Dr. Perry saluted the CNS for “pioneering” nonproliferation and disarmament education and congratulated the participants of the conference. Below is his quote:
Dr. William Perry’s keynote presentation
“I would like to start off by thanking Bill Potter and the James Martin Center for sponsoring this wonderful and unique conference. I have believed for many years now that the only way I would want to deal with this nuclear problem is through education and the education has to start young, at high school. And Bill Potter is going to pioneer in recognizing this best and the most successful program on the way in the country to actually implement it. So, Bill, Congratulations on the wonderful work. I have to tell you also how impressed I was by the talks I heard this morning and I want to thank all the students who gave the talk and all the other high school students who are here and preparing to get the same informed education about this one existential threat to you and your families and to the whole world. I would be remiss if I not also recognize to thank the teachers and the principals with whom you worked to help you prepare for this event. Anything that we can do to encourage the teachers and the principals to move forward on this is critically important. I do not believe we will really deal effectively with the nuclear problem until the youth of our country become fully understanding about how dangerous this is to their future and start to work actively to reduce this danger and to eliminate it.”
US, Japanese, Russian High School Students Discuss Nuclear Dangers and Find Solutions with Former Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry “Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Lessons for a More Secure and Peaceful World”
April 28, 2016
Students and teachers from Japan and Russia joined peers from the United States at a conference on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament convened by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). The conference featured former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. The Critical Issues Forum (CIF) annual conference took place on April 15-16 at Santa Catalina School in Monterey that co-hosted the conference.
Each year, the CIF conference takes place at a time when the world leaders are also tackling challenges posed by nuclear dangers. This year’s conference was no exception. This parallel timing underscores for the students that they are engaging with vital, real-world issues through the project. As dedicated students studying disarmament and nonproliferation, these young people will be essential to reducing nuclear risks and contributing to the goal of peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons.
Just a few days before the CIF conference, the Group of Seven Foreign Ministers meeting was held in Hiroshima, and for the first time, the incumbent US secretary of state visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Also a few weeks prior to the CIF conference, President Barack Obama convened the final Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, where over fifty world leaders gathered to take concrete measures to enhance nuclear security.
Former United States Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry and his daughter, Ms. Robin Perry, joined the conference for the entire second day’s session, which featured a dialogue session between him and the students, moderated by Dr. William Potter, CNS founding director. This direct interaction with a former top-ranking US defense official who had been deeply involved in US nuclear weapons policy was an exciting and rare opportunity for participants.
Dr. William Perry’s keynote presentation
As an additional enhancement to the prestige of the conference, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida sent a congratulatory message to the CIF participants, delivered at the conference by Japanese Consul General in San Francisco Mr. Jun Yamada. Mr. Kishida himself participated last year’s CIF conference that was held in Hiroshima to greet participants. The CIF conference was also fortunate to have Professor Mitsuru Kurosawa from Osaka Jogakuin University and the founding president of the Japan Association of Disarmament Studies as a commentator.
Under this year’s theme, “Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Lessons for a More Secure and Peaceful World,” students held informed and dynamic discussions that built upon their semester-long preparation as part of the CIF project. Students and teachers effectively inspired each other and learned from other schools’ presentations. It is truly encouraging to see these young future leaders working together to find ways to reduce nuclear dangers.
The CIF conference on April 15 and 16 brought seven US high schools, six Japanese schools, and three Russian high schools to Santa Catalina to discuss global nuclear vulnerability, reducing nuclear dangers, and what each of these young leaders-in-training can do to make progress toward a goal of peace and security of a world free of nuclear weapons. Following an opening statement by Masako Toki, CIF project manager, Dr. William Potter warmly welcomed all the participants, congratulating their hard work to study this challenging but vital topic. He highlighted CNS’s mission to educate the next generation of nonproliferation specialists, and the importance of disarmament and nonproliferation education for high school students, which is very rare. As head of the hosting Upper School of Santa Catalina School, Dr. Kassandra Brenot cordially welcomed the participants from these three countries.
