ON CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE FIGHT AGAINST NUCLEAR WEAPONS: AN INTERVIEW WITH SETH SHELDEN.

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Author: Kendrick Foster
Date: Fall 2019
From: Harvard International Review(Vol. 40, Issue 4)
Publisher: Harvard International Relations Council, Inc.
Document Type: Interview
Length: 1,246 words
Lexile Measure: 1220L

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What's the elevator pitch for banning nuclear weapons?

If we fail to do so, it is increasingly apparent that they will eventually be used, whether on purpose or by accident, in a manner that is likely to destroy humanity as we know it.

How did you get involved in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons?

When I first learned about the campaign, I was living in Japan. I had learned the United Nations General Assembly had voted to move forward with negotiations for a treaty, a treaty with and objective of making nuclear weapons illegal in a comprehensive manner leading to their total elimination. I didn't know anyone who was working on it, and I thought I'd like to help. So I got involved with one of ICAN's partner organizations, the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, and volunteered at first. When I got involved with the negotiations, I started doing a lot more for ICAN. Things happened, and I eventually got to what I'm doing now.

Could you talk a little bit more about your work liaising with the United Nations?

In that brief history that I gave of my work, a number of things happened, including getting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons adopted and winning the Nobel Peace Prize for that work. In that period, my work has changed in different ways, but the overarching concept for me has been working with representatives and diplomats from the various states to get them to support the negotiation. I advocated for certain aspects in the treaty to be included and for the treaty to be adopted. In the subsequent time, my role has been to promote the entry into force of the treaty. Once that happens, it will presumably be to encourage more states to support, ratify, and sign the treaty.

How is that affected by ICAN's status...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A616448606