Global Zero was a non-partisan international initiative dedicated to public education, dialogue and awareness-raising among the public and opinion leaders about the urgent nuclear threat and proposals for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Global Zero convened major international conferences of opinion leaders and experts, conducts media, online and grassroots communications and organized a global campus education and outreach program. For 15 years, The Simons Foundation Canada was the principal sponsor of Global Zero and Dr. Jennifer Allen Simons was a Founding Partner and Canada Chair of Global Zero.
Global Zero was launched by 100 opinion leaders at the first Global Zero Summit in Paris in December 2008. Among other important activities, Global Zero has:
- built an international initiative that includes over 300 political, military, business, civic and faith leaders, dozens of organizations and more than 400,000 citizens from every country in the world;
- developed and disseminated the Global Zero Action Plan (GZAP) outlining a step-by-step process for eliminating all nuclear weapons over two decades, with in-depth analysis conducted by U.S. and Russian experts;
- developed a global campus outreach initiative, enlisting and training top-tier student leaders and establishing over 70 GZ student chapters in key countries worldwide;
- convened Global Zero Summits, bringing together hundreds of leaders, garnering endorsements from presidents Obama and Medvedev, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, George Shultz and many others, and generating worldwide media coverage;
- convened two meetings of the Global Zero Commission, bringing together eminent international political and military leaders who oversaw the expert research and analysis that went into the development of the GZAP;
- established an informational dialogue with senior officials in the key governments;
- produced and promoted, in partnership with Lawrence Bender and Participant Media, a major theatrical film for public education, including organizing screenings at the UN, the CIA, the Aspen Institute, the UNA-UK, the Geneva Conference of speakers of parliaments, and dozens of college, church and community screenings; the film has been distributed to theatres in approximately 50 cities in the U.S., with television, international and DVD releases to follow;
- coordinated major speaking engagements for Global Zero leaders including at the Munich Security Conference, the TED Conference, the UN, the UNA-UK conference, the Aspen Institute, the Brookings Institution, the London School of Economics and dozens of other conferences and universities worldwide;
- engaged celebrities and musicians in the issue, including Michael Douglas, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meg Ryan, R.E.M., the Dave Matthews Band, and many others;
- generated extensive and consistent mainstream media coverage worldwide.
Since its founding, Global Zero established itself as a leading international public education initiative on the nuclear threat and the idea of eliminating all nuclear weapons. Operations were suspended indefinitely at the end of 2023.