September 2015
More Than How:
Remembering the Why

GSI eNewsletter

A Message from the President

Dear friends, 

One of the most inspiring and unique inclusions in this eNewsletter is a a short report about the first International Day of Yoga, held at the United Nations, where I had the profound pleasure of being an honored speaker as well as practicing a few asanas (postures) with not just the Secretary-General but also many top diplomats from several P5 countries and other governments.
Now at first, a story about diplomats practicing yoga may seem a long way from the abolition of nuclear weapons, but from my view, the issue of nuclear weapons is not only a national and global security issue of existential proportions, but also has a deeply spiritual dimension. Presently governments have committed in excess of $1 trillion to modernize nuclear arsenals and their delivery systems. This commitment to organizing so much energy in the pursuit of security by threatening such destruction is an affront to the spiritual values of every faith tradition. Yoga is not just about exercise but involves cultivating a deep harmony with nature, other lives and the mystery that gives us life. The texts of this ancient tradition emphasize that it is through the cultivation of compassion that that the mind is brought into harmony.

How can people without peace in their own hearts and minds lead in bringing peace into the world? When we forget the deeper purposes of our own lives, how can we guide institutions to fulfill their most human purposes? Without clarity of purpose it is so easy to become distracted by the mechanics of institutions and forget core purposes - the how overtakes the why.

The why of our institutions must always involve the elimination of suffering and enhancement of lives. This is particularly so in the realm of the pursuit of peace and security where current distortions have led to the production of a weapons system, nuclear weapons, which demonstrates the absurd. The more the weapon is improved the less security is obtained. We have achieved an improved means to an  unimproved end.
In all endeavors the how must follow the why. Without such clarity we find law without justice, art without beauty, business in the pursuit of capital without  providing goods or useful services, philosophy without the pursuit of truth, medicine without healing, education without character, and religion without love and transcendence. 

Bringing the qualities of peace and compassion into our reflections, intentions and actions is transformative. That is why it was simply amazing to be meditating at the United Nations. 

This  eNewsletter also contains some evidence of how GSI and our partners are continuing to bring such qualities into transformative action. We hope you will join us. 

Very truly yours,

Jonathan Granoff

United Nations Hosts International Yoga Day
On June 21, 2015, the United Nations hosted the first ever International Day of Yoga. The official Indian government estimate cites an audience size in India alone of at least 500 million people and global participation of nearly 2 billion in over 190 countries and more than 240 cities.

Secretary-General Ban with GSI President Jonathan Granoff
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the largest yoga demonstration in history from Delhi: "I believe that from the 21st of June, through the International Day of Yoga, it is not just the beginning of a day but the beginning of a new age through which we will achieve greater heights of peace, good will and train the human spirit." At the United Nations Headquarters Secretary-General delivered opening remarks , followed by various dignitaries which included an inspiring presentation by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii  (who introduced a resolution to the House of Representatives for International Yoga Day) and  and GSI President, Jonathan Granoff, as well as relaxed yoga asanas (postures) and a meditation led by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In his remarks, which can be found in their entirety below, Mr. Granoff stressed the importance of yoga and its wisdom as it relates to not just personal enrichment, but also the health of relations amongst nations. 

"Not only is [this] ethical and spiritual truth good for our personal lives but when nations treat other nations accordingly, stability, security, and peace result," he said. "It is time for a United Nations yoga: Nations must treat other nations as they wish to be treated." 
Image courtesy of Huffington Post
Yoga enthusiasts under the Eiffel Tower. Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

The formality of this process should not be overlooked, The 69 th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted by acclamation draft Resolution A/69/L.17 in December 2014, establishing June 21 of each year as The International Day of Yoga. The resolution received with a record number of 177 out of 193 member states co-sponsoring.

Middle Powers Initiative

Hon. Tarja Cronberg to Lead MPI
On May 13, the Middle Powers Initiative announced that Hon. Tarja Cronberg assumed the position of MPI Chair.

