Our Purpose

The Critical Issues Forum (CIF) is a unique program of project-based education facilitated by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. The CIF program is designed to promote awareness of nonproliferation and disarmament issues and develop critical thinking skills among high school students from around the world, including the United States, Japan, and Russia, through educational outreach activities. CIF develops appreciation and understanding of different national and cultural perspectives on complex but vital international security issues.

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NEW! Thank you to all who attended the 2022 CIF Spring Student Conference, Using disarmament and nonproliferation education to empower youth to address global and social challenges! The conference recording and report will be posted soon.

Long-term CIF Teacher Nelly Porseva Wins FutureLearn Scholarship

NEW! Enjoy the 6th Speaker Series report and video!


Check out our latest Speaker Series!


The Online 2021 Spring Student Conference was a great success! 

Read the Conference Report

Video Message from Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations Under-Secretary General and High Representative of Disarmament Affairs

With keynote speaker the former Governor of California, Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.!

For more information about the conference, take a look at this booklet:

Due to the global pandemic COVID-19, CIF has decided to go online for 2020-2021 project activities, including 2021 Spring Conference.

The Third Speaker Series report has been posted!

Read the Report of the 2nd CIF SPEAKER SERIES!

Visit the CIF Speaker Series Page



Click HERE to view our students’ exceptional work from this year!

Please read this essay by Masako Toki, CIF Project Manager, on the importance of disarmament education for young generations.

Izumi Nakamitsu, United Nations Under-Secretary General and High Representative of Disarmament Affairs, sent the following video message to the 2020 CIF participants. Although the in-person conference has been cancelled, her message to the future nonproliferation and disarmament leaders remains relevant to the work of our teachers and students, especially amidst this challenging global situation. 

If you have any further questions or concerns about this year’s CIF conference, feel free to contact us!   

View the 2019 CIF Student Conference Report!

Highlights from Recent Years  













This year’s Critical Issues Forum is supported by the Tom and Sarah Pattison Fund, the SAGA Foundation, the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation Fund, Mr. Gregg Wolpert, and other private donors. The Project was also supported by the United States – Japan Foundation between 2012 and 2018.

Copyright © 2018 James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). All rights reserved.