by GLOBAL NETWORK COORDINATOR BRUCE GAGNON
On April 25, the Global Network sponsored a panel discussion at the United Nations. The panel was organized by our new U.N. representative Janet Cuevas and she did a great job of ensuring that NGO representatives from around the world came to the event.
The panel was facilitated by Alice Slater and included Karl Grossman, Bruce Gagnon, and Dr. Rashi Mayur from India. About 100 persons attended in all, including representatives from several U.N. missions. It was the largest of any NGO panel that I saw during my time at the U.N.'s NPT Review Conference.
We also received word while there that our GN application for official NGO status had been approved by the U.N. Janet got the necessary paperwork filled out so that her, Karl and I could get permanent NGO passes.
On April 28 I traveled to Hartford, CT for a day of speaking. In the morning I spoke to 50 people at a retirment village, followed by an exciting talk to a government class at a local high school and that evening I did a talk to ver 60 people at an art center.
On April 30 I returned to New York for a day long meeting of Abolition 2000. Over 50 people from around the world were present at this meeting that spent much of the day dealing with organizational issues. The Global Network is listed as the convenor of the space weapons working group and I gave a brief report on our recent DC events and our up-coming May 1-15, June 26, and October 7 actions.
There is growing interest and support around space issues, especially surrounding the BMD issue and its implications for arms control. Quite a few people pressed for Abolition 2000 to make the BMD issue a top priority for their whole network while others (especially those outside the U.S.) urged that no single focus be adopted but instead that local groups be allowed to remain focused on issues most relevant in their communities/regions.
In the end no single focus was adopted but it was clear as I left the meeting that many local and national organizations will begin to increase their work on Star Wars.
Since returning home I am catching up on e-mails and snail mail and bookkeeping. Next week I will begin work on our next newsletter. And I will be working hard in coming weeks to highlight our call for local actions on/before June 26 around the Vandenberg AFB NMD test. I will be organizing a protest on June 24 at Cape Canaveral AFB.