African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT)

Dr Mahdi Balali-Mood

The African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) was established in 2004 in Algiers, Algeria, as a structure of the African Union (AU) Commission. ACSRT contributes to and strengthens the capacity of the African Union to prevent and to combat terrorism in Africa.
To achieve its mission ACSRT conducts research and produces studies on terrorism in Africa and develops strategic policy, operational and training mechanisms for the AU and its Member States. The Centre coordinates its activities with the National Focal Points of the 55 Member States of the AU as well as with Regional Focal Points representing the seven Regional Economic Communities.

The International Master Courses in Protection Against CBRNe Events at the University of Rome Tor Vergata

Dr Mahdi Balali-Mood

The two International Master Courses in Protection against CBRNe Events at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy aim to educate the next generation of first responders and advisors to policy makers. Since 2009 the two courses have produced over 170 international experts and developed into a respected academic benchmark in this field. The Master courses contribute to the promotion of the peaceful uses of chemistry among a new generation of CBRNe experts.


Dr Mahdi Balali-Mood

Dr Mahdi Balali-Mood

Dr Mahdi Balali-Mood is an eminent expert in the field of medical toxicology. He has dedicated his career to caring and advocating for the victims of chemical weapons.

During the course of the Iran-Iraq war (1981-1988), Dr Balali-Mood treated large numbers of patients who had been exposed to toxic agents and also was regularly called upon to advise medical practitioners in the field. In the aftermath of the conflict, he established a clinic for those suffering from the delayed and long-term effects of exposure to chemical warfare agents.

Dr Balali-Mood has presented at numerous events in order to educate both medical practitioners and the public on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of symptoms of exposure to chemical weapons. Additionally, he has served as an advisor to the WHO and the OPCW on medical management of chemical warfare casualties.

Dr Balali-Mood, a national of the Islamic Republic of Iran, was presented with The OPCW–The Hague Award in 2015.

Dr Alastair Hay

Dr Alastair Hay

Dr Alastair Hay is a leading expert in the field of occupational health and toxicology. His extensive knowledge of the toxic properties of chemical warfare agents has proved invaluable in supporting the work of the OPCW and its core objectives.

Dr Hay has taken part in several missions to investigate and analyse samples following the use of toxic agents as weapons. His training courses for doctors and OPCW inspectors working in Syria have aided them in better understanding the long-term health effects of exposure to chemical weapons and establishing more effective protocols for the treatment of victims.

Dr Hay has also been instrumental in international efforts to promote ethical applications of chemistry and biology. He has contributed to numerous scientific advisory committees that have helped to formulate standards for exposure limits and to advance international policy and codes of practice.

Dr Hay, a national of the United Kingdom, was presented with The OPCW-The Hague Award in 2015.

Dr Robert Mathews

Dr Robert Mathews

Dr Mathews has made significant contributions throughout his career to the development, establishment, implementation and promotion of the Chemical Weapons Convention; and furthermore, to the work of the OPCW from its inception.

Dr Robert Mathews is Head of the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms Control Unit in the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). In that capacity, he has served as an outstanding expert on both disarmament and non-proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, in addition to the development of protective measures against these weapons.

In 1978, Dr Mathews joined the international team of scientists and engineers developing the portable Chemical Agent Monitor (CAM), until its approval for use in 1984. In the mid-1980s, Dr Mathews established DSTO as a UN-designated laboratory for the analysis of samples in investigations of alleged use of chemical weapons. He is the author of a number of authoritative publications related to chemical and biological disarmament.

Dr Mathews, a national of the Commonwealth of Australia, was presented with The OPCW–The Hague Award in 2014



VERIFIN was established in 1994 as the continuation of a Chemical Weapons research project started in 1973; since then it has significantly contributed to chemical disarmament through the development of tools for the verification of the CWC based on analytical chemistry techniques.

VERIFIN is an institute at the University of Helsinki and acts as the National Authority for Finland under the guidance of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

VERIFIN’s focus has been on the development of methods for screening and identifying chemical warfare agents, their degradation products, and their starting materials.

As a designated laboratory of the OPCW since 1998, VERIFIN participated in sample analysis as part of the United Nations Mission to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. VERIFIN has been active in promoting chemical disarmament and has trained over 1000 chemists from more than 130 developing countries in skills related to enhancing national implementation of the CWC. These include techniques in analytical chemistry, as well as in the activities undertaken by National Authorities to implement the CWC and enhance assistance and protection measures against chemical weapons.

VERIFIN has been a key partner for the OPCW in the development and promotion of chemistry for peaceful purposes, a key objective of the OPCW.

VERIFIN, an institute of the Republic of Finland, was presented with The OPCW-The Hague Award in 2014. Dr Paula Vanninen, Director of VERIFIN accepted the award on its behalf.