NAPF Interns (from left to right: Yuji Kono, Ryan Rowe, Harris Agha (on screen), James Spindler, Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, and Jeanne Aublin) with HE Ambassador Elayne Whyte, President of the Conference to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on June 13, 2023.
NAPF is fortunate to be the home of a large group of interns this summer joining us both in New York City and virtually from around the world. They are already busy learning about nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament and developing their projects.
On Tuesday, June 13, 2023, our interns, NAPF’s Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Christian Ciobanu, and NAPF President Ivana Nikolić Hughes had the opportunity to meet Costa Rica’s HE Ambassador Elayne Whyte, who in a career of many firsts, presided over the UN Conference in 2017 to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Ambassador Whyte took the time to offer her insight into the arena of international politics, using numerous historical examples to illustrate the way in which elements of our global and national societies that we take for granted today were once outside of the mainstream and seemed out of reach. Stressing the importance of global public goods and conversely the need to eliminate spending on things that do not provide a global public good, but in fact represent an existential threat, Ambassador Whyte inspired the interns to think of the TPNW as not only necessary, but also achievable. She encouraged the youth to think outside the box and to bring their ingenuity and creativity to bear when thinking about the global security architecture for the 21st century.
In responding to questions from the interns, Ambassador Whyte addressed the myth that nuclear deterrence is what has kept the world safe since the end of World War II, elaborated on alternatives to war, such as the example of Costa Rica and Nicaragua settling a territorial dispute through a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and stressed the importance of preserving the natural environment, as a prerequisite for preservation of humankind.
We are grateful to Ambassador Whyte for her wisdom and insight, and look forward to learning from and engaging with her in the future!