The board of trustees, president, staff, and the entire Carnegie Corporation of New York community extend deepest condolences to the family of Senator Richard G. Lugar, who died peacefully on April 28, at the age of 87, due to complications from a neurological disorder. A longstanding partner in the foundation’s international peace and security mission, Lugar was the first recipient of the Nunn-Lugar Award for Promoting Nuclear Security, which was established in 2012 with our sister-institution Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In the 1980s the Corporation’s Avoiding Nuclear War program funded research and related groundwork that led to the landmark Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program in 1991, commonly known as the “Nunn-Lugar program” after the bipartisan efforts of Senator Lugar of Indiana and his Democratic counterpart, Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia. During a politically dangerous time, the legislation ultimately authorized $500 million for dismantling more than 7,500 Soviet nuclear warheads, neutralizing chemical weapons, and redirecting the work of weapons scientists and engineers in the former Soviet republics.

“The United States and indeed the world owe Senator Richard Lugar a debt of gratitude for his visionary leadership, which resulted in one of the most important nuclear security measures in the post-Cold War era, and embodied the peacebuilding legacy of our founder, Andrew Carnegie,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “One of the qualities that impressed me most about Senator Lugar was his profound understanding of the major issues and challenges facing the international community, as well as the loyalty and love of country that he demonstrated time and time again throughout his long and dedicated service to the United States, its people, and its Constitution. He had an invaluable ally in Senator Sam Nunn. Their partnership inspired our Nunn-Lugar award, which seeks to acknowledge those statesmen and leaders, both civil and military, who are committed to strengthening global security and peaceful coexistence among nation states by preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reducing the risk of their use.”


(l–r) Former defense secretary William J. Perry, recipient of the 2016 Nunn-Lugar Award, with former senators Lugar and Nunn, at a presentation marking the 25th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar legislation, hosted by the National Security Archive, a Corporation grantee whose research focuses on the landmark Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. Perry’s fellow honoree, General Evgeny Maslin, was unable to attend the event. (Photo: Celeste Ford)


The first award was given in 2012 to its namesakes.  In his acceptance, Senator Lugar said, “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.”

The Nunn-Lugar Award is given jointly by Carnegie Endowment of International Peace and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, it carries a $50,000 prize. Read about the 2016 and 2018 honorees.

Senator Lugar was a founding and active member of the board of directors of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a Corporation grantee, where Senator Nunn currently serves as cochair. “Our nation has lost an extraordinary statesman who made the world a safer and better place,” said Nunn in a statement. “I have lost a wonderful friend and trusted partner. Dick Lugar treated every person with dignity and respect. This generation and future generations can learn much from his example in the political world and in life.”

Read the obituaries in The Washington Post and The New York Times, and a tribute to Senator Lugar and David A. Hamburg from The Aspen Institute.

Senator Sam Nunn (l) with Senator Richard Lugar, his “wonderful friend and trusted partner,” in 2016 (Photo: Celeste Ford)