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Dhanapala, Johnson Named MPI Expert Consultants
Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 29, 2007

The Middle Powers Initiative, an NGO dedicated to the worldwide reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons, is pleased and honored to announce the appointment of two of the most distinguished figures in international arms control issues as Expert Consultants to MPI.

Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, the former UN Under-Secretary General for Disarmament Affair and commissioner on the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, and Dr. Rebecca Johnson, the Executive Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy and Editor of the Institute’s journal Disarmament Diplomacy, will lend their expertise to MPI as it enters a new phase in its work to help revitalize the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda as embodied in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The contributions of Ambassador Dhanapala and Dr. Johnson will be invaluable in furthering this work (their biographies are attached). The Chairman of MPI, Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., said in making the announcement, “The vast experience of Jayantha Dhanapala and Rebecca Johnson, two world-respected figures, will bring added depth to the work of the Middle Powers Initiative as we focus on ways to save the Non-Proliferation Treaty at the Review Conference in 2010.”

Since the failure of the 2005 NPT Review Conference, MPI’s work has concentrated on pressing governments to implement sustainable disarmament and non-proliferation measures. MPI inaugurated the Article VI Forum in October of 2005 to explore initiatives and undertake work on steps toward implementing the NPT in a constructive, non-confrontational setting. More than 30 governments have taken part in the four Article VI Forum consultations held to date.  MPI has issued a new document, “Towards 2010: Priorities for NPT Consensus.”

Dr. Johnson said, “The non-proliferation regime is inherently unsustainable without nuclear disarmament, and the Article VI Forum plays an important role in bringing governments and civil society together to promote practical steps to devalue and eliminate nuclear weapons.”

Amb. Dhanapala said, “At a time when media attention is being manipulated to focus entirely on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the need to address the fundamental balance of obligations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty among its three objectives - nonproliferation, disarmament and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy - is critical. MPI is one of the few NGOs doing this honestly and consistently.”


H.E. Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala

Ambassador Dhanapala is a former Under-Secretary-General of the UN Department of Disarmament Affairs, a position he held between 1998 and 2003. Mr. Dhanapala is on the Advisory Boards of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, the Centre for Non-proliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, on the Governing Board of SIPRI and is the Chairman of the UN University Council. He is also Honorary President of the International Peace Bureau, and served on the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission launched by the Government of Sweden under the Chairmanship of Dr. Hans Blix. He was president of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference. Between 1965 and 1983, he held diplomatic appointments in London, Beijing, Washington, D.C., and New Delhi, in addition to being Director of the NAM Division of the Foreign Ministry. He has held numerous positions with the UN, and in 1997, he joined the Centre for Non-proliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in the USA as Diplomat-in-Residence. Following his role of Under-Secretary-General of the UNDDA, Mr. Dhanapala assumed duties as Secretary-General of the Secretariat for the Coordinating of the Peace Process and Senior Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka. Mr. Dhanapala has published four books and several articles in international journals and lectured in many countries.

Dr. Rebecca E. Johnson

Rebecca Johnson is the founding Director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. She is a former Vice Chair of the Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and from 2004 to 2006 was senior advisor to the WMD Commission. Dr Johnson co-founded the Aldermaston Women’s Campaign in 1985, and has had extensive experience as a grassroots activist and organizer. She is a member of Women in Black, the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Faslane 365 Steering Group, and currently serves on the advisory councils of several organizations, including the Centre for Policy Studies (PIR, Moscow) and the Oxford Research Group (UK).  Dr Johnson has edited Disarmament Diplomacy since 2004, and has published and lectured extensively on security policy, nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation developments, space security, and multilateral diplomacy. Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, as well as an M.A. from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and a B.Sc. (Hons) from the University of Bristol.