International efforts towards disarmament and non-proliferation — particularly in the field of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction — are vital to strengthen international security and enhance sustainable economic and social development. In recent years, education has emerged as a powerful tool to raise public awareness and inspire a new generation of leaders to advance this agenda. Disarmament and non-proliferation education involves imparting the knowledge and skills to empower individuals to contribute, as national and world citizens, towards the achievement of general and complete disarmament under effective international control.
Since the UNESCO World Congress on Disarmament Education in 1980, it has further evolved to examine small arms, light weapons and landmines — and more recently, to incorporate the heightened threat of international terrorism. In 2002, a UN study emphasized the pressing need to expand and improve disarmament and non-proliferation education, and offered a series of recommendations for national governments, international organizations and civil society.
This Global Forum will bring together educators, diplomats, researchers and members of civil society to share experiences, compile best practices and develop partnerships to advance disarmament and non-proliferation education. In particular, it will promote the vital role of civil society, with sessions engaging international, national and local non-governmental organizations to explore ways of strengthening cooperation with governments.
Held at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, the forum will feature the voices of hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) and local students to emphasize the unique destructive power of nuclear weapons and increase understanding of the dangers of their proliferation. The forum’s messages will be shared with a wider global audience through an official outcome document, as well as through social networking, micro-blogging and video-sharing websites.
The forum builds upon previous collaboration by UNU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) to promote and develop disarmament and non-proliferation education. UNU and MOFA provided an official working paper to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in May 2010, proposing ways to increase awareness and understanding of the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and to enhance civil society engagement to strengthen NPT norms.
For more information please see the event page on the UNU-ISP website.