The Legacy of George P. Shultz

December 7, 2021
12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. EST
Location: Online Zoom Webinar

On February 6, 2021, George P. Shultz, one of this country’s most distinguished public servants, passed away at age 100. Shultz had served in three U.S. administrations as secretary of labor, director of the Office of Management and Budget, secretary of the Treasury, and secretary of state. After the 1986 Reykjavik Summit, he led negotiations with the Soviet Union that led in December 1987 to the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Inspired by those events, Shultz spent much of his retirement working for nuclear disarmament, culminating in 2007 with his appeal with other senior American statesmen for nuclear abolition. With former Secretary of Defense William Perry, he also engaged religious leaders, including hosting colloquia on Catholic approaches to nuclear disarmament in 2014 and 2018.

This panel explored the legacy of Secretary Shultz especially with respect to his efforts to create the conditions necessary for a world without nuclear weapons. Panelists also discussed Shultz’s approach to diplomacy and statecraft with its commitment to long-term goals and pragmatic short-term engagement with adversaries, analyzing his ideas about a global commons and the need to manage threats to humanity through international mechanisms. Finally, the panelists identified lessons we can learn from Shultz’s achievements and shared their thoughts about the future of nuclear disarmament and the abolition campaign.

This event was hosted by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs in partnership with the Catholic Peacebuilding Network; Catholic University of America's Institute for Policy Research; and the William J. Perry Project. This was one of a series of initiatives of the Project on Revitalizing Catholic Engagement on Nuclear Disarmament.

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