In post 9/11 world, securing nuclear materials and safeguarding them from non-governmental actors is as important as
ever. In 2010, President Obama hosted 50 world leaders in Washington, DC at the Nuclear Security Summit.
The gathering was the largest of world leaders since the creation of the United Nations in 1945. Joyce Connery, the current Director for Nuclear Energy Policy at the National Security Council, played a critical role in organizing the event and setting its agenda. Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER spoke with her about the work she did which lead to her being a Service to America Medal finalist.
The summit was successful in that there were actual policy commitments made. At the summit, there was a three tiered results-oriented approach to work towards the goal of international nuclear security. A communiqué was pulled together which was essentially a commitment to the principles of addressing the threat of nuclear terrorism. Second, there was a work-plan with ideas on how to get there.
Lastly, attending leaders made “house gifts”, which were measures they have taken or plan to take to address nuclear security which would be something like ratifying a UN Convention. Importantly, 90% of the commitments made at the Summit have been met.
Science and technology are two areas which are still male-dominated, and fortunately that is slowly changing. Joyce told Chris Dorobek that there’s growing opportunities in the hard sciences for women, and it’s important for women to
step up to the plate and take leadership in them. Future female leaders should make sure to take some of those math and science courses to see if it’s of interest so they can break into those types of jobs. She also noted that it feels great to know that there are people out there recognizing the extraordinary work of government employees, especially when the media seems to only focus on the negative.