Author Archives: Cassandra Peterson

For Study

On this page, you’ll find links to useful educational resources, international organizations, NGOs, and blogs. International Organizations will present you with the most objective view on disarmament issues.

NTI Education Tutorials

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in partnership with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), has developed this set of educational tutorials to build understanding among a new generation of experts and leaders on these often complex issues. The interactive tutorials include overviews of key issues, a glossary, maps, quizzes and more. 

Visit Tutorial Introductory page.





International Organizations

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svg IAEA



plougshares logo download


wildfire logo

Institute of Nuclear Materials Management




timthumb clean-computer




For Fun

This page consists of satirical or fun articles regarding nonproliferation and disarmament. The subject of nuclear weapons is very serious; sometimes laughing about them makes it easier to fight their existence.

Child Walks Out on Toy Nonproliferation Talks

Onion Explains: Global Nuclear Proliferation

Funny or Die: Stephen Colbert and Joe Cirincione on Nuclear Explosions


Nerf Nuke


On this page, you will find videos and other multimedia related to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

What Countries Have Nuclear Weapons


Nuclear Weapons: The History


Nuclear Famine


Ban Nuclear Weapons Now!


Most Radioactive Places on Earth


John Oliver on Nuclear Weapons

2015 CIF Alumni Spotlight: Shaden Beltran

Shaden Beltran (left) and Laura Colosky (right) at the 2015 CIF

Shaden Beltran was a student at the Santa Catalina School who attended the 2015 Spring CIF Conference, held in Hiroshima, Japan to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. During the span of four months, Shaden and her partner, Laura, worked on two mini projects in order to prepare for their final deliverable.

The topic of their final project was nuclear disarmament through a humanitarian approach. Although different groups suggested different methods on how to achieve the goal nuclear disarmament, all of the students at the conference were aware of the dangers nuclear weapons pose.

Only, Shaden was not one hundred percent convinced that nuclear weapons actually threaten today’s society. She lacked sympathy towards the hibakusha (survivors of the a-bomb attacks) and their deceased loved ones. In fact, when she arrived in Hiroshima, she was quick to notice that the buildings were tall and that there was a large portion of vegetation. The people were extremely nice and always greeted her with big smiles. Their lifestyle and the physical appearance of the city made it even more difficult to understand the true dangers of nuclear weapons.

Shaden made many friends in Japan. She gained an increased understanding of cross-cultural communication, and how important it is to share ideas with peers in other countries. However, shamefully, Shaden, who was fully aware of the environmental and humanitarian effects caused by weapons, began to think that maybe nuclear weapons weren’t as bad as she had been taught. Hiroshima looked like any other city, and she would have never guessed that only seventy years ago it had been in complete ruins.

Several days into the trip, the entire CIF group visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. This was the most heartbreaking place Shaden has ever been to. It is filled with artifacts such as clothes, jewelry, rooftops, and replicas body parts, that survived the explosion. Attached to these objects were background stories about the people who once possessed these items. Shaden was on the verge of tears while reading about the ripped up shirts, broken necklaces, and tracheas that belonged to kids- boys and girls her age, and even younger, who were going about their daily lives, waiting for the bus and getting ready for school. Innocent people were killed by weapons of mass destruction, and for the first time, Shaden could see how truly dangerous they are.

Shaden’s perspective completely changed after visiting the museum. She saw that nuclear weapons are still a huge threat to humanity today. Sixty percent of a modern bomb is equal to all the damage done by the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. It took Hiroshima seventy years to once again become a prosperous city, which made Shaden think; how long would it take for a city to rebuild itself if it was attacked today?

The purpose of being a member of CIF isn’t only to present a solution and never again touch base on the topic, but to become an advocate and spread the word about the dangers of nuclear weapons to the current generations. While attending the conference, Shaden witnessed the passion of young people across cultures, and established lifelong friendships. She now believes that the youth today have a strong influence in world problems. They are quick to start trends on social media and voice their opinions about current conflicts. They have the ability to change the status quo.

