Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar First Recipients of Nuclear Security Award Created in Their Honor

Grantees in this story

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn are the first recipients of a new international award created in their honor to recognize individuals or institutions dedicated to advancing the cause of nuclear security.

The award is cosponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic foundation, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an international think tank, to mark the occasion of their centennials. Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation, and Corporation trustees presented the award to Senator Lugar and former Senator Nunn at the Peace Palace in The Hague.

The Nunn–Lugar Award for Promoting Nuclear Security will be awarded every two years by Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment to an individual or institution whose work has resulted in clear, discernible progress toward strengthening global security and peaceful co-existence among nations by preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reducing the risk of their use. The award, which carries a $50,000 prize, is a tribute to Andrew Carnegie, who dedicated much of his philanthropy to the goal of achieving world peace and built the Peace Palace as a symbol of his faith in the ultimate realization of that goal. 

Senator Richard Lugar and Senator Sam Nunn authored the Nunn–Lugar Act in 1991, establishing the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR). The program sought to help the states of the former Soviet Union safeguard and dismantle their enormous stockpiles of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, related materials, and delivery systems.

The CTR program reduced the spread of nuclear weapons by helping former Soviet republics meet arms-control treaty requirements such as START (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). With CTR funding, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Belarus became non-nuclear weapons states. The program also helped to improve the safety and security of facilities housing biological weapons under the Cooperative Biological Threat Reduction program.

Since its creation, CTR has contributed to the deactivation of more than 7,500 nuclear warheads, neutralized chemical weapons, safeguarded fissile materials, converted weapons facilities for peaceful use, mitigated bio-threats, and redirected the work of former weapons scientists, and engineers, among other efforts.

“I cannot think of two individuals more deserving of this recognition than Senators Nunn and Lugar,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation. “Not only is the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program one of the most important pieces of legislation in the latter half of the 20th century, it is also one of the most important nuclear security measures taken by the world up to that point,” he said. “The passage of this landmark legislation was the beginning of Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar’s quest for global action to reduce nuclear danger and build support for ending reliance on nuclear weapons, avoiding their spread and eventually, eliminating them as a threat to the world. We all owe Senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar an enormous debt of gratitude.”

Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment, said, “Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar displayed clear-eyed and bipartisan leadership to quickly mobilize U.S. government energy and resources. They worked with Russia to contain the risk of loose nukes in a cooperative manner almost unimaginable today. Individuals and leadership do matter. That is why it is important to honor these two gentlemen who helped begin and then steadfastly promoted a model of cooperative security.”

The award ceremony is being held at the Peace Palace on the eve of its centennial. To honor that centennial, the Yale Global Constitutionalism Seminar is meeting this year in The Hague for the first time. The seminar is an annual gathering of the world’s leading jurists brought together by Yale Law School and the Gruber Foundation to freely and confidentially discuss the most important legal issues of the day. Those attending this year’s seminar include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan; Geert Corstens, president of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands; Robert Post, dean of Yale University’s law school; and other prominent international jurists and scholars.

About the Award

The Nunn–Lugar Award for Promoting Nuclear Security will be awarded biennially by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to an individual or institution whose work has resulted in clear, discernible progress toward strengthening global security and peaceful co-existence among nations by preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reducing the risk of their use. The award is a tribute to Andrew Carnegie, who dedicated much of his philanthropy to the goal of achieving world peace. The award carries a $50,000 prize.

Comments from Award Recipients

“The honor of receiving this award soars because of the immense credibility of the organizations and the individual with whom I share it. To be given an award for nuclear security from the Carnegie Corporation and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, to receive it alongside my friend and partner Senator Richard Lugar, and to have the award named for the two of us, is a thrilling affirmation of much of my life’s work. To say that Carnegie was “present at the creation” of Nunn-Lugar would be an understatement. With its influential work to reduce nuclear dangers before Nunn-Lugar was passed, Carnegie was among the creators. I am both honored by the award and excited about the future as these outstanding organizations remind the world again through this award how urgent it is, for the sake of peace and the survival of humanity, that we accelerate our efforts.” — Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, Co-Chairman and CEO, the Nuclear Threat Initiative

“The Nunn-Lugar program is a triumph measured in more than the hundreds of missiles, thousands of warheads, tons of chemical weapons, and scores of biological pathogens now under lock and key or destroyed.  It has been the basis upon which the United States has found constructive means to engage former adversaries and new partners, united by a common vision and desire to detect and defeat new threats.” — U.S. Senator Richard Lugar

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy. 

About the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Founded in 1910, the Carnegie Endowment is America’s oldest international affairs think tank. Carnegie is in the process of building the world’s first truly global think tank, with research centers in Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Beirut, and Brussels.

The Peace Palace

The Peace Palace in The Hague is home to a number of international judicial institutions, including the International Court of Justice, or World Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Peace Palace Library, as well as The Hague Academy of International Law. The Palace, the premises on which it stands, and the Library are the property of the Carnegie Stichting (the Netherlands).

Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights

The Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women's Rights is a Yale University Program administered by Yale Law School and consisting of three core components: the Global Constitutionalism Seminar, the Gruber Distinguished Lectures in Global Justice and Women's Rights, and the Gruber Global Justice and Women's Rights Fellowships.

Background

Backgrounder: Carnegie Corporation of New York and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Investments in Nuclear Security