Dr. Cronberg has held numerous senior positions in the Finnish government and the European Parliament, where she chaired the delegation for relations with Iran. Dr. Cronberg has also served as Finland's Minister of Labor and as Special Advisor on Nuclear Disarmament for the Finnish Institute for International Affairs.

She is also a Co-President of the network of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.





Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament
PNND Member Mogens Lykketoft elected
President of the UN General Assembly



On June 15, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously elected Mogens Lykketoft, Denmark's former parliament speaker and foreign minister, as president of its 70th anniversary session.


Lykketoft, who is also a member of PNND, was elected by acclamation. Diplomats from the UN's 193 member states burst into applause when current assembly president, Sam Kutesa of Uganda, announced the result.





OSCE Parliamentary body highlights nuclear threats,
supports humanitarian pledge
Voting in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Helsinki. Photo courtesy of Hanne Salonen/Parliament of Finland.
On the 40th  anniversary of the signing of the Helsinki Document establishing the  Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe , the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted a comprehensive resolution on security in Europe covering a range of issues including human rights, environment, armed conflicts, territorial violations and aggression, terrorism and gender equality.

The parliamentary assembly, which includes the  parliaments of the 56 OSCE member countries , agreed to four amendments on nuclear-risk-reduction and disarmament submitted by PNND Co-President Christine Muttonen (Austria).

In an  informal background paper to the OSCE members, PNND discussed the increased nuclear threat postures arising from the Ukraine conflict, the risks of nuclear weapons being used as a result of conflict escalation or accident, the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and current initiatives including the Humanitarian Pledge and the call for a renewed UN Open Ended Working Group to take forward nuclear disarmament negotiations.

The amendment on the  Humanitarian Pledge was the most contested of the proposals, with a split vote of 29 delegations in favour, 16 against and 10 abstaining. Although this highlights a difference of opinion on the value of such a pledge, the vote in favour was much stronger than current support from OSCE governments, only 7 of which have endorsed (Andorra, Austria, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Malta and San Marino). The outcome of the vote could therefore help build support for the pledge from some of the governments that have not yet endorsed.

Timo Kantola (Finland Foriegn Ministry), Tarja Cronberg and Christine Muttonen speak at the PNND side-event 
The fact that the other three amendments were adopted with overwhelming majorities gives optimism that the calls in these amendments, i.e. a reduction in nuclear threat postures, the adoption of no-first-use policies, and the establishment of a UN process to take forward nuclear disarmament negotiations, have widespread support from the OSCE parliaments and therefore a good chance to influence policy and for implementation.

PNND followed up the adoption of these amendments with a roundtable lunch discussion of OSCE member parliaments on  Diplomacy, the United Nations and Nuclear Threats: Europe and the Middle East. The roundtable focused on the role that parliamentarians can play to advance the humanitarian initiative, support diplomatic solutions to nuclear-related conflicts, and support multilateral negotiations to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world. Also discussed was how to increase public and parliamentary awareness of this issue, with a plan to support the International Screening Week of the movie 'The Man who Saved the World' (all delegations were moved by the  movie trailer that was shown at the lunch event). 

Legislators and religious leaders join forces for nuclear abolition
Mr Kazumi Matsui, Mayor of Hiroshima, after delivering Hiroshima Peace Address on the 70th anniversray of the nuclear bomb.
On August 6, 2015, in Hiroshima, religious leaders, mayors, and parliamentarians gathered in Hiroshima and released a joint statement commemorating the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the establishment of the United Nations. 

"We join together to highlight the continuing risks of a nuclear catastrophe - whether by accident, miscalculation or intent - and the moral and security imperative to achieve nuclear abolition," said Rev Sugitani, Chair of the Religions for Peace Standing Commission on Disarmament and Security.   

"Nearly 16,000 nuclear weapons remain in the world's arsenals costing $100 billion annually - funds that could instead be used to implement the Sustainable Development Goals," said Mr Saber Chowdhury MP, Co-President of PNND and President of the Inter Parliamentary Union. "We reaffirm UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's description of the abolition of nuclear weapons as a "common good of the highest order."