By educating younger generations about the negative effects of the atomic bomb, Shaden has faith that the world will slowly begin to achieve peace, free of nuclear weapons. That is why now, and in the future, she plans to advocate for disarmament, carrying the lessons she learned in Japan throughout her life.

2015 CIF Alumni Spotlight: Laura Colosky


Laura Colosky (right), with fellow student Shaden Beltran at CIF students conference in Hiroshima, April 2015.

Laura Colosky was a student at Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California, when she attended the CIF Spring Conference in Hiroshima, Japan.

While there, Laura learned that there are many ways to approach solving a problem. Everyone who attended the conference researched the same material, delving into nuclear weapon history and treaties, but for Laura the truly poignant part of each presentation was the final solution each group offered. Some chose to seek revisions of various treaties or drafted new ones, while others sought to incorporate values that promote peace through education, and still others suggested raising awareness by using social media like Facebook, Instagram, and twitter. There are so many ideas available when students come together from all over the world to discuss and collaborate. It was an amazing experience.

Laura liked how each student had a unique perspective to contribute to the cause of the peace and security of a nuclear free world, and, by sharing a common goal, students were able to connect to one another regardless of any cultural barriers. They were at the conference for one reason; to help create peace, and with that shared objective the students were able to develop meaningful friendships.

A moment Laura will forever take to heart was when the students listened to and spoke with a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor. Laura really felt that she was meant to hear her story so that she could learn from her. This gentle and charismatic 78 year old woman described in detail the trauma she suffered when she was just eight years old. She was walking to school one early morning when, in an instant, she was blinded by scorching white light, badly wounded from the surrounding debris that had scattered in all directions. When she regained her senses of sight and hearing she found herself amidst hundreds of dead, dying, and terribly wounded people all frantically seeking medical attention, shelter, and safe food and water. This graphic recollection made everything Laura had studied for the last few months seem dull in comparison. The Hiroshima atomic bomb incident was no longer just a far off piece of history that she was not connected to, but an event occurring in front of her through this woman’s memory.

Not only did she talk about her experience during the bombing, but the shame and guilt she carried throughout her life afterwards; those who survived were stigmatized by the unaffected communities rather than supported and uplifted as Laura had expected. As she watched the hibakusha relive her experiences, Laura could only imagine a fraction of the unbearable pain and despair she must have felt. Laura was shocked that such unnecessary pain and suffering could be inflicted in less than a second.

Before she began this journey, Laura grew up believing in the security and safety nuclear weapons provided America with. Now she has come to the realization that the development of nuclear weapons has only given rise to more fear and mistrust in the global community, and that out of fear the darkest creations of mankind emerge.

Stumbling upon this truth in a most personal experience has inspired Laura to seek peaceful methods of rebuilding trust and diminishing fear within the American and Japanese communities. Together, youth leaders from both cultures can raise awareness by participating in the origami challenge and using the social media tools available. By folding a paper crane in memory of Sadako’s struggle to survive, and posting it to Instagram, Facebook, or twitter, anyone can be part of the movement to abolish nuclear weapons. Signing petitions or writing letters to politicians seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons is also a great option for future leaders.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” By starting with students like Laura and other young people worldwide, the U.S. and Japan can rebuild the bridges of trust to create a more peaceful, prosperous society wherein nuclear weapons do not need to exist.

Useful Twitter Handles

Here you will find useful twitter handles, from organizations to experts in the field. We’ve created a diverse collection of viewpoints, so please keep in mind that organizations and persons might have agendas that do not always fall in line with the perspective and ideals upheld by the Critical Issues Forum.

@CIF_CNS – The CIF Conference Twitter

*Check back for regular updates!*

International Organizations

@UN_Disarmament – The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
@iaeaorg – The International Atomic Energy Agency
@ctbto_alerts – The Comprehensive Test Ban Treat Organization
@UNIDIR – United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research

NGOs/Civil Society/Think Tanks

@nuclearban – The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
@thegoodisis – Institute for Science and International Security
@belfercenter – Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
@csis – Center for Strategic and International Studies
@sipriorg – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
@brookingsfp – Brookings Institution
@stimsoncenter – Stimson Center
@BulletinAtomic – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
@theatomproject1 – The Atom Project
@CFR_org – Council on Foreign Relations
@CNS_DC – The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (D.C.)
@CNS_updates – The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (Monterey)
@VCDNP – The Vienna Center for Nonproliferation and Disarmament
@UCSUSA – Union of Concerned Scientists
@globalzero – Global Zero


