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The 10th Anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention (in NYC)

Updated on April 30, 2013

I was there to videotape it.

Back on October 8, 2007, I was assigned to cover a historic all day gathering, the Tenth Anniversary of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Symposium: Effective Multilateralism, which marked the multilateral disarmament treaty that bans chemical weapons and requires their destruction within a specified period of time.The convention entered into force on April 29, 1997.

Nearly a dozen ambassadors, academics and representatives from the United States and Europe came together for the meeting: sponsored by Columbia Law School, it took place in the grand Low Library at Columbia University.

The symposium included opening remarks from Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, the Director-General of the OPCW, and two sessions addressing successes and ongoing challenges, expectations, and more (see program line up below).

Like many other occasions I worked at over the years in New York City, I found it to be an amazing affair to witness, and as an event-specific paper ephemera and autograph collector, I tried to document it as much as I could. (And as a videographer, it was a lot of work too. One camera covering to large panel discussions is a little much. But I was very pleased with my results.)

And so, how did I do as a collector? Pretty good, if I say so myself.

I secured the signatures of every participant on the cover of an official CWC symposium program, the signature of Ambassador Pfirter alone on a second program, the table tent IDs from the opening session (including Pfirter), several pages of found handwritten notes (from three participants), and a copy of the updated schedule.

And take a look at those who participated:

  • Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter – Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • Ambassador Eric M. Javits – the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • Lori Fishler Damrosch - the Henry L. Moses Professor of International Law and Organization at Columbia Law School who served as moderator of the morning session,
  • Chris Shays - who at the time was U.S. Representative from Connecticut and a member of the House subcommittee on terrorism risk assessment
  • Ambassador Xue Hanqin – Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
  • Ambassador Donald A. Mahley – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Arms Control Implementation, Bureau for International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State
  • Richard Gardner - Professor of Law and International Organization at Columbia Law School and a Senior Counsel to the global Law firm Morgan Lewis who served as moderator of the second panel.
  • Ambassador Rolf Ekeus – Chairman of the Governing Board of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, former Ambassador to the U.S. from Sweden
  • The Honorable Annalisa Giannella – European Union High Reprensentative Javier Solana’s Personal Representative on Nonproliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Matthew S. Borman – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration

I also obtained the autograph of someone whom I failed to identify later, someone important who was pointed out in the audience and I sought out after the symposium concluded, or was added to the afternoon session. A Pete or Peter B. someone. Maybe I will find out who it was in the future.

Again, it was a thrill to be at and document this historic occasion like I did - both as a videographer and on paper. (And Columbia Law School has the video, so I cannot link you to it.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at the collection. And do tell others about it.

The autographed programs and schedule.

While at the symposium I heard Ambassador Pfirter is reponsible for the elimination of the most WMD in the entire world.
While at the symposium I heard Ambassador Pfirter is reponsible for the elimination of the most WMD in the entire world.

The handwritten notes left behind and first session ID cards.

Finding the handwritten notes was a real bonus.
Finding the handwritten notes was a real bonus.

A 2006 publication about the Chemical Weapons Convention...


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