This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."
Gloria Duffy is CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California, the largest and oldest civic forum in the U.S. The Club organizes some 400 forums each year on public policy issues - in person, on the radio, on television, and through the Internet - and has nearly 17,000 members. It operates in seven Bay Area counties, and offers various series and programs, including the annual California Book Awards, which has been recognizing the Golden State's best literary talent for 70 years. The Club also has monthly study groups on each of 16 topics. The Club's weekly radio program is heard throughout the nation, and has been on the air since 1924.
Gloria is also Chair of the Board of the Civilian Research and Development Foundation, in Arlington, Virginia, part of the US National Science Foundation, which gives grants for joint scientific research between scientists in the former Soviet countries (FSU) and the United States.
Gloria served as US Special Coordinator for Cooperative Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton Administration. Her mission was to convince the countries of the former Soviet Union to give up their weapons of mass destruction, and to prevent the spread of their nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and material.
With a budget of $1.5 billion in US defense dollars, Gloria and her colleagues negotiated 50 agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In the cases of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, these countries agreed to give up the nuclear weapons on their territories and become non-nuclear states. In the case of Russia, they agreed to dismantle their nuclear and chemical weapons more quickly and better protect the weapons and materials still under their control. The funds provided through the agreements were dedicated to projects ranging from a secure storage site for plutonium from nuclear weapons in Russia's Ural Mountains to cranes to lift nuclear warheads from missiles to a tumor registry to help the people of Kazakhstan deal with the results of above ground nuclear testing on their territory.
In 1985, Gloria was the founder and President of Global Outlook, an interdisciplinary research institute on international policy issues in Palo Alto, California.
Gloria and other community leaders also saw the need for a broader organization, in the rapidly growing Silicon Valley region, to educate the public and organize debate and discussion of international issues. In 1988, they founded the World Forum of Silicon Valley, a world affairs public education group. She served as its Board President for its first five years. In 1997, the Forum became part of the Commonwealth Club.
In prior years, Gloria was the first Executive Director of Ploughshares Fund, a public charitable grant making foundation in San Francisco; Assistant Director of the Arms Control Association, a public interest group in Washington, D.C. and editor of the magazine, Arms Control Today, and a resident consultant at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California.
Gloria has also worked with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, since 1984, helping to create a program on international security and cooperation and a funding program in the former Soviet Union, and serving on grant selection committees. She has been a member of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation since 1980, and a scholar-in-residence at the Center from 1980-82, 1985-87 and 1995-96.
Gloria was born in 1953 in San Francisco. She grew up in Lafayette, California and on the Dry Creek Ranch near Prineville, Oregon, where she worked haying, riding range, and in other aspects of the cattle operation.
Dr. Duffy holds M.A., M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Columbia University in New York, and an A.B. magna cum laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Gloria serves on the boards of directors and advisory boards of several local and national non-profit organizations. These include the Program on Policy Attitudes (a polling organization based at the University of Maryland), the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Circle Foundation, Ploughshares Fund, and the International Business Incubator in San Jose.
She is a Senior Fellow of American Leadership Forum/Silicon Valley and in 1998-99 served as co-chair of the transition team for San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales. She is married to Rod Diridon, Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute in San Jose.