Senator John Heinz


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The Heinz Awards


Richard Lugar + Sam Nunn

On occasion, the Heinz Awards program receives nominations of individuals whose records of achievement are worthy of special recognition, which is bestowed in the form of the Chairman's Medal. This year, two individuals - Richard G. Lugar and Sam Nunn - have been selected to be so honored for their visionary leadership to reduce the threat of nuclear chaos and calamity.

Richard G. Lugar, a five-term senator from Indiana and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sam Nunn, a former senator from Georgia and the current co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, developed a far-sighted program that led to the dismantling of thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads and helped protect weapons of mass destruction from reaching hostile groups.

Recognizing the lingering post-Cold War threat posed by stockpiles of nuclear weapons, U.S. Senators Lugar and Nunn created in 1991 the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, an innovative initiative that accelerated the disarming of nuclear weapons. While politically risky, the two senators forged a bipartisan congressional coalition that ultimately authorized $400 million for the purpose of dismantling Soviet weaponry, which numbered tens of thousands of nuclear warheads at the time.

Twelve years later, the impact of the Nunn-Lugar program has been significant. It is credited with deactivating over 6,000 nuclear warheads. It has destroyed 515 ballistic missiles, 441 ballistic missile silos, 115 bombers, 400 submarine-launched missiles, 408 submarine missile launchers and 27 strategic missile submarines. More than 20,000 Russian scientists, formerly employed in weapons of mass destruction programs, are now pursuing peaceful research. Because of the program, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus - once the third, fourth and eighth-largest nuclear powers in the world - are today nuclear-free nations.

Congress has now given the green light to destroying Russian chemical weapons under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and - for the first time - authorized the emergency expansion of the program outside the former Soviet Union. Believing that the United States must have the ability to identify all weapons of mass destruction and the capabilities to guard and systematically destroy them, it is hoped that the success of Nunn-Lugar will be replicated in such global hotspots as North Korea and Iran and help reduce tensions in Pakistan and India.

Senator Nunn, who retired from the Senate in 1996, founded and serves as the co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a charitable organization working to reduce the global threat from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Last year, NTI sponsored a conference in Moscow for American and Russian experts on nuclear and biological weapons at which Senators Nunn and Lugar called for the creation of a Global Coalition Against Catastrophic Terrorism. The G-8 industrialized nations subsequently agreed to commit $20 billion over the next 10 years to form such a coalition.

"Victory in this war can be succinctly stated. We must keep the world's most dangerous technologies out of the hands of the world's most dangerous people. This requires diligent work that shrinks the lists of nations harboring terrorists, voluntarily or involuntarily, and those nations that possess materials, programs or weapons of mass destruction. Both lists should be clear and finite. The war against terrorism will not be over until all nations on the lists have complied with these standards," Senator Lugar said.

The courageous leadership of these two global statesmen has helped to significantly diminish the threat of nuclear catastrophe. We - and peaceful nations around the world - are in their debt.

Note: This profile is excerpted from the commemorative brochure published at the time of the awards' presentation.


November 2013 - Former Sen. Richard Lugar received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, given to those who have made significant contributions to national security, world peace or cultural developments. President Barack Obama praised the Indiana Republican for making the world safer and for being a pragmatic voice in a time of "unrelenting partisanship." "Dick Lugar’s decency, his commitment to bipartisan problem solving, stand as a model of what public service ought to be." - The Indianpolis Star

December 2010 - Former Sen. Sam Nunn will be the first recipient of the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage from Georgia Tech. The award honors those who advocate for "clear moral principles" and have affected public debate "at the risk of their own careers, livelihoods and even their lives," officials said. It comes with a $100,000 prize. - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

December 2009 - U.S. Senator Dick Lugar has been named one of the 25 greatest public servants over the past 25 years by the Council for Excellence in Government. The 25 Great Public Servants were selected by a committee of Council Trustees for their outstanding leadership in government at all levels and they example they set for up and coming public servants across the country.

July 2006
- Lugar receives the Lewis-Houghton Award for Conscience, Courage, and Compassion for his aid to apartheid South Africa, his dedication to destroying the threat of weapons of mass destruction, and his staunch energy policies. The award was presented to Lugar by the Faith and Politics Institute at its 15th anniversary event. - United States Senate

May 2006 - Lugar's newest program, the Lugar-Obama Act, heads to the Senate floor. The act is "modeled after the Nunn-Lugar program that focuses on weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union," and was created with the cooperation of Senator Barack Obama. The Lugar-Obama Act will "expand the cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons," and also grant the State Department more "ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction." - Congressional Press Releases

March 2006 - Nunn appears before Congress to urge a very close look at potential nuclear pact with India. He warns that the pact could "lead to the spread of weapons-grade nuclear material, unleash a regional arms race with China and Pakistan, and make it more difficult for the United States to win support for sanctions against nuclear renegades such as Iran and North Korea." - The Washington Post

November 2005 - Lugar is honored with the Commander Medal of the Ouissan Alaouite Order "for his successful efforts in August to release the final 404 Moroccan prisoners of war held in Algeria." He was presented with the award by the Moroccan Ambassador to the United States and the freed prisoners themselves. - United States Senate

October 2005 - Lugar receives the first annual Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award "for his long bipartisan work to promote the development of democratic institutions in the world and free and fair elections." The award was sponsored by the International Foundation for Election Systems. - United States Senate

September 2005 - Lugar receives an award from the National Farmers Union. The Golden Triangle Award went to Lugar for his contributions to agriculture in America and his renewable fuels agenda. - United States Senate

September 2005 - The Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program successfully "transported 124 samples of 62 unique strains of causative agents of plague, anthrax, cholera, and other dangerous diseases" from Azerbaijan to Washington, D.C. This cooperation between the United States government and the government of Azerbaijan shows how eager both countries are to "rapidly detect, diagnose and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, whether naturally occurring or as a result of bio-terrorism." - U.S. Fed News

August 2005 - Nunn receives the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the American Philosophical Society. The medal honors his "distinguished public service," and more specifically his "devotion to the reduction of global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons." - Buzz Words

July 2005 - The Nunn-Lugar program's newest amendment, the Defense Authorization Bill, is approved by a Senate vote of 78-19. The new bill will "remove congressionally imposed restrictions that complicate or delay the implementation of the Nunn-Lugar program, which destroys weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union." - U.S. Fed News

November 2004 - Lugar is honored at the Africare Bishop John T. Walker Memorial Dinner. Africare is "the oldest and largest African-American organization specializing in aid to Africa," and recognized Senator Lugar for his Congressional agendas and engagement with Africa. - Africare

October 2004 - Lugar releases his latest book entitled Letters to the Next President. The book, in letterform, advises the future political figureheads of America on a decisive course of action concerning our country's future foreign policy.

April 2004 - Nunn signs on as a strategic advisor to Decru, Inc. Decru is "the leader in networked storage security," and Nunn will be working with its "management, partners, and customers to accelerate the adoption of Decru's groundbreaking technologies." - PR Newswire

March 2004 - Nunn receives the Ivan Allen Award from Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College. Nunn was at Georgia Tech to speak about the future of nuclear technology and its potential for global disaster. - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

December 2003 - Nunn announces that he will retire from King and Spalding, the prestigious Atlanta law firm that he's been with for the past seven years. His retirement is due to a new federal law that limits his position on the boards of companies like Coca-Cola and ChevronTexaco, who are clients of King and Spalding. - The Associated Press

Richard Lugar + Sam Nunn