February 23, 2017
On Friday, February 17, 2017, the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Jose, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies hosted a reception and special seminar delivered by Ambassador Joel Hernandez, Director General for the UN System at the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs. These events were held to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, which is also known as the Treaty of Tlatelolco. Opened for signature on February 14, 1967, the Treaty established the first nuclear-weapon-free zone in a densely populated area and prohibits the testing, use, manufacture, production, or acquisition of 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. CNS founding director Dr. William Potter and CNS research associate Sarah Bidgood spent the beginning part of the week in Mexico City attending international events recognizing the Treaty’s anniversary.
The events in Monterey began with a reception in the Samson Student Center Reading Room, where attendees perused photographs of the Treaty’s negotiation, signing, and entry into force that are currently on display in that space. Dr. Potter, Ambassador Hernandez, and Consul General Mauricio Toussaint then delivered welcome remarks while renowned local musician William Faulkner performed traditional Jalisco harp music. The seminar itself, which took place at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, began with an informative video about the Treaty followed by an introduction by Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute Dr. Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson. Ambassador Hernandez, who traveled from Mexico City for this event, then delivered his talk, which emphasized the importance of the Treaty not only to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation but international peace and security more generally. He noted in particular Mexico’s long and committed role in achieving a world free of nuclear weapons, and he spoke about its active engagement in new efforts to advance this objective. Both Ambassador Hernandez and Dr. Dayton-Johnson both spoke in a mixture of Spanish and English, giving the Translation and Interpretation graduate students who interpreted the event ample practice.
Following Ambassador Hernandez’ presentation, Dr. William Potter, CNS founding director, moderated a lively question and answer session that gave MIIS students and faculty, as well as members of the Monterey community, the opportunity to explore topics ranging from US-Mexico relations to upcoming negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. After the event, attendees once again gathered in the Samson Student Center Reading Room to converse informally with the Ambassador and one another over traditional Mexican hors d’oeuvres.
The exhibition of photographs relating to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which is open to the public in the Samson Center Reading Room, will run through February 24th.