Nearly everything we do comes from grassroots suggestions and program plans from our membership. The Board might charter a committee to create a space for volunteering that the Board wants to see happen, but the best way to ensure that the programs and events held for the membership is when they're invented by the membership. That said, our programs and events don't need to be invented here at all—we also have programs that originated in our Alliances and Virtual Chapters.
Programs and events are approved based on several criteria. Do they embrace the Pugwash Approach? Do they promote the Pugwash mission of educating or empowering our members (especially students and young professionals)? Are the outcomes reasonably matched with the resources necessary to run the program, and are those resources likely to be found within the organization (both money and volunteer time)? If the answers to these questions are all yes, it's highly likely the program or event will be approved. Note: chapters of Student Pugwash and the Rotblat Society can generally organize their own events, using chapter resources (or requesting some aid), as they wish—the sole requirement being that these events should be added to the Events calendar. (The Program committee might review these events just to make sure they're valid Pugwash topics or using the Pugwash approach, but unlike regular programs they can be announced without any formal permission.)
Typically the person proposing the program goes on to be the original chair of the committee, but that's not always the case. This structure allows us to remain decentralized and agile, with many people doing many different things, but with each member and volunteer focusing on only those programs and events that interest them most. For details how this works, check out the Committee page of the Pugwash Handbook.