Nobel Peace Prize visits Nossal

On 6 October 2017, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons".

The citation refers to the historic UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted on 7 July 2017 by 122 nations, which provides the first international treaty-based comprehensive prohibition of nuclear weapons, based on the catastrophic consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and their humanitarian unacceptability.

ICAN was established through International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), itself a Nobel Peace laureate (1985), and its Australian affiliate, the Medical Association for Prevention of War in Australia. ICAN was founded in Melbourne, and first launched in Victoria’s Parliament House on 23 April 2007 by former prime minister and Nossal board member Malcolm Fraser. ICAN is the first Australian-born organisation to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. A number of other people associated with the university, including Prof Fred Mendelsohn, Prof John Langmore and Prof Richard Tanter, have made important contributions to ICAN, and the university and Nossal Institute have been host to a number of ICAN meetings and events, including ICAN’s first committee meeting.

A/Prof Tilman Ruff AM, who serves as a co-president of IPPNW, was a co-founder of ICAN and its founding international and Australian chair, and led the IPPNW delegation throughout the treaty negotiations in New York.