Drawing its inspiration from the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955, which urged leaders of the world to “think in a new way”: to renounce nuclear weapons, to “remember their humanity” and to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them.”
Through meetings and projects that bring together scientists, experts, and policy makers, Pugwash focuses on those problems that lie at the intersection of science and world affairs. Pugwash’s main goals remain to seek the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, to reduce the risk of war especially in areas where weapons of mass destruction are present and may be used, and to discuss new scientific and technological developments that may bring more instability and heighten the risk of conflicts.
Pugwash objectives also include the reduction and strict control of conventional weaponry with the general goal in mind of eliminating war and other forms of armed conflict. The Pugwash agenda also may include other critical issues at the intersection of science and society, including climate change, environmental deterioration, and resource scarcity and unequal access, which are deplorable in themselves and which give rise to resentment, hostility, and violence throughout the world.
These objectives of Pugwash are pursued through debate, discussion, and collaborative analysis – in an atmosphere of impartiality and mutual respect – in periodic general conferences, in specialized workshops and study groups, and through special projects carried out by small teams or individuals on well-defined topics. The resulting ideas and proposals are communicated to decision-makers and the general public through Pugwash website and publications, open letters to heads of government from the Pugwash leadership, press conferences, and – above all – from the personal interactions of individual Pugwash participants with political leaders and opinion makers.