By Terence Taylor, Founding President of the International Council for the Life Sciences (ICLS)
Terence Taylor will describe his life, which began in a country village in the south of England. From there he followed a path that led to an unintended military career in the British Army in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East that included UN peacekeeping, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. His path was punctuated by spells as a scientific staff officer in various disciplines. Towards the end of this part of the journey, the path led to the field of diplomacy in arms control negotiations, which began in Stockholm, and then to Vienna and on to Geneva and New York City. He was then persuaded by the Director of the Science Programme at the Centre for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University to leave the Army and join CISAC as a Science Fellow for two years.
Following this he served as a political affairs officer at UN headquarters (New York). He also participated in a US/UK team investigating the ending of biological weapons programmes in Russia. He was also appointed a Commissioner for the UN Special Commission in Iraq and as one of the UN Chief Weapons Inspectors charged with the mission of finding and overseeing the destruction of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programmes. These missions were followed by positions in the international strategic studies community and as Vice-President for Global Health and Security at a leading Washington, DC based non-governmental organisation, the Nuclear Threat Initiative. In parallel he created a non-profit biological safety and security organisation with projects in the Middle East and Pakistan, the International Council for the Life Sciences. In 2012 he returned to the UN as the leader of a group of experts mandated to give scientific and technical advice in support of the Security Council’s efforts to help prevent weapons of mass destruction getting into the hands of terrorists.
This experience has led to Taylor’s participation, along with colleagues from a variety of disciplines, in a project entitled “Natural Security”. He will explain briefly the project that, through an analysis of evolutionary systems, seeks to develop innovative insights into understanding of human behaviour and preparedness for, and responses to, potentially catastrophic risks arising from terrorism, pandemic infectious diseases, natural disasters and major cyber attacks.
Terence Taylor is – as mentioned above – the founding President of the International Council for the Life Sciences (ICLS). He is currently a member of the boards of directors of two UK companies in the biotechnology and food sectors. From 2012 to 2017 in New York he was the Coordinator of a Group of Experts supporting the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to counter the acquisition and use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons by terrorists. He served as Vice-President for Global Health and Security at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in Washington, DC; President and Executive Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies-US (IISS-US) and, earlier, as Assistant Director of IISS at its London headquarters. A particular area of his work with these organisations has been the development of scientific networks related to health security, in particular in relation to epidemiological surveillance across sensitive political boundaries in Africa, the Middle East, South and South-East Asia.
He has substantial experience in international security policy matters as a UK government official and for the United Nations both in the field and at UN Headquarters. His experience is related to both field operations and to the development and implementation of policies in relation to arms control and non-proliferation treaties and agreements, including export controls, for both conventional and weapons of mass destruction. He was the UK Commissioner for the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq and conducted missions as a Chief Inspector from 1993 to 1997.
He has also conducted consulting work on political risk assessment and studies of the biotechnology industry, particularly in relation to biological safety and security at life science facilities in both the private and public sectors. He was a member of the US Institute of Medicine’s Standing Forum on Microbial Threats and a Science Fellow at Stanford University’s Centre for International Security and Cooperation. He was a career officer in the British Army with experience in many parts of the world including counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations and UN peacekeeping.