Members of the CTBTO Youth Group so far
Aaron Joshua Pinto
Aaron is a 2015 Queen's Young Leader. Years of passionate engagement in social issues have taken him from the crèches of post-Apartheid townships in Cape Town to the polling stations of Ukraine all the way to the hilltop villages in Eastern Colombia. Aaron has developed a scheme to provide food hampers to those living below the breadline in his community. He served as Canada's youth ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and was recently designated a Young Leader by the Global Baku Forum.
"The CTBT is a crucial building block for both non-proliferation and disarmament. As an important element in developing a culture of peace, we must continue to work resolutely towards converting the nuclear testing moratorium into a de jure obligation."
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Anastasia (Asya) Shavrova
Anastasia is an MA candidate at Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO). She holds a major in Foreign Policy and a BA in Political Science from MGIMO. Anastasia also studied at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She has interned in the United Russia political party, at the BBC, and at the Russia International Affairs Council. Currently she is interning in the Arms Control Department of the Russian MFA. Anastasia is also a member of Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum, a bilateral student programme, where she contributes to a working group on nuclear security.
"My favorite poet Joseph Brodsky wrote in one of his poems: 'Hello, my youth. How beautiful you are'. The beauty of youth is in its sincerity, in endless passion and in an honest and full commitment to something they firmly believe in. They are neither burdened by past nor constrained by history. I'm sure that youth is a voice that has the right to be heard. This is the voice that is able to resonate all over the world and spread its cause, whatever this cause is. And in terms of our cause, in terms of making the world a safer place through banning nuclear tests, I really hope that young voices is exactly what is needed to achieve this ultimate goal."
Read Anastasia's article: Making Nuclear Arms Race Come to Its End (InDepthNews)
Autumn graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia University in 2014 with a B.A. in Environmental Science and minors in Statistics and Sustainable Development. At Columbia, she helped to establish the K1 Project Center for Nuclear Studies, an undergraduate-driven research center dedicated to promoting informed engagement with issues around nuclear technologies. Autumn is currently a fellow with the K1 Project, in which capacity she has produced a film and led a scientific analysis exploring the effects of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. Autumn is also an environmental consultant with ICF international.
"Through my engagement with the Marshall Islands, I’ve seen firsthand the devastation brought by nuclear weapons, even in testing. As a result, I feel it is critical to impose a moratorium on future testing by achieving entry into force of the CTBT, which is a critical step in moving towards a world truly free from the threat of nuclear weapons. I’m excited to contribute to achieving this goal through my work with the youth group."
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Deepshikha is a DPhil (PhD) candidate in International Relations at University of Oxford, U.K. Her thesis focuses on India’s engagement with the nuclear non-proliferation regime. With a Masters in Political Science and a Masters in Global Governance & Diplomacy from Oxford University, her core specialization is in nuclear non-proliferation & disarmament with a regional focus on South Asia. In the past, she served as a Disarmament Intern at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA). With a flare and passion for writing, she contributes to an India-based magazine, Governance Now and the Oxford University Politics Blog OXPOL on issues of non-proliferation and international politics.
"Inspired by the Gandhian philosophy: “You must be the change you want to see in the world” underlines my motivation to participate in the CTBTO Youth Group so that I can do what I must do to facilitate the ongoing efforts for an early entry into force of the CTBT."
Karim E. El-Baz
Karim El-Baz is a research associate at the American University in Cairo Forum, an institute that provides an analysis of policy-oriented issues by highlighting the issues that bridge the Middle East and the wider world. Karim has assumed this position after graduating with a Masters Degree in Comparative Middle East Politics and Society with a specialization in Civil-Military Relations and Arms Control from the American University in Cairo and Tübingen University. Karim is also a member in the Middle East Next Generation of Arms Control Specialists Network (MENACS), a project-based network under the auspices of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
“The CTBT is not merely a treaty, it is an opportunity to a new Middle East; A step towards a Nuclear-Weapon Free Zone in one of the most sensitive regions in the world; especially after the rise of irrational militant non-state actors in the region. Most importantly, the CTBT stands as a chance to build confidence and bolster trust. Through this trust, we can witness a re-allocation of resources. Instead of stockpiling military arsenals, our countries can enhance their infrastructures."
