Atomic Pulse

NTI Remembers George P. Shultz

NTI mourns the passage of George P. Shultz, a dear friend and an extraordinary partner for more than 15 years in our work to promote the vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the practical steps to get there.

Shultz joined forces in 2007 with former Defense Secretary William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn, NTI’s co-founder and first CEO, amid rising global concern about the dramatic threat posed by nuclear weapons and materials around the world. The group formed a powerful, nonpartisan alliance of former Cold Warriors: two Republicans and two Democrats with deep national security credentials who came together in a new era to work to build a safer world.

Through a series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds, meetings with governments, public appearances, and a documentary about their work called Nuclear Tipping Point, the four statesmen generated momentum to build broad international support for the vision as they addressed the tough technical and policy issues involved in taking the concrete steps necessary to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.

Their groundbreaking work, coordinated through the Nuclear Security Project at NTI, is central to and informs NTI’s mission today. None of it would have been possible without George Shultz’s leadership, conviction, and good humor. We will miss his brilliant insights and the twinkle in his eye.

“George accomplished more in 100 years than most of us could do if given 400 years. His important work to bring about a more peaceful and stable world continued until the end of his life and will leave a lasting legacy for years to come.” – Sam Nunn (full statement)

“His insights, persistence, and relentless optimism inspired all of us at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and we rededicate ourselves to this work, as we remember his enormous contributions.” – Ernest J. Moniz (full statement)

“George Shultz was an astute observer of human behavior, a masterful facilitator of consequential human engagements, and a visionary who always inspired us to strive for the best, most noble aims for mankind – in short, a legendary leader. His enduring belief that a better future is possible and his optimism and willingness to roll up his sleeves and dig into hard problems with patience and tenacity is a model for us all. Most of all, I will remember George for his kindness and generosity, for his willingness to ensure that everyone in the room was treated with equal respect and taken care of, even if it meant opening up his own personal kitchen for the occasional meal. We salute you, George, and raise a glass (of white port!) in tribute to an extraordinary life well-lived! We will miss you.” – Joan Rohlfing

"George Shultz built a lifetime of service to his beloved country on 'trust,' which he saw as the glue of society and effective relationships. We who had the privilege to know him will never forget." – Charles B. Curtis

“I will be forever grateful to George Shultz for showing me and my colleagues in the Peace and Security field how to live a purpose-filled life. A life that does not settle for ‘what is’ but rather one that is guided by a thirst for making ‘what ought to be’ come to life. During these turbulent times, I will particularly miss George’s wisdom, calm leadership and sage advice.” – Deborah Rosenblum

“Secretary Shultz exemplified the art and value of listening. No matter what the setting—a personal meeting or crowded conference—he listened intently to, and considered carefully and respectfully, what was being said. Foreign Secretaries, Ambassadors, Senators, experts, and interns were all given his undivided attention—and there was no one held in higher regard by his colleagues and coworkers. At the conclusion of a days-long conference, everyone awaited the ‘Shultz summary’ of what had transpired, what it meant, and most important, what could be done about it. And his presentation of ‘what could be done’ was never disappointing and always inspiring, combining bold vision and practical action. He provided us all an enduring and powerful example of how to get from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B,’ keeping and making friends and allies along the way.” – Steve Andreasen

"You've got to dream a little bit if you're going to get somewhere.” – George P. Shultz

“Thank you, Secretary Shultz, for dreaming big and working every day to bring us closer to what ought to be.” – Brooke D. Anderson

“George Shultz was kind and generous in a way that too few people with his accomplishments are, while never demanding agreement in exchange for respect. I cherish the times he just sat, privately telling stories of his challenges as well as his triumphs, sharing the history that he lived and influenced as modestly as others told stories of families and hobbies. He always had a sparkle in his eye, whether it was the glint of his sharp humor or the fire of righteous anger. I learned so much from Secretary Shultz and will seek to live his example of service and humanity.” – Corey Hinderstein

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