Kwassui High School students from Nagasaki gave their presentation titled – “IT’S NEVER SECURE － the myth of nuclear safety”
Throughout the months of preparation for the conference, the students immersed themselves studying the topic, “Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Lessons for a More Secure and Peaceful World.” Students examined the dangers of the current nuclear weapons situation, and investigated how close the world has come to nuclear weapons use, and many concluded that, in some respects, the risk of nuclear weapons is greater today than it was during the Cold War. They also explored the ways in which international nonproliferation and disarmament regimes function to prevent nuclear weapons from being used. Students also explored ways to prevent any future use of nuclear weapons. Then, through meticulous, insightful, and creative research, students presented their own solutions to these problems, demonstrating a solid understanding of this sophisticated and complex challenge.
To supplement and expertly guide students’ own research, CIF teachers had participated in the previous December, in an online teachers’ workshop on the relevant subjects. Using lectures and educational materials prepared by CNS experts, each school worked hard toward the spring conference.
Student Presentation Highlights (each school’s presentation video and file can be viewed here.
In their presentation, students from the host school, Santa Catalina in Monterey, California, examined how to avoid nuclear weapons use both accidentally and intentionally. Students shared their idea to disarm the majority of the nuclear weapons in the world slowly and gradually while maintaining the world stability. Dr. Olga Mohan High School from Los Angeles focused on the North Korea’s nuclear threats and how to solve this dangerous situation. Their studies included the recent nuclear weapons tests and background information. The students also highlighted the likelihood of a North Korean nuclear accident. Before the conference, the students and teacher interviewed several nuclear experts, and concluded their presentation with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon’s principle: “there are no right hands for wrong weapons.”
Students from Dr.Olga Mohan High School ‘s creative presentation
As first time CIF participants, Punahou School from Hawaii students’ research included an interview with a survivor of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. This research also explored past close calls, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1983 Soviet Nuclear False Alarm incident. Students also delineated the current nuclear weapon status that continues to present threats to humanity. In order to reduce the nuclear dangers, the students argued that it is essential to raise awareness of such a danger among young people. Thus, they proposed that high schools should create an international issues club where students and teachers can actively discuss and find solutions to global challenges. They also proposed to collect petitions to take US nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert. As an effort to promote nuclear disarmament education, the Punahou students also proposed to coordinate educational activities with Hiroshima peace scholars.
Students from one of CIF’s “veteran” high schools, Choate Rosemary Hall, explored several existing nuclear threats, such as the continued existence of thousands of nuclear warheads across the globe, their proliferation, their status, and modernization by some countries, as well as issues of nuclear terrorism. In their proposal, Choate students argued that any progress in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament requires US leadership, and that US diplomatic leverage can encourage other nations to follow suit The decisive unilateral actions to reduce stockpiles and lower hair-trigger alert status are important steps. The students also examined other solutions including realignment of spending priorities to reduce nuclear weapons funding and changing public perceptions.
Choate Rosemary Hall’s students gave their presentation on “Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Threats Seen and Unseen”
This year, six Japanese high schools participated, four of which were new to CIF—a warmly welcomed expansion of the project to other cities in Japan beyond Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One of the original schools, Hiroshima Jogakuin Senior High School, has been undertaking extensive nuclear disarmament and peace education activities, including meticulous scrutiny of excessive defense spending for nuclear weapons and the study of the risk of terrorist acquisition of nuclear materials or nuclear weapons. The students also highlighted lack of progress in nuclear disarmament. In order to achieve the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, these students from the first city that was attacked by a nuclear weapon proposed to utilize education to promote nuclear disarmament. The students came up with an idea to create a special project entitled the Youth Education for a Nuclear Weapon Free World (YENFW) and create a universal textbook available online for free.
Another veteran school from Japan, Kwassui High School in Nagasaki, argued that nuclear weapons will never bring safety and security to the world, articulating three nuclear dangers: the use of nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons as deterrence, and nuclear weapons as a tool to gain interest. They investigated the reasons and causes behind these dangers, and how we can overcome them. The students argued that the current NPT regime is not sufficient to accomplish the goals of a world without nuclear weapons, highlighting the importance of creating a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons, as well as the need to raise awareness of the risk of nuclear weapons through educational activities among civil society, especially among young students.
One of the first-time participants, Soka Senior High School in Tokyo, asserted the importance of a paradigm shift in nuclear weapons from the concept that nuclear weapons are a necessary evil to an absolute evil to humanity. In order to make this paradigm shift, students suggested that we should take a multi-track diplomacy approach. As part of the effort to promote the importance of achieving a world without nuclear weapons, students introduced their promotional and educational video project.