Laurel is an all-round humanitarian. From improving agricultural sustainability in schools in Lesotho, to working in humanitarian policy for UN OCHA in New York, Laurel is driven by an innate care for humanity. With expertise in genocide studies, Laurel acts as a delegate and board member for Remembering Srebrenica and as an ambassador for the Holocaust Educational Trust, connecting people to vital causes. She has worked in human rights education for Amnesty International and holds a first class BA in History from the University of Bristol.
"We cannot ignore the greatest threat to humanity; just because we cannot always see it, does not mean it is not there. We need a concrete foundation of trust, confidence and compliance in the international community. We need commitment from the highest level. This is where we play our role. We must represent those who cannot represent themselves: the communities suffering from the aftermath of nuclear testing, to the civilians living in countries at risk of nuclear proliferation. It is in our hands to inspire young people to create a world they want to live in."
Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen
Madeleijn graduated (cum laude) from University College Utrecht, where she took an interdepartmental major in Political Science and History including courses in International Relations and Development Studies and participated in the university's Africa programme. From 2014 to 2015 she studied at Sciences Po, Paris, applying herself to issues of geopolitics, security and international relations. Currently employed as an intern at the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the IAEA and the CTBTO, Madeleijn is now enrolled at Columbia University, presently to join the Graduate program in American Studies, focusing on U.S. foreign policy and security and especially nuclear affairs.
Mohamed Yunisi is currently finishing his bachelor in management, leadership and business administration. He is an active member and a middle manager of the AIESEC Godollo local community and has attended conferences throughout his AIESEC career. He is also a part of the Erasmus exchange group team. After the recent revolution in Libya, Mohamed wants to pursue a master in disarmament and arms control to help build a better future for his country. In this context, his aim is to raise awareness for the destructiveness of the the different types of weapons and how these fuel the conflict in Libya.
"Every single day I wake up and wonder what happened to my country Libya. I still think I'm in a bad dream and will wake up anytime now. Libya is in a middle of a civil war and ISIS took the advantage and jumped to Libya as well. I woke up everyday motivated and ready to make a change and help save the world from all different types of weapons and I think the CTBTO Youth Group is a great start".
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Muhammad Qasim from Pakistan and is serving as Research Professor Nanomedicine in South Korea. He is a young leader and a member of various national and international forums working for threat reduction of biological warfare, arms proliferation and disarmament, biosafety, biosecurity and responsible conduct of sciences.
"I am here to interact with young people around the world to learn and share our experiences to make this world safe and secured from weapons of mass destruction: Do science for peace, not for destruction of life."
Find Qasim on Twitter: @qasimattock
Nathalie is currently based in Vienna, Austria and is in charge of nuclear education at the Austrian Red Cross, as part of the Humanitarian Education Initiative. She does research on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, mainly focusing on the on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. Previously, Nathalie interned at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP), where she learned about the issue of the CTBT’s entry into force and became a strong advocate of the Treaty and the CTBTO.
"I believe that involving youth in the promotion of the Treaty's entry into force is a contemporary and breakthrough way, in which young minds have a chance to contribute to the process of developing a new culture, where the nuclear test ban is not a topic of debates but an established norm, legally adhered to and saluted by all."
Find Nathalie on Twitter: @oonathalie
Noellah Namulanda Musundi
Noellah is a Kenyan national, a communication / media expert who holds a Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the United States International University. She has a wealth of experience in Communication, Media matters and Public Relations. From 2013, Noellah has been involved in championing for transformative leadership through the media and professional caucuses. She will soon be pursuing a PhD in International Relations with a special interest in Conflict Resolution.
"I never fully comprehended the repercussions of war, insecurity and instability until East Africa became an Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab and slowly ISIS target. I have seen these attacks shutter lives, destroy livelihoods, democracies and cause a lot of fear in innocent citizens. I pray and hope for a world where each one of us can feel safe, a new world order I want to be part of. No doubt entry into force of the CTBT will be a major stride."
Find Noellah on Twitter: @Nakaelah_
Sahil is a MA candidate in International Relations & Politics at the University of Cambridge. He holds a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University and began his interest in security studies as a researcher for former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry. After working alongside other GEM members at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (Washington) and the European Leadership Network (London), Sahil became interested in the CTBT and spoke at the 2015 Science and Technology Conference. Sahil is Director of Research for the Stanford U.S.-Russia Forum, which convenes students from both countries to do collaborative research on critical issues of concern.
