Ambassador Butler to speak on the safe elimination of nuclear weapons

March 25, 2009

Ambassador Richard Butler AC, distinguished scholar for international peace and security at Penn State's School of International Affairs, will present a free public lecture "The Elimination of Nuclear Weapons" at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 2. The lecture will be held in the auditorium of the Lewis Katz Building, located off of Park Avenue and Bigler Road in University Park. Attendees are invited to a catered reception following the event.

This is the second in a series of three lectures on global affairs to be presented by Butler, one of the world's leading experts with respect to nuclear arms control and disarmament. As executive chairman of the UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq (UNSCOM), Butler was the UN's chief arms inspector in Iraq between 1997 and 1999. He has also served as Australian ambassador to the United Nations; chairman of the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons; Australian ambassador for disarmament, Geneva; Australian ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia; governor of Tasmania; and Australian deputy representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Paris. In 2003, Ambassador Butler was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Australia's highest civilian honor.

In his lecture, Butler will discuss the safe elimination of nuclear weapons, an effort he believes should be revived after a decade of inaction. Butler will analyze the threat of nuclear arms and propose viable solutions to eradicating the problem.

"Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, the terrifying hallmark of which was the nuclear arms race and the doctrine of mutual assured destruction, almost 30,000 nuclear weapons continue to exist," said Butler. "Their existence poses the greatest threat to the human race and the planetary environment."

Butler will argue that nuclear weapons have no utility and that any security issues they are purported to solve would only be made worse by their use.

"There is no serious problem on which military action may be needed which cannot be solved through the use of conventional weapons," Butler said. "Most disturbing is that possession of nuclear weapons is proliferating, which enlarges the possibility that they may be acquired by non-State groups."

Butler's final lecture in the series, "Reform of the UN Security Council," will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16, auditorium of the Lewis Katz Building, located off of Park Avenue and Bigler Road in University Park. For more information on the lecture series, visit online.


  • IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 22, 2015