One of the most important elements of maintaining any close relationship is healthy, open communication. The same lessons should be applied on an international level as a progressive approach to security, said Mohamed ElBaradei, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
ElBaradei, an advocate of nuclear disarmament and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s general session at the ASIS International 58th Annual Seminar and Exhibits. “Too often discussions are seen as weakness or used as rewards. But this impedes progress in security,” he said, speaking to seminar attendees.
Fundamental differences are often what make countries stop communicating, but this is the exact reason they should be communicating more, he said. Because of advances in technology the world is more interconnected so the things that one country does, or fails to do, are likely to have an impact well beyond their own borders, especially when it comes to security.
“You cannot build walls right now. Whatever insecurity is in another part of the world will come to haunt you,” he said in an interview after his speech.
Security strategies should go beyond “addressing the symptoms” and incorporate plans that also try and determine the root of the problem. He used Iran as an example. Rather than closing off dialogue with the Islamic Republic, he said the United States should actually be doing the opposite.
“I’ve found the U.S. policy in Iran for the last few years, which is not talking to Iran until they change their behavior, completely counterproductive. If you want them to change their behavior, then you talk to them,” he said. Additionally, addressing the root of the problem would be finding out if and why Iran would feel like it would need nuclear weapons in the first place.
“It’s very simple common sense and we apply it at the human level and we need to apply it to the national or international level. None of us are safe and secure until all of us are safe and secure,” he said.
Also at Tuesday’s general session, Rik Lisko, CPP, president of the Professional Certification Board, held a moment of silence in remembrance of 9-11 victims. Lisko also recognized the 35th anniversary of the ASIS certification program by acknowledging past and present certification board members and by honoring those who have recently earned the Certified Protection Professional (CPP), Physical Security Professional (PSP), or Professional Certified Investigator (PCI) credentials.
Lisko also recognized three triple certificants Richard E. Chase, Paul J. Michaels, and Allan R. Wick for earning the CPP, PSP, and PCI. Four companies, ISVI, Barber-Collins, Manitoba Hydro, and ATLAS Security, were presented with the ASIS Organizational Award of Merit.