@RCW_ – Reaching Critical Will (feminist perspective on Arms Control)
@38NorthNK – Analysis of Nuclear Events in/around the DPRK
@wildfire_v – A group promoting the abolition of nuclear weapons via satire
@GlobalActionPW – Human Security Policy Commentary
@EarlyWarningPF – The biweekly newsletter issued by Ploughshares Fund on nuclear issues
@rethink_media – Information on security issues


@CNS_MasakoToki – Director of CIF
@armscontrolwonk – Dr. Jeffrey Lewis
@cirincione – Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund
@BeaFihn – Beatrice Fihn, head of ICAN
@KelseyDav – Kelsey Davenport, director of Arms Control Association


*Organizations found under analysis may also fall into the NGO/Civil Society category, however they mainly focus on tweeting commentary instead of focusing too heavily on organizational interests.

It may also be worth checking out the pages for governments of interest, as they often tweet issues related to #nuclear.

2013 CIF Alumni Spotlight: Kokoro Aso

Kokoro Aso, second from the left

Four Years after CIF Kokoro continues to be active in Disarmament Efforts

It has been 4 years since I participated in the Critical Issues Forum. I still have a strong passion to create a peaceful world without any nuclear weapons. Since I am a past CIF participant, I am convinced of the importance of education. I especially think how much I’ve learned about what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a part of peace studies in Nagasaki. I was raised in Nagasaki where the atomic bomb was dropped following Hiroshima in 1945. I also was a student of Kwassui high school where many teachers and students died because of the atomic bomb. Kwassui has a peace studies club, and many students are working on various kinds of peace activities including not only the CIF conference, but also a campaign to gain 10000’s high school students signatures, Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Messenger, and so on.

I’m a student at Sophia University now. My major is Education, and I especially am interested in peace education. Through my experiences and learning in the university, I am now focusing on how we can improve the quality of education. From last September (2016) to this July, I was in the United States on a study abroad program. During the time I was in America, I tried to communicate with people about what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, I was surprised that many people I met know about Hiroshima and Nagasaki as cities where A-bomb was dropped. However, most of them don’t know the effects of the radiation that many atomic bomb survivors are still suffering.

Even though many powerful countries in the world including Japan rely on nuclear power, only a few people feel a sense of danger. I would like to be the one who can convey how dangerous and cruel nuclear weapons and radiation can be. In addition, I have a responsibility to convey to people what the atomic bomb survivors have experienced as a person who has listened to the real story from the atomic bomb survivors. The important thing is knowing the real information, and now is the very last chance to listen and learn from the atomic bomb survivors.

Kokoro Shares her Experience after CIF

Kokoro Aso attended Kwassui High School in Nagasaki, which is only 500 meters from the epicenter of the 1945 atomic bombing. As such, the teachers and students make special efforts to do peace activities. Kokoro feels that this foundation provided her with a solid grasp of how important disarmament education and research is, in that it can change the entire world.

At Kwassui, she took part in the peace studies club, as well as the 10,000 high school students signatures campaign. In her Junior year, she became the 16th peace messenger and was able to visit the United Nations office in Geneva. While there, Kokoro spoke her intent to create a world free of nuclear weapons, handing in all the signatures she had collected. After she finished her tasks in Geneva, she joined disarmament lecture meetings and symposiums around Japan.

One of the most striking things Kokoro found about working in peace education was that many of the people she encountered didn’t know about what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Consequently, she decided to learn as much as she could about the subject so that she could better communicate the importance of peace to the next generation, and to the world.

Of course, Kokoro cites Critical Issues Forum (CIF) as one of her most precious experiences. Taking part in the conference allowed her to interact with students from various countries, with whom she discussed topics such as how to create a better world. Students encouraged each other to study and learn more about the subject, and although there were cultural barriers, they found they were able to confide in each other. Even the teachers Kokoro met from different countries listened to her opinions and helped challenge her thinking.

