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January 8, 2012

Reykjavik by Richard Rhodes in Stanford – May 2012!

Just over twenty-five years ago the world’s two nuclear superpowers meet at Reykjavik , Iceland to discuss an agenda of limited nuclear arms reduction and human rights.  President Ronald Reagan of the United States of America, and President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and their respective staffs soon abandoned the proposed agenda and the talks transformed into a discussion of the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  For such a topic to be seriously considered by such leaders was unheard of in 1986.  Unfortunately, it is still twenty years after the end of the cold war.  What were Reagan and Gorbachev thinking for those brief hours at Reykjavik?  What was in their hearts and what were their dreams for a new world, a world without nuclear weapons?

Richard Rhodes has written a one-act play, Reykjavik, which is an eighty-minute dialogue based upon the actual transcripts from the conversation between the two Presidents.  Mr. Rhodes, a renowned author has chronicled the nuclear age with numerous books and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb this is his first play.

Reykjavik, the play, will be performed at 7:00 p.m. on both Tuesday, May 8th and Wednesday, May 9th at the new Cemex Auditorium at The Knight School of Management on the Stanford University campus.  After the Tuesday performance a short question and answer session will be held with the audience . Mr. Rhodes and Phillip Taubman, N.Y. Times journalist, author, professor and nuclear expert, who covered the Reykjavik Summit in person for the N.Y. Times will be on stage.

On Wednesday, May 9th the performance will be followed by comments and a question and answer by Dr. Charles Ferguson, President of the Federation of American Scientists and Dr. Sidney Drell of the Hoover Institute’s Nuclear Security Project.

Reykjavik the play will have prior to each performance a pre-show viewing of Sonya Rapoport’s “The Nuclear Family in the Atomic Age”.  Her images will be shown before each performance of Reykjavik.  Also, being shown will be a five minute video by the Nuclear Literacy Project created by Dr. Sri Devabhaktuni.”

The Reykjavik Project will also unveil a new public opinion questionnaire that will be the work of Professor Jon Krasnick  of Stanford’s Department of Political Science.  This questionnaire will be offered to all event participants and will be used in future events and made available to other non-proliferation / disarmament initiatives.  It will be a survey assessing the hopes, fears and expectations of the general public for governmental policies that will lead to a world where the elimination of nuclear weapons is valued and activity pursued.

The overall objective of the Reykjavik Project is to spark awareness and a sense of empowerment to our audience that they can speak out and demand a world that exists without nuclear weapons.  President Reagan and President Gorbachev felt this in their hears as have many world leaders prior to Reykjavik and after.  Why can’t we get this done?  The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and these steps must be taken by many not just the few.

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