South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (right) at a meeting in Seoul with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (center) and Belfer Center director Graham Allison (left) prior to the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit
Center Helps Influence Debate on National and Global Security
Belfer Center scholars traveled to South Korea this spring to help influence the Second Nuclear Security Summit. They joined an overflow public forum in Cambridge with Henry Kissinger to reflect on past American foreign policy choices. And they brainstormed with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on how the United States should face future security challenges.
With these events and many others packed into just a few weeks this spring, the Belfer Center seemed to be at the heart of an intense election-year debate on the right strategies for national and global security.
Belfer Center Director Graham Allison was among the Centerís nuclear experts who went to Seoul to prepare for the nuclear summit in late March. He was one of 15 members of the Eminent Persons Group set up by President Lee Myung-bak to strategize for the summit. Lee hosted a working lunch with Allison, Kissinger and former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov just 10 days before the summit opened.
The Belfer Centerís Professor Matthew Bunn and senior fellows Olli Heinonen and William Tobey also took part in summit preparations, writing a wide-ranging set of background papers for delegations and others who deal with the issues of nuclear terrorism and security. The Center created a special website, called the Nuclear Summit Dossier (www.nuclearsummit.org), to aggregate all the new content, along with recent relevant papers from Center researchers. The site, overseen by the Centerís Project on Managing the Atom and the U.S.-Russia Initiative to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism, earned praise from officials in Seoul as a valuable resource.
In Seoul, Allison delivered the keynote address at the main preparatory session for nuclear industry and non-governmental groups. Heinonen addressed another preparatory meeting in Busan. Bunn, Tobey and fellow John Park briefed diplomats in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Institute of Peace and addressed a press conference at the National Press Club. The Centerís experts were quoted frequently by reporters covering the summit. Bunn was featured in a post-summit video explaining what was achieved and what remains to be done.
Back in Cambridge, Allison served as moderator for the Harvard homecoming for Kissinger, who earned his three degrees at Harvard and taught here for 15 years before going into government in 1969. At a packed Sanders Theatre event, Joseph S. Nye, a former Kennedy School Dean and a Belfer Center Board member, joined HKS doctoral student Jessica Blankshain, in a roundtable discussion with Kissinger.
The same week, Chairman Dempsey addressed students at a John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum Ė and Dempsey stayed overnight in Cambridge so that he could brainstorm with Harvard thinkers including economist Martin Feldstein, a Belfer Center board member. Allison hosted an off-the-record working lunch with Dempsey in the Belfer Center library, attended by international politics and security specialists from across Harvard.
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