Sandra Ionno Butcher, Pugwash History Project

Sandra Ionno Butcher, Executive Director

Sandra Ionno Butcher is executive director of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs , where she also serves as director of the Pugwash history project.  The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs is an international network that addresses the root problems of arms control and disarmament.  Sandy helps to organize private “Track II” meetings around the world that explore the interrelated issues of nuclear disarmament, non-military resolution of conflict, and the role of scientists. These meetings involve current and former policy makers and experts who participate in their personal capacities.  Pugwash projects focus on South Asia, the Greater Middle East, and the US/Europe, seeking to decrease the salience of nuclear weapons and to create the environment for an eventual nuclear-weapons-free world.  Sandy’s substantive meeting reports and other publications are widely read.  More information can be found at

In addition, Sandy was asked by Joseph Rotblat to write the history of the Pugwash Conferences.  Over the course of many years, she has conducted oral histories and research on the founding of the organization, from the famous Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955 (the last public statement from Albert Einstein calling on us all to “learn to think in a new way”), to the first meeting hosted by Cyrus Eaton in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, through to its sharing the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize with Joseph Rotblat.  Sandy writes and speaks publicly on the Pugwash history. She is a member of the Thinkers’ Lodge Advisory Committee and advises on substantive aspects of the ongoing national historic site restoration.

Sandy previously served as Senior Program Coordinator of Pugwash (international), Joint Executive Secretary of the British Pugwash Group, and a consultant for the International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts (Italian Pugwash).  She also served as interim research director and senior analyst for the British American Security Information Council, where she specialized on nuclear weapons issues, the arms trade and European security.  She first became involved with the Pugwash network through Student Pugwash.  She served as Student Pugwash USA’s national student activities coordinator and later she led the group for several years as its national executive director and was involved with the formation of the International Student/Young Pugwash (ISYP) network.  Through her work with the Student Pugwash network, both in the US and internationally, Sandy has extensive experience in seeking to engage young people in discussions on nuclear weapons issues, and other issues at the intersect of science and social responsibility.

She has an M.Litt. in strategic studies from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and a BA in history from Colgate University.  She is currently a Research Associate for the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS, University of London.  She has previously served as an honorary research associate at the University College London Science and Technology Studies Department.  Sandy grew up in New Jersey and spent nearly 18 years in Washington, DC.  She and her husband, Martin, and their two young boys currently live near London, England.