University of Pittsburgh
May 3, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, May 4 -- Despite the end of the Cold War, the dangers from stockpiles of nuclear weapons exist: 35,000 nuclear weapons remain central to military forces of nuclear nations; risks of accidental nuclear attack are increasing, possibly exacerbated by Y2K; the possibility of nuclear terrorism grows daily; and more nations seek to join the "nuclear club."

Against this backdrop, does the elimination of nuclear weapons make the world a safer or more dangerous place? Is there anything ordinary citizens can do to affect existing U.S. and international nuclear weapons policies?

On May 13-14, respected local and national experts -- including the former commander of all U.S. strategic nuclear forces -- will come to the University of Pittsburgh to answer these questions.

"Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction: Why Not Nuclear Abolition?" is an unprecedented public forum to increase public awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons, promote public debate and encourage new thinking on the issue. Topics to be explored include the dangers and opportunities presented by nuclear arsenals; medical, religious and political aspects; and the public's role in deciding U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

Sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh, the League of Women Voters, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Pittsburgh, Rotary International-Pittsburgh, UPMC Health System and the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., the forum features an impressive array of national speakers and local experts that includes:

• General Lee Butler, U.S. Air Force (ret.), former commander of all U.S. strategic forces (1991-94) and now a leading advocate of nuclear abolition;

• Admiral Stansfield Turner, U.S. Navy (ret.), former director of the Central

Intelligence Agency under President Jimmy Carter;

• John Harvey, deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for U.S. nuclear forces policy, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.;

• Stephen Schwartz, publisher, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;

• Ira Helfand, former president, Physicians for Social Responsibility; emergency medicine department, Cooley Dickinson College;

• Bryan Hehir, professor, Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Center for International Affairs;

• Frank von Hippel, professor of public and international affairs, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Princeton University;

• John Rhinelander, vice chairman, Arms Control Association, and legal advisor to the SALT I delegation;

• Cathleen Fisher, director of study, Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, D.C.;

• Lachlan Forrow, president, The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School;

• Robert Musil, executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility;

• Michael Krepon, president, Henry L. Stimson Center; and

• Charles Glaser, professor and deputy dean of the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.

"This is an unprecedented public forum," said Dan Fine, M.D., one of the conference coordinators. "It brings together for the first time, we believe, the academic community, diverse civic organizations and citizens in Pittsburgh with national and local experts to provide broad sponsorship and audience to consider the critical public policy issue of the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War world."

Cost to attend the two-day conference including Thursday dinner and Friday lunch is $75. Arrangements can be made to attend part of the conference. For more information or to register, call 412-521-9043.

The centers and schools within Pitt involved are: Center for International Legal Education, School of Law; Graduate School of Public and International Affairs; Institute of Politics; Matthew B. Ridgway Center for Security Studies; School of Law; School of Medicine; School of Social Work, and the University Center for International Studies. Additional sponsors for this event include Pennsylvania Peace Links, Thomas Merton Center, United Nations Association of Pittsburgh, World Federalist Association of Pittsburgh and Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (U.S.)