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International Disarmament Expert
Henrik Salander
Named to Head the Middle Powers Initiative

October 6, 2008


Ambassador Henrik Salander, a Swedish diplomat and internationally-renowned expert on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, has been named the new Chairman of the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI), succeeding the founding chairman of MPI, former Senator Douglas Roche of Canada.

Sen. Roche, who is stepping down from the chairmanship at age 80, made the announcement on behalf of MPI’s International Steering Committee.

Ambassador Salander has had many pivotal roles in the international debate over nuclear disarmament. He was instrumental as a leading voice of the New Agenda Coalition from 2000, and chaired the 2002 session of the NPT Preparatory Committee. From 2003 to 2006, he was the Secretary-General of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, chaired by Dr. Hans Blix.

Ambassador Salander was Sweden’s Ambassador to the Geneva Conference on Disarmament (1999-2003) where he authored the 2002 “five ambassadors” compromise proposal that is still the basis for efforts there to start negotiations on a fissile materials cut-off treaty and other treaties.

In making the announcement, Sen. Roche said, “Henrik Salander is an outstanding diplomat with a long track record of deep commitment to nuclear disarmament. His work on behalf of the Government of Sweden and his highly-acclaimed work for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission have won him international acclaim. He will lift up MPI as it goes into its second decade at a critical moment in the life of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the regime as a whole.”

The Middle Powers Initiative was started in 1998 to encourage middle-power states to press the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their nuclear disarmament responsibilities. MPI’s Article VI Forum has involved 30 states examining the legal, political and technical requirements for a nuclear weapons-free world.

Sen. Roche added: “MPI now has a proven track record, especially with the Article VI Forum. Under Ambassador Salander, it will have even greater impact as it increases its outreach to diplomats, politicians and civil society. With this new Chairman, the future of MPI is extremely promising."

Ambassador Salander is currently Deputy Director-General in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Upon his retirement from the Swedish civil service in January 2009, his first official function as MPI Chairman will be the next Article VI Forum in Berlin, January 29-30.

For more information, contact MPI Program Director Jim Wurst: +1 (646) 289-5170; jwurst(at) gsinstitute.org.

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The Middle Powers Initiative is co-sponsored by eight international non-governmental organizations: the Albert Schweitzer Institute; the Global Security Institute (MPI is a program of GSI); the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms; the International Network of Engineers and Scientists; the International Peace Bureau; the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War; the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.