Graceland Alumnus Matthew Bolton’s Push for Peace Leads to Nobel Peace Prize

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October 10, 2017

Graceland alum Dr. Matthew Bolton

Matthew Bolton addresses the conference. Photo: Ari Beser from International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on flickr

Graceland alumnus Matthew Bolton, PhD ’01 was part the efforts with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the organization recently announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017.

According to the official website of the Nobel Prize, ICAN was selected to receive the award due to its work “to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.” The site also states, “ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.”

Bolton graduated from Graceland University in 2001 with a degree in history and religion. He went on to earn a master’s degree in development studies and a doctorate in government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He and his spouse, Emily Welty, PhD, who also has been working with ICAN, are now both professors – Bolton in political science and Welty in women and gender studies – for the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace University in New York City.

ICAN has been a leader in recent years in the work toward an international treaty that would make nuclear weapons illegal. Bolton worked with a team that successfully advocated for the inclusion of victim assistance and environmental remediation provisions, and international cooperation and assistance provided to countries affected by use and testing of nuclear weapons.


About ICAN:

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations in one hundred countries promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty. This landmark global agreement was adopted in New York on July 7, 2017 (

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of five persons who are chosen by the Norwegian Storting (Parliament of Norway).


Dr. Matthew Bolton and other students he graduated with at Graceland

Matthew Bolton ’01 (back row, right) posing with the Peace and Justice Coalition organization for the 2000 Acacia Graceland University student yearbook.

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