From 31 January – 2 February 2016 the Pugwash Secretary General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino and Executive Director Sandra Ionno Butcher visited Astana, Kazakhstan to explore possibilities for hosting the 62nd Pugwash Conference in Astana in 2017. The conference will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first Pugwash Conference, held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia in 1957. Cotta-Ramusino and Butcher met with high-level policy makers and academics, in a series of coridial discussions not only about the possibilities for the 2017 conference but also exploring the establishment of a national Pugwash group in Kazakhstan.
On 1 February, meetings were held with Chairman of the Senate Tokayev, UK Ambassador Kazykhanov and other Senate officials. Later in the day, Cotta-Ramusino and Butcher met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev and Head of Multilateral Policy Akan Rakhmetulin and other officials.
On 1-2 February they met with leading academics, scientists and scholars, including Minister of Education Aslan Sarinzhipov, L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University Rector Yerlan Sydykov, and Nazarbayev University Interim Provost Anne Lonsdale and other senior members of their university communities.
The visit was reported in national and local news, including this clip (in English) from Kazakh TV.