The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy began life in 1994, through the investigative work and monitoring of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) negotiations, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) developments carried out by Rebecca Johnson on behalf of an ‘Acronym Consortium’ of several NGOs. Following the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference, the consortium dissolved and in 1996 Dr Johnson established an independent NGO, which became the Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy.
The Acronym Institute had a founding role in the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. Following ICAN's founding in Australia in 2007, the Acronym Institute worked closely with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to establish ICAN in Geneva in 2010. Dr Johnson played a central role in the humanitarian strategies to persuade UN governments to negotiate the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As the founding President of ICAN in Geneva, she served as Co-Chair of ICAN's Core Group, together with Dr Tilman Ruff of IPPNW and Akira Kawasaki of Peace Boat until 2014. Following ICAN's internal restructuring, the Acronym Institute has continued to serve on the Campaign's International Steering Group (ISG). See Publications for a range of Dr Johnson's contemporaneous articles, presentations and book chapters on the development of ICAN's humanitarian initiatives to ban nuclear weapons.
ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, with Setsuko Thurlow (hibakusha survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb) and Beatrice Fihn (director of the Geneva office) publicly accepting the Award on 10 December 2017 on behalf of the ISG and network of over 500 NGOs, while Dr Johnson represented ICAN for Oslo's Torchlight Procession that evening. As announced by the Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the Nobel was awarded for ICAN's work "to draw attention to the catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons".
The Acronym Institute is accredited with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and has attended all meetings of the NPT and UN First Committee since 1994, as well as many meetings held in conjunction with WMD and conventional disarmament, women, peace and security, space and related security initiatives.
The Acronym Institute conducts research and acts as a capacity builder through the dissemination of ideas and campaign strategies to take forward:
- disarmament and security, from WMD to conventional armaments and trade;
- international treaties and law, including international humanitarian law;
- women, peace and security;
- environmental sustainability;
- transnational civil society and nonviolent activism;
- human security, rights and participation.
We organize and participate in meetings to promote disarmament and security, nonviolent solutions to conflicts and ways to reduce militarization and weapons build-ups. We engage with policy-makers and opinion-formers and assist in the education of the public and elected representatives on policies and negotiations to further the objectives of human security, peace and justice. See Publications to see a range of recent articles, presentations, books and chapters, and other resources relating to Acronym's work.
Our in-house journal, Disarmament Diplomacy, was published from 1996, becoming widely viewed as an essential resource for practitioners seeking news, documentation and analysis on disarmament, security and arms control negotiations until it was discontinued due to funding shortfalls in 2009. . Founded and edited by Dr Sean Howard until 2004, Disarmament Diplomacy was edited by Rebecca Johnson until 2009. As well as providing news and access to analyses by security and disarmament practitioners, diplomats and academics, the Acronym Institute published its own contemporaneous reports and analyses on relevant issues and developments.
At present we receive funding support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Network for Social Change, the Nuclear Education Trust and the Polden-Puckham Charitable Foundation. We are very grateful to all for their generous enabling of our projects, meetings, publications and other educational work.