The Stanley Foundation
Seeking a secure peace with freedom and justice, built on global citizenship and effective global governance.
Luisa Kenausis
Program Assistant Nuclear Policy

Luisa Kenausis is the program assistant for nuclear policy at the Stanley Foundation. She was previously a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, where she worked on nuclear weapons issues, including US nuclear posture and defense budgeting, North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and the intersection of nuclear energy programs and weapons proliferation risk.

She received her dual B.S. in nuclear science and engineering and political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017. She is a member of the MIT Nuclear Weapons Education Project. Her writing has appeared in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

What do you do at the foundation, and how long have you been here?

As the program assistant for nuclear policy, I support foundation programming that seeks to facilitate the coevolution of global governance and technology development to avoid the use of nuclear weapons. Our nuclear policy work focuses on finding and promoting multilateral strategies to manage or leverage the disruptive effects of emerging technologies on strategic stability, nonproliferation, and nuclear disarmament. I joined the Stanley Foundation in September 2018.

What do you like most about your job?

The driving force behind my career—and my life—is to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons use, simply because I can’t imagine not focusing my life around that issue. In college, I took one class on nuclear proliferation to fulfill a degree requirement for nuclear science, and I was so struck by what I learned that it pretty much set the course for my life. So I double majored in political science and put together a self-designed curriculum focusing on nuclear weapons issues from a technical and political perspective.

By working on the Stanley Foundation’s nuclear policy programming, I’m living my own personal, nerdy dream. I get to work on reducing the risk of nuclear war every day. The foundation’s nuclear policy programming is focused, pragmatic, and effective, which stands out in a field like nuclear policy where things can easily get uselessly abstract. And to top it all off, the people I work with are just as passionate as I am about creating a safer, more peaceful world. I can’t imagine a better place to work.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Bethel, Connecticut, a small town that shares quite a few qualities with Muscatine, although sadly it doesn’t have the Mississippi River. Growing up there, I didn’t exactly follow international policy issues, but I was always determined to do something big and important and impressive with my career, like cure cancer or help end hunger—you know, reasonable goals for a kid. Unfortunately, those goals aren’t (yet) within reach, but in college I turned my attention to the more realistic goal of saving the world from nuclear war. I’ve got a perfect track record on that so far.

What are your hobbies?    

I love comedy, and I watch an embarrassing amount of Netflix. I also love to cook and bake. I make lots of Chinese food, and I have an amazing recipe for vanilla bean-rosemary-cranberry scones. I enjoy weightlifting and dancing for exercise, albeit sporadically. On a typical weekend, you can probably find me binge watching something that makes me laugh and talking to my pet bearded dragon, Gary, as if he was a person.

Nuclear Policy

The use of nuclear weapons is an existential threat to human survival and wellbeing. As the world enters a new a period of rapid technological development, emerging technologies are challenging long-held assumptions and practices—about deterrence, disarmament, and nonproliferation—for how to best avoid the use of nuclear weapons through multilateral cooperation.

If nuclear governance regimes and norms do not become more adaptable to this accelerating pace of change, emerging technologies will disrupt or render obsolete existing institutions that control and mitigate the risks of nuclear weapons.

Current Work

To reduce this risk of nuclear use, the Stanley Foundation works to help global governance and technology development co-evolve in ways that manage or leverage the disruptive effects of emerging technologies on strategic stability, nonproliferation, and disarmament. Our efforts focus on:

  • Helping establish shared definitions of the risks and opportunities that emerging technologies pose for strategic stability, nonproliferation, and disarmament.
  • Informing and support existing nuclear governance institutions as they adapt to be more responsive to the risks of emerging technologies.
  • Engendering collective responsibility among stakeholders for managing the disruptive effects of emerging technologies.
  • Identifying and promoting innovative ways that emerging technologies can be applied to improve strategic stability, strengthen nonproliferation, and promote disarmament.

Contact Ben Loehrke for more information.