UCSB Arts & Lectures has had to cancel an upcoming lecture on nuclear weapons after keynote speaker Robert S. McNamara, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, sustained a serious neck injury during a fall.
The “Apocalypse Soon – Standing at the Nuclear Precipice” event was originally slated for Feb. 23 in Campbell Hall. According to a press release, the Arts & Lectures Ticket Office will refund patrons with checks from the UCSB Accounting Office within four to six weeks.
A representative for McNamara could not be reached Monday to comment on his condition.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) will host an event entitled “At the Nuclear Precipice: Nuclear Weapons and the Abandonment of International Law” in lieu of McNamara’s original lecture on Feb. 23 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. at Victoria Hall on West Victoria Street.
McNamara served as defense secretary under the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, recommending policy during both the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. NAPF Deputy Director Chris Pizzinat said McNamara was selected as the keynote speaker because his policies sought to deter nuclear proliferation.
NAPF is a non-profit organization with consultative status to the United Nations.
“We are an education and advocacy organization that works to reduce and eliminate the threat posed by nuclear weapons,” Pizzinat said. “Ultimately we are seeking complete disarmament of nuclear weapons by a multilateral treaty.”
The “Nuclear Precipice” replacement event is free for the general public and will feature nuclear policy experts such as former U.S. Defense Dept. Analyst Daniel Ellsberg, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire and retired Canadian Senator Douglas Roche. Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work as co-founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement.
According to a recent NAPF press release, “Nuclear Precipice” is part of a weeklong NAPF commemoration declared by the Santa Barbara City Council. The week begins with the 5th Annual Frank K. Kelly “Lecture on Humanity’s Future” in Corwin Pavilion on Feb. 21 at 8 p.m.
At the Corwin Pavilion event, Maguire will present her lecture, “Right to Live without Violence, Nuclear Weapons and War.” NAPF established the annual lecture in 2002 as a tribute to NAPF founder and senior vice president Frank K. Kelly.
NAPF Week will conclude with a repeat of the Nuclear Precipice Event at Westmont College on Feb. 24 at 9 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.
In preparation of NAPF Week, Arts & Lectures will present Errol Morris’s Academy Award-winning documentary about McNamara’s security administration, The Fog of War on Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall. Tickets are $5 for UCSB students and $6 for the general public. Movie patrons can purchase tickets at the Arts & Lectures Ticket Office or at the door.