All the students’ presentation will be posted on the CIF website. http://sites.miis.edu/criticalissuesforum/
Keynote by and Conversation with Dr. William Perry
A highlight of this year’s CIF conference was the keynote speech by former Defense Secretary Dr. William Perry and the ensuing conversation with him and his daughter, Ms. Robin Perry.
CNS Director Potter introduced Dr. Perry as a man whose name has become “synonymous with government service, integrity, and common sense.” Dr. Potter highlighted Dr. Perry’s tremendous work in galvanizing efforts to secure nuclear stockpiles inherited by former Soviet states and presiding over the dismantlement of more than 8,000 nuclear weapons.
Before he started his keynote address, Dr. Perry kindly applauded CNS for holding this “unique and insightful” educational conference, saluting Dr. Potter and CNS for “pioneering” nonproliferation and disarmament education, and tireless and creative efforts to promote such education. He emphasized the importance of education to reduce nuclear dangers, and highlighted that starting such education at the high school level is an effective way to spark a lifelong engagement with the issue.
In his keynote remarks, Dr. Perry shared his unique and insightful thoughts on nuclear dangers, culled from his own experience through his long-term government service, including as secretary of defense. After witnessing the nuclear devastation first-hand in Hiroshima only a few months after the bombing, his role as an analyst during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as well as subsequent further nuclear crises during his time in government, Dr. Perry’s appreciation of what nuclear weapons can do to human beings and environment is an important gift to have shared with all CIF participants.
Dr. William Perry and his daughter Robin Perry along with the CNS Director Dr. William Potter during the conversation with CIF students.
Dr. Perry warned that we are now on the verge of a new nuclear arms race, and that we are drifting back to a Cold War mentality. The public, he said, is “blissfully unaware” of the new nuclear danger they face. He emphasized that the danger of nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. He is therefore is working tirelessly to reduce nuclear dangers through public education, especially youth: the best way, he said, “to deal with this nuclear problem is through education, and education has to start young, at high school.” This situation inspired him to write his new memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, which aims to educate the public about these dangers.
Please see his speech in the video below:
The conference also welcomed Ms. Robin Perry, Dr. Perry’s daughter and the executive director of the William J. Perry Project (http://www.wjperryproject.org), which produced a grim animated short she shared with CIF participants.
Dr. Perry and Dr. Potter congratulate participants from Soka Senior High School with Masako Toki, CIF project manager
While the scenario depicted in the film is fiction, it showcases the real plausibility of terrorists acquiring nuclear materials and developing an effective, improvised nuclear device. The project aims to educate and engage the public about the dangers of nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century.
After the video screening, Dr. Potter moderated the conversation between Dr. Perry and high school students. CIF students were not shy in asking questions to the former secretary of state. They lined up in front of microphones to ask Dr. Perry a variety of enthusiastic, interesting questions, including his views on how young students can fulfill the important role of reducing nuclear dangers, the dangers of North Korea’s nuclear threats, US-Russia relations, nuclear terrorism, and nuclear policies in the context of the US presidential election.
Message from Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Another treat for participants was the congratulatory message sent from Japanese Foreign Minister Mr. Fumio Kishida Delivered by Mr. Jun Yamada, Japanese Consul General in San Francisco, Foreign Minister Kishida highlighted the historic G7 foreign ministers meeting in Hiroshima, which provided the ministers with a chance to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, lay wreaths at the Cenotaph for the atomic bomb victims, and visit the atomic bomb dome. Mr. Kishida, a Hiroshima native, is well known as a strong disarmament advocate and his efforts toward creating a world free of nuclear weapons through disarmament education for youth. As part of such effort, Mr. Kishida reiterated his announcement from the Hiroshima G7 meeting that Japan will expand the Youth Communicators for a World without Nuclear Weapons Program to other countries as well. Many CIF students were appointed official “Youth Communicators,” including some American and Russian students, the first non-Japanese students so appointed.
Link to Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco Website in Japanese, and in English
MIIS Gradate Students’ Panel Discussions
MIIS students studying nonproliferation issues share their experience with CIF high school students
The CIF conference also engaged graduate students in nonproliferation and terrorism studies. These young scholars shared their experiences with how the MIIS nonproliferation studies impacted their career decisions. Hearing how MIIS students’ experience interning at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, working for various international disarmament and nonproliferation conferences—such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference and the UN General Assembly meetings—encouraged and inspired these CIF high school students to continue their academic and professional endeavors in the field. During a question-and-answer session, the high school students asked the MIIS students for their advice in terms of educational and career opportunities in nonproliferation and disarmament.
