Advocacy, Movement Building and Nuclear Injustice.” Among other topics, she discussed grassroots organizing efforts, the intersectional nature of nuclear weapons, and the lack of diversity in nuclear policy.
Over lunch, the students had an informal discussion with the MacArthur Foundation’s Senior Program Officer for Nuclear Challenges, Dr. Angela Schlater, touching on MacArthur’s Big Bet initiative and Dr. Schlater’s career path. Ms. Wojtowicz then led an interactive session on “Deterrence, Allies, and Crises,” which discussed the ways in which crises impact broader U.S. foreign policy goals vis-a-vis deterrence and alliance management. The next session was led by Kevin Bustamante, University of Notre Dame Doctoral Candidate, and focused on “The Nuclear Age Revisited: The View from the Global South.” Mr. Bustamante examined the concepts of vertical and horizontal nuclear proliferation, and discussed with the students the differences between the two and how both present distinct problems for the international community.
The final session featured Dr. Rachel Bronson, President and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Dr. Bronson talked about the history of The Bulletin, their current initiatives, and their “Voices of Tomorrow” program. Jenna Ben-Yehuda, Truman’s President & CEO, then provided closing remarks and stressed the importance of these workshops in promoting diversity in the field of nuclear security.
That evening, the students attended a public event organized by Truman, in partnership with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, “Out of the Silo: Nuclear Security in Context,” that focused on how nuclear security intersects with a wide range of national security concerns. The following morning, the students took a tour of Argonne National Laboratory, where they learned about the history of the laboratory and the cutting-edge initiatives it currently pursues.