South Africa’s Peter Martinez becomes Secure World Foundation Executive Director

Press Release: Secure Word Foundation

Peter Martinez

The Secure World Foundation’s (SWF) President and co-founder Cynda Collins Arsenault announces that Peter Martinez, PhD has been selected by the Board of Directors as the Foundation’s next Executive Director, taking office on October 1, 2018, and succeeding Michael Simpson, PhD, who has served as Executive Director since 2011.

Dr. Martinez brings a multidisciplinary background to SWF with over 20 years of experience in leadership, management, education and scientific research, as well as international engagement encompassing capacity-building and workforce development, strategic planning, multilateral space diplomacy,  space policy formulation and implementation, and the regulation of space activities.  Dr. Martinez joins SWF from Cape Town, South Africa, where he has coordinated the Space Studies programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT) since 2014 while also serving on several international  working groups and committees. From 2010 – 2015, he was the Chairman of the South African Council for Space Affairs. In June 2018, he concluded his service to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, where he served as the chair for 8 years for its Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.

“We are so pleased to have Dr. Martinez join the SWF team,” states Ms. Collins Arsenault. “Following the great leadership of prior Executive Directors, Ray Williamson and Michael Simpson, Peter brings even greater global perspective to our efforts promoting the secure and sustainable use of space for the benefit of all of humanity. Having followed his work at COPUOS as Chair of the Long-Term Sustainability working group, we know his dedication and commitment to our shared vision. He brings great leadership, diplomacy, and management skills to our organization, along with expertise in space sciences and policy with an international perspective. We feel that he brings the perfect combination to continue SWF’s work with our partners in creating cooperative solutions for space sustainability.”

“We were fortunate and honored to have so many highly qualified candidates apply for the position of Executive Director, making it a difficult choice but underlining the fact that under Michael Simpson’s leadership, SWF has achieved a reputation of being an effective and significant contributor in the space policy field,” continued Ms. Collins Arsenault. “Dr. Simpson has supported and developed our staff into thought leaders and developed our commercial space involvement, while also contributing to setting the Space 2030 agenda coming out of UNISPACE+50. He has been practical and visionary at the same time.“

Dr. Martinez said, “I am looking forward to joining the Secure World family and the amazing opportunity to serve as the next Executive Director of the Foundation, an organization whose growth I have had the pleasure to follow since 2008 and that I have come to hold in very high regard. I step into this role humbled to follow in the footsteps of the first two Executive Directors, Ray Williamson and Mike Simpson, colleagues whom I greatly admire. I look forward to having the opportunity to head an organization that is playing a leading role in conversations around cooperative global space governance. It is an honor to have been selected by the President and Board for this role.”

Michael Simpson will hand over his leadership role to his successor on October 1, 2018, at the start of the IAC in Bremen, Germany. He said: “Every executive wants to pass the torch to a talented and committed successor. With this transition, I not only get to do that, I get to leave the leadership of this very special Foundation in the hands of a friend.”

Dr. Simpson will serve as SWF Director Emeritus through 2018.


Founded and based in Colorado since 2002, the Secure World Foundation serves as a resource and partner worldwide, providing trusted analyses and information with a long-term, nonpartisan, and global perspective on issues related to the secure, sustainable, and peaceful uses of space. Through events, speaking engagements, publications, and interactions in the world at large, SWF seeks to collaborate on improving space security through a more accessible and predictable space environment by contributing to the implementation of effective, inclusive, and reliable governance mechanisms that move us toward the sustainable and peaceful use of space.

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