CIR Lecture: Disarming Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Cheryl Rofer

CIR News:

The Santa Fe Council on International Relations presents a world affairs lecture by Cheryl Rofer on disarming Syria’s chemical weapons Thursday, Sept. 4.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and light refreshments will be served followed by the lecture at 5:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe Woman’s Club, 1616 Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe. The cost for CIR members is $15 and $20 for non-members; qualifying students may attend for free.

Rofer is CEO and founder of Nuclear Diner ( and contributes posts and discussion to that site. She retired after 35 years as a chemist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her work there included environmental projects in Estonia and Kazakhstan, managing cleanups at Los Alamos, and projects in fossil fuels, laser development, and the nuclear fuel cycle. She is past president of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and  the Board of Trustees of Ripon College (Wisconsin). She has published papers in scientific and political science journals and edited a book. She holds an A.B. from Ripon College and an M.S. from the University of California at Berkeley.

When it became clear in the 1980s that the US would destroy its chemical weapons, Tooele Army Depot asked Rofer to look at destruction of chemical agents as a part of her Los Alamos project on supercritical water oxidation of hazardous materials. She has contributed op-eds on Syria’s chemical weapons to The Globe and Mail newspaper and has given radio and video interviews on the subject, as well as numerous articles at Nuclear Diner.


The Aug. 21, 2013 chemical attack on Ghouta shocked the world, although it was well-known that Syria held a large inventory of chemical weapons. Within a month, the United States and Russia responded with a United Nations resolution insisting that Syria accede to the Convention on Chemical Weapons and disarm its chemical warfare capability. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons went into action, and by June 23 of this year had removed all the chemical weaponry that Syria had declared and destroyed much of its manufacturing capability.

The next steps are to destroy the agents, complete the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons factories, and confirm that Syrian declarations are accurate. Disarming Syria’s chemical weapons was a multinational effort. Partnering by Russia and the United States was essential to making the operation work.

For more information on registering for the lecture, go to the Council’s website at or telephone the office at 505.982.4931.

The Santa Fe Council on International Relations is a non-partisan, 501c(3) non-profit educational resource dedicated to the stimulation of dialogue about current foreign affairs issues that affect the United States. One of more then 100 nationwide affiliates of the National Council for International Visitors (, and a member of the World Affairs Councils of America ( the organization facilitates cultural and educational exchanges between U.S. and foreign peers, sponsors lectures by recognized experts, arranges world affairs discussions, and organizes educational trips abroad.  For more information, please visit