In 2020, Student Pugwash USA launched the Rotblat Society, our program to promote the Student Pugwash mission to a general public of "post-educational" members. This is an extension of our primary mission: "Empower and equip students and young professionals to identify, critically analyze, and shape ethical, policy, and societal dimensions of science and technology." The Rotblat Society does the same thing, but excises the word "young." We use this program to promote Pugwash considerations to all people who want to learn more about science or its ramifications to society, and to professionals at any point in their career. Our program is named after Professor Joseph Rotblat, co-founder of the Pugwash Movement and Nobel Peace laureate, in his memory and honor.
We started this program for multiple reasons:
- The Rotblat Society promotes science advocacy and ethics in STEM, both amongst our membership and to the general public. Put simply, science is taking it on the chin, and there's a real need for science education and positive outreach across society. We meet that need for—and with—Rotblat Society members: providing education to improve broad expertise on a wide range of issues, supporting outreach to their communities, training in more effective communication, and a platform for activism. The Rotblat Society is where people who aren't students do the same kinds of things our students do and have done for forty years. Like our student members, Rotblat members can engage in our online community to network with other members in their field, mentor students and each other, organize Pugwash programs, or generally meet and converse with interesting people on Pugwash topics.
- A big part of our mission is leadership training and providing mentorship for our students, and while we have specific programs to that end, the best way to connect students and mentors is, well, to put you all in a big virtual room together, and at actual events. All Student Pugwash members are automatically members of the Rotblat Society, and Rotblat organizers are encouraged to hold some events and host some programs that include a student audience. For example, a networking mixer for Rotblat I.T. professionals might have part of the program set aside for presentations to students about how to start in that career. Or a monthly informal Pugwash discussion meeting, held at a local pub because it's inexpensive, might choose a venue with a restaurant space so students under 21 can attend.
- The Rotblat Society is also about professional members networking with each other and our students. We're all interested in science and technology here, and many of us work in these fields. At the very least, we expect you'll find other Rotblat members to be more interesting and well-informed than the average bear. (Unless you're an ursinologist.) But Rotblat members can also talk specifically on topics relating to their careers and studies, and do some professional networking in the bargain, however they choose—we have spaces online for this, and any member can host such an event.
- Finally, sometimes it is about the altruistic warm fuzzies, isn't it? If you're in support of the Pugwash mission, the world is frequently appalling, and it's important for people of "Rotblat Society age" to do what they can to make the world less so in the future. But educating, training, and promoting activism in young people remains our core mission. We reach out to students of high school age and older to get them thinking about ethical perspectives early, while they're still choosing fields of study and future careers. The more students we can reach, and the more effective our programs, the more people will be better equipped to work for change and promote Pugwash ways of thinking to their workplaces, their communities, and the people they go on to mentor.
We invite Rotblat members to take on similar roles as our student leaders, organizing informal groups or formal chapters in their cities or regions, putting together events, and connecting us with similar organizations they also work with. We are building tools such that any Rotblat member can use this network as a platform to do that kind of work, and to be a force for change in a way they could not be individually. How that happens is up to our membership.