Join the Arms Control Negotiation Academy and Reimagine

International Security

Born out of the crisis of arms control, six institutions from the U.S., Russia, and Europe join forces and ask the next generation of arms control negotiators to meet the security challenges of our time.


The Arms Control Negotiation Academy (ACONA) is a 12-month, high-level professional development program for a competitively selected cohort of rising international security experts and practitioners. The ambitious training curriculum addresses critical historical case studies, technological know-how, and advanced negotiation skills in the realm of arms control. Participants earn a Certificate in Arms Control Negotiation and become part of ACONA’s network of next-generation arms control negotiators. Each year, ACONA recruits a new cohort of Fellows.


American, Russian, and European scholars are gravely concerned over the continuing disintegration of the global arms control architecture, including the recent collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty. “Scientists and civil society can and must play a leading role in creating new spaces for open dialogue to overcome this crisis,” said Harvard lecturer Arvid Bell, Director of the Negotiation Task Force and ACONA Executive Board member. “If we don’t act now, we could soon face a world without a single strategic arms control agreement for the first time since the 1960s.”

Born out of this crisis of arms control, ACONA is founded on the understanding that global security depends on constructive engagement between the United States and Russia as well as the broader international community. “We have to start from scratch and build a new generation of scholars, diplomats, and decision-makers who are familiar with the history, theory, and negotiation techniques of arms control,” said Professor Christopher Daase of Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, member of the ACONA Executive Board.

Each year, the Academy solicits applications worldwide to fill only sixteen spots in a competitive selection process. ACONA Fellows hail from different countries and have a diversity of professional and academic backgrounds. "I am delighted that so many smart young people are interested in learning more about negotiating arms control agreements. We will need them—their brains, expertise and enthusiasm—to go forward," said ACONA International Advisory Board member Rose Gottemoeller, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO.

Over the course of their one-year fellowship, ACONA Fellows acquire advanced negotiation skills, collaborate on international research projects, and meet with senior leaders. Among the leaders who participated in ACONA events were Anatoly Antonov (Ambassador of Russia to the United States) and Catherine Ashton (former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy). The Fellows’ research projects draw on insights from discussions with these experts to propose new and innovative ways of tackling complex arms control challenges.

Three times per year, Fellows meet virtually or in-person for week-long “Negotiation Boot Camps.” At least one of these intensive workshops takes place in Iceland. The small Nordic state has served as a neutral meeting place for one of the most important historic achievements in global diplomacy. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan met in Reykjavík in 1986 for productive talks that led to the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty.

“It's great to know that young people, some of whom were not even born when Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan met in Reykjavik, will be coming there to learn about the past and present of nuclear arms control and to discuss the future,” said Pavel Palazhchenko, ACONA International Advisory Board member. As Mikhail Gorbachev’s chief English interpreter, Palazhchenko participated in all U.S.-Soviet summits leading to the end of the Cold War, including the 1986 meeting between Gorbachev and Reagan in Höfði House, Reykjavík.

Other ACONA International Advisory Board members in addition to Gottemoeller and Palazhchenko are Professor William C. Potter, Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and Foreign Member to the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Russian Academy of Sciences member Alexei Arbatov, Head of the Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO).

ACONA is funded by Fondation "Avec et pour autres," the Negotiation Task Force, the Icelandic government, and the University of Iceland.

If you are interested in addressing some of the most pressing national security questions of our time, while engaging with fellow professionals and experts from around the world, find out more about how to apply for an ACONA Fellowship here.

The History and Public Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars focuses on the relationship between history and policy making. A leader in uncovering and publishing policy-relevant documentation, the Program works with a global network to build next-generation research capacity, foster dialogue and debate on history, and push for greater archival access.
Höfði Reykjavík Peace Centre, a collaborative effort of the City of Reykjavík and the University of Iceland, is a forum for international multidisciplinary cooperation, with an emphasis on the role of small states, cities and citizens in promoting peace. Höfði is the name of the house where Reagan and Gorbachev met in Reykjavík in 1986 and refers to the role Iceland played as a small non-militarized state in the conflict between two superpowers.
The Moscow State Institute of International Relations is Russia’s most revered educational institution with a wide range of educational programs and specializations. Enjoying an excellent reputation and high positions in academic ratings the University has built up a wide net of international contacts. The development of bilateral and multilateral contacts continues to be a key priority of the MGIMO strategy today.
National Research University Higher School of Economics, consistently ranked one of Russia’s top universities, is a leader in Russian education and one of the preeminent economics and social sciences universities in eastern Europe and Eurasia. Having rapidly grown into a well-renowned research university over two decades, HSE University sets itself apart with its international presence and cooperation.
The Negotiation Task Force at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University promotes innovative solutions to Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security challenges by creating spaces for cross-cultural negotiation research, training, and strategic analysis. The NTF pioneers new models for high-impact knowledge dissemination, trains practitioners in advanced negotiation skills, and builds long-term conflict management capacity.
The Peace Research Institute Frankfurt is one of the leading conflict resolution think tanks in Europe. PRIF scholars conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research with the pursuit of passing practical outcomes on to politics and society. The institute develops options of action and provides background information and analyses for ministries, parties, NGOs and companies. PRIF scholars advise politicians and expert committees, contribute to expert consultations, and participate in delegations and committees of the German Federal Foreign Office on European and international level.


Arms Control Negotiation Academy (ACONA)

Negotiation Task Force (NTF)

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Harvard University

1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

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