Soka Gakkai International
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On May 2, SGI co-organized a seminar on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education at the UN Headquarters in New York. The seminar was held as an official side event of the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference held from April 28 to May 9.
The seminar focused on UN, governmental, academic and civil society initiatives that have aimed to raise public awareness of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation through education in both formal and non-formal settings. It was co-organized together with the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Hibakusha Stories, Peace Boat US, and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) Costa Rica.
Ronald Sturm, head of the Unit for Nuclear Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Security of the Federal Ministry for European, Integration, and Foreign Affairs of Austria, was the moderator. Speakers included Virginia Gamba, director of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA); William C. Potter, director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS); Tamara Patton, research associate at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP); Michiko Kodama, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and assistant secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo); Alexandra Arce von Herold, copresident of IPPNW Costa Rica; and Hayley Ramsay-Jones, program coordinator in SGI’s UN Liaison Office in Geneva.
Ms. Ramsay-Jones introduced the history of SGI’s anti-nuclear weapons movement, its current and previous exhibitions aimed at increasing grassroots support and awareness of issues relating to the abolition of nuclear weapons, surveys of youth attitudes to abolition and video resources documenting the experiences of A-bomb survivors.
Themes highlighted by speakers included the UN’s role in promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation education, new pedagogical tools in the field that use open-source information and new technology satellite imagery analysis and 3-D modelling, civil society’s promotion of non-formal education and its emphasis on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and the importance of youth activism and perspectives.
[Adapted from reports from SGI-OPI and NAPF; photo courtesy of SGI]
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