For more from our network of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, visit them online at
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Conference 
On April 24, 2015, GSI President Jonathan Granoff delivered a presentation on behalf of civil society at the Third Conference of States Parties and Signatories to Treaties that Establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones and Mongolia. 

Watch his remarks:












Learn more about NWFZs 




The Iran Deal 
"We should be grateful to the diplomats for ensuring no further proliferation of nuclear weapons in a volatile region," wrote GSI President Jonathan Granoff after the US, EU, Iran, Russia, China, UK, France, and Germany inked the historic deal on July 14, 2015. 

"The intensity of cooperation we saw in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capacity will be needed to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals, which will be adopted later this year at the United Nations. It is time that we worked to achieve our common good and not place our national perspectives in its way. In truth the goods of nations and the whole earth are aligned," he wrote. 

That op/ed was the second recent piece published by Mr. Granoff in the Huffington Post on the subject on Iran. An earlier op/ed, titled "The Iran Deal is a Terrible Blow... for War Profiteers," identifies that the most vocal opponents of the deal-- in the US and Iran-- are the ones who would profit most from a failure to negotiate and an ensuing war.




Inspiration and Illumination at the United Nations
The Global Security Institute is profoundly honored to have co-hosted with the Holy See a remarkably inspirational event at the United Nations on April 9, 2015. Titled "Nuclear Weapons and the Moral Compass," the event included a riveting panel of leaders in the Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, diplomatic, and interfaith communities, as well as two enchanting performances by world-renown cellist, Michael Fitzpatrick. 

TIME published a detailed report of this event in its recent piece highlighting Pope Francis' leadership on this issue. 

We believe that amplifying a morally-based call for nuclear weapons abolition is both politically efficacious as well as the right thing to do. We are inspired by the outstanding leadership demonstrated by Pope Francis, who issued his unequivocal, urgent call for nuclear disarmament in December, as part of the Holy See's " Nuclear Disarmament: A Time for Abolition."

Speakers included: H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza of the Holy See, Ms. Virginia Gamba of UNODA, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan of the Philippines, Jonathan Granoff, Bishop William Swing of the United Religions Initiative, Dr. William Vendley of Religions for Peace, Tyler Wigg Stevenson of the World Evangelical Alliance, Rabbi Peter Knobel of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, H.E. Bishop Oscar Cantu of the US Conference of Bishops, and Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid of the Parliament of the World's Religions.

Watch the Event:

President Obama: A Chance to Lead
On the eve of the 2015 Review Conference of States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Huffington Post  published the following article by Jonathan Granoff, calling for President Barack Obama to go beyond reiterated rhetorical support for a nuclear weapon-free world and seize the leadership reigns to make real progress toward our shared goals. 

The University of Oxford Hosts "Peace and the UN at 70" 
On May 9, 2015, OxPeace hosted its seventh annual Conference at the University of Oxford, devoting this year's gathering to the discussion of "Peace and the UN at 70." 

T he Oxford Network of Peace Studies (OxPeace) is a multi-disciplinary initiative to promote the academic study of peace, peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping at the University of Oxford, and comprises scholars and students from a variety of disciplines. 

T he speakers at this year's conference included Edward Mortimer, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Director of Communications, and Hilde Johnson, former Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan and former Deputy Executive Director for UNICEF. 

GSI President Jonathan Granoff joined the conference as a panelist discussing "Peace and the Proposed UN Sustainable Development Goals," and spoke on what we must do to ensure development, sustainability and non-proliferation goals can be met. 

"If the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals and the commitments made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the entire United Nations system is to go forward - there needs to be a recognition of the universal, global, ethical norms based on the golden rule," he said. 

" The idea that we would have multiple tiers of societies with different sets of laws is simply unsustainable and the place where that fissure in equity is most prominent is in the issue of nuclear weapons." 

To hear Mr. Granoff's remarks in their entirety, listen to the podcast