Paolo Cotta-Ramusino has been Secretary General of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs (Nobel Peace Prize 1995) since August 2002. He is also Professor of Mathematical Physics at the University of Milano (Italy) and Senior Researcher at the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics. As a mathematical physicist he has been working on mathematical aspects of quantum field and string theories. In 1983, he co-founded the Italian Union of Scientists for Disarmament (USPID). He was formerly Director of the Program on Science, Technology and International Security at the Landau Network Centro Volta (Como). He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the World Academy of Art and Sciences. His research and teaching experience have included visiting positions at the University of North Carolina, CERN, and Harvard University. He received his doctorate (laurea) in physics in 1971 from the Università degli Studi di Milano.
As Secretary General of Pugwash he continued Pugwash’s tradition of addressing the need of eliminating nuclear weapons and more generally all WMDs. Preserving the basic principles of the NPT (disarmament, non proliferation and access to nuclear energy for all the member States) has been for Pugwash a significant priority. Moreover, by taking profit of the large experience accumulated over the years of the Cold War by Pugwash in promoting dialogue, track II meetings, and meetings of scientists and experts between opposing camps, Paolo Cotta-Ramusino directed Pugwash to promote several track II initiatives and meetings mixing experts with officials in critical regions where either nuclear weapons exist or a concern about nuclear proliferation has been developed. The idea is to promote in whatever ways possible, conflict resolution in those critical regions.
This has led Pugwash to deal extensively with the situation in the Middle East, South Asia and North East Asia in particular. For example Pugwash has been devoting much attention to the creation of a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East, in addressing the issue of dialogue in and on Palestine, in facilitating dialogue around the issued raised by the Iranian nuclear programs. Pugwash is also dedicating a significant part of its activity to the situation in South Asia, to the risks associated to the presence of nuclear weapons in that area and to the contentious issue of Kashmir.
Paolo Cotta-Ramusino is an internationally recognized expert on these issues, and regularly gives presentations on current topics in arms control, disarmament and conflict resolution at leading academic, research and governmental institutions, including recent talks, for example, at The International Institute of Strategic Studies, The Italian Parliament, Rome, The Royal Society, London, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, and the Stimson Center, Washington, DC, and the UK Parliament. He has been published in Le Monde, The Guardian, and other leading journals.