"After twenty years of preparation, it simply feels disrespectful to live in a world where the CTBT has not been allowed to enter into force. A key concern of our effort will be identifying areas of risk that pose a threat to moving Annex 2 countries towards ratification. In doing so, we aim to also assess the fictions that have disallowed the Treaty from breaking free from its preparatory status. We hope to motivate our generation to push their respective governments to support a world free of nuclear detonations in a tangible way, building the confidence necessary to break down the value attributed to nuclear testing and modernization once and for all."
Find Sahil on Twitter: @SahilV_Shah
Samuel is studying a Master Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. His main interests are Peace and Security, Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Inspired by International Relations and Diplomacy he became a member of the Youth & Student Branch United Nations Association Flanders Belgium (VVN Youth) where he organized several activities on Peace and Security, Non-Proliferation, Sustainable Development, Human Rights and Humanitarian Emergencies. Samuel is also currently active as Deputy-Secretary for the United Nations Association Flanders Belgium (VVN).
“The former president of Costa Rica Oscar, Arias Sanchez, once said: ‘Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions by many people in many countries. It is an attitude, a way of life, a way of solving problems’. I joined the CTBTO Youth Group because believe that we, the Youth, are the next generation of leaders who can promote the CTBT under our generation and make them aware to ban nuclear tests and make the world a safer place.”
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Sarah is a master’s degree candidate in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). She is also a graduate research assistant at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the project manager for the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies at MIIS. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of North Carolina.
"The CTBT is of critical importance to the nonproliferation and disarmament regimes, but its full potential cannot be realized until it enters into force. I believe that we, as members of the next generation, have a fundamental role to play in making ratification a reality. The CTBT Youth Group gives us a way to amplify our individual energy, activism, and expertise to make real forward progress on this issue, and I am full of hope when I think about what we can accomplish together."
Find Sarah on Twitter: @sbidgood
Shervin Taheran is a Program Associate at the Arms Control Association, an independent and nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons, a position she assumed after graduating with her B.A. in Political Science and International Affairs from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. While at the Arms Control Association, she assists in research on the CTBT, writes for the organization's monthly journal, Arms Control Today, and helps manage the ProjectfortheCTBT.org website and social media account @CTBTNow.
"On September 22, 1997, President Bill Clinton called the CTBT the "longest-sought, hardest-fought prize in the history of arms control." Unfortunately, another 19 years have passed since that point, and still, we are striving for the eventual day when all Annex 2 States will have ratified the CTBT and the Treaty can enter into force. Unfortunately, we are coming up to an era where the younger generation just doesn't know what the CTBT is, or why it is so crucial to nonproliferation. This is because we simply didn't grow up in the era of nuclear testing, or have to live with the fear of imminent nuclear war. And this is exactly why the CTBTO Youth Group is so important; if there is not an active effort to educate and impassion our generation, if the CTBT never gets ratified, how can we ever expect our future to see a world free of nuclear weapons?"
Find Shervinon Twitter: @Staheran
Simon Herteleer grew up in Quito, Ecuador. He is currently pursuing a degree in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. He is engaged with various international organisations that aim to promote human rights and peace. His interest in the CTBTO is spurred by his emphasis on the importance of Peace and Security and the need to actively promote the CTBTO and its verification regime worldwide.
Valentina graduated Cum Laude in International Relations from Roma Tre University in March 2015. She later attended a Master course on International Relations and Protection of Human Rights. Her interest in nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament stems from her BA dissertation on the Indian position in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Valentina interned at the Office for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Among the other things, she updated the Report for the Parliament on the National Implementation of the CTBT (2015), gaining a deep knowledge of the Treaty and of the Italian efforts towards its universalization.
“A world free of nuclear tests is both a mission and an international responsibility. The CTBT is a fundamental tool to pursue this goal. We, as young disarmament advocates, have the unprecedented opportunity to put the spotlight on this issue and to foster the international debate, most of all between young people, the future. The entry into force of the CTBT isn’t a mirage if we all work for it. As the Nobel prize winner Anatole France said: "To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." And I believe.”
Find Valentina on Twitter: @vale_bell_