Kokoro continues to engage in peace activities to this day, and plans to continue her studies in the United States. She wants to spread the message about how horrible war, terrorism, and other forms of conflict, including the potential use of nuclear weapons, are. Her generation may be the last that can hear about the real experiences of atomic bomb survivors, directly from the source. Kokoro feels that as a result, it is the responsibility of her and her peers to pass on stories about what happened under the mushroom cloud and how cruel nuclear weapons are.

Currently, Kokoro majors in Education at her university. Through her peace activities, including CIF, she met many great educators, who told her to continue striving for a better future. She would like to thank all the people she met through CIF, because she feels they represent the vision of change she now holds. Now, thanks to them, she strongly believes that education and outreach has the power to change the world.

2015-2016 Teachers’ Workshop Agenda

*As of November 30th, 2015*

Adobe Connect Meeting URL:

Streaming from the MIIS Digital Learning Commons Studio

All listed dates and times are US Pacific Standard Time (PST) unless noted otherwise. For local time conversion, use this site.

Tuesday, December 1st

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM (PST)
Welcome Remarks
Elena Sokova, Deputy Director, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM (PST)
Overview of the CIF Project and Teachers’ Workshop
Masako Toki, Project Manager, Nonproliferation Education Program and CNS Research Associate

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (PST)
Introduction of 2015-2016 Mini Projects, Expectation and Outcome
Masako Toki, Project Manager, Nonproliferation Education Program and CNS Research Associate

Wednesday, December 2nd

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM (PST)
Lecture 1: What are Nuclear Weapons, and the Effects of Use?: Scientific Perspectives, Part 1
Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Adjunct Professor and Scientist-in-Residence

Thursday, December 3rd

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM (PST)
Lecture 2: Nuclear Weapons in Today’s World: Where Are We, How Did We Get Here, and the Future
Dr. Jeffrey Knopf, Program Chair, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies, MIIS

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (PST)
Lecture 3: Introduction to this Year’s Topic: Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Lessons for a More Peaceful World
Dr. Benoit Pelopidas, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Bristol, UK

Friday, December 4th

10:00 PM – 11:30 PM (PST)
Lecture 4: U.S.-Soviet/Russia Nuclear Weapons Reduction: An Overview
Dr. Nikolai Sokov, CNS Senior Fellow

2:00 PM – 2:50 PM (PST)
Workshop 1: Language
Marie Butcher, English Instructor, MIIS

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM (PST)
Workshop 2: Citing Sources

Week 2

Monday, December 7th

7:30 AM – 9:00 AM (PST)
Lecture 5: The NPT Review Process and Future of Nuclear Disarmament
Gaukhar Mukhatzanova, Director, International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM (PST)
Lecture 6: What are Nuclear Weapons, and the Effects of Use?: Scientific Perspectives, Part 2
Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Adjunct Professor and Scientist-in-Residence

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (PST)
Lecture 7: Introduction to the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament Regimes
Joe Brazda, Research Associate, International Organizations and Nonproliferation Program

Tuesday, December 8th

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (PST)
Lecture 8: Global Nuclear Vulnerability 1: Close Calls Case Studies
Dr. Benoit Pelopidas, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Bristol, UK

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (PST)
Lecture 9: Global Nuclear Vulnerability 2: Close Calls Case Studies
Dr. Benoit Pelopidas, Lecturer in International Relations, University of Bristol, UK

Thursday, December 10th

4:00 PM – 4:50 PM (PST)
Workshop 3: Language: Focusing Your Message
Marie Butcher, English Instructor, MIIS

5:00 PM – 5:50 PM (PST)
Workshop 4: Making Effective Presentations

Friday, December 11th

3:00 PM – 3:30 PM (PST)
Introducing Useful Resources
Masako Toki, Project Manager, Nonproliferation Education Program and CNS Research Associate

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM (PST)
Wrap Up Session and Discussion for the Spring Conference
Masako Toki, Project Manager, Nonproliferation Education Program and CNS Research Associate