Dr.Perry chatting with high school students
This year’s CIF conference again proved the importance of disarmament and nonproliferation education for youth as a way toward achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. As Dr. Perry stated in his speech, the first step we must take to reduce nuclear danger is education, and CNS efforts to engage high school students in such a dynamic and multifaceted manner is one important contribution.
These high school students worked tirelessly, thinking critically about this complicated nuclear issue in order to find their own, innovative solutions to reduce nuclear dangers and make progress in nuclear disarmament. Many of these students realized that they are the ones who are responsible to achieve that goal. CNS hopes that this type of educational project will give more opportunities to young students to further raise their awareness of these global challenges, strengthen their determination to work toward this goal, and start something they can do, no matter how small it may seem.
Dr. Perry at book signing of his new memoir, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink”
In his recent memoir, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, Dr. Perry elucidated in its final chapter: “… Dealing with the problem of nuclear dangers will take decades, and will ultimately need to be solved by today’s youth, in America and around the globe. My generation dealt with the nuclear dangers of the Cold War; later generations must deal with the deadly nuclear legacy that we left behind.” For these youths to inherit this daunting task, education is essential.
Participants from Novouralsk, Russia and Hiroshima
United States Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT
Harker School, San Jose, CA
Dr. Olga Mohan High School, Los Angeles, CA
Pacific Grove High School, Pacific Grove, CA
Punahou School, Honolulu, HI
Rock University High School, Janesville, WI
Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA
Japan Hiroshima Jogakuin Senior High School, Hiroshima
Kansai Soka Senior High School, Katano
Kwassui High School, Nagasaki
Nagasaki Nanzan Senior High School, Nagasaki
Ritsumeikan Uji Senior High School, Kyoto
Soka Senior High School, Tokyo
Russia Gymnasium No 41, Novouralsk
Gymnasia No 164, Zelenogorsk
Please see the video clip featuring Gymnasium 164 in Zelenogorsk, Russia.
2015-16 Critical Issues Forum Project Starts with Online Teachers’ Workshop
by Masako Toki
Ms. Elena Sokova, CNS Deputy Director, welcoming CIF teachers at the online workshop
The 2015-16 Critical Issues Forum (CIF) kicked off with an online teachers’ workshop, held during the first and second week of December, the final month of the seventieth anniversary year of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a flagship education project of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS), CIF is a unique nonproliferation and disarmament education project for high school teachers and students around the world to promote awareness of the importance of these issues. Ensuring disarmament and nonproliferation education for next generations has become increasingly important; the average age of atomic bomb survivors is now over eighty, and these hibakusha are vital for passing on the memory of the effects of the use of nuclear weapons.
This year’s topic “Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Lessons for a More Secure and Peaceful World,” encourages CIF participants to examine and investigate nuclear “close calls,” human and technical mistakes that nearly led to the accidental or mistaken use of nuclear weapons. Students will explore the current status of nuclear arsenals and how international nonproliferation and disarmament regimes are preventing nuclear weapons from being used. Students will also assess the degree to which the current nonproliferation and disarmament regime is effectively working and contributing to making a safer world. Moreover, students will examine how the recent international environment, such as the deteriorating US-Russia relationship, could increase the risk of the use of nuclear weapons.
Students will need to investigate whether there are any ways to prevent the future use of nuclear weapons, and explore possible pathways toward the goal of total elimination of these weapons. Although some may strongly believe that the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the only solution, students will also need to study if there are practical ways to prevent the use of nuclear weapons while they still exist.
Teachers from Japan, Russia’s closed nuclear cities, and US schools around the country participated in the online workshop. Participants engaged both synchronously with the online workshops and asynchronously, at a later, more convenient for them, given time differences. All workshop sessions were recorded and remain available on the CIF website for asynchronous viewing.
CNS deputy director Ms. Elena Sokova gave welcoming remarks, congratulating the CIF teachers for their important work in disarmament and nonproliferation education for the next generations. She also highlighted the successful spring conference that was held in Hiroshima in April 2015 that commemorated the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombings.
She emphasized the importance of remembering horrendous human effects of the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She delineated the current alarming world nuclear weapons situation and the need for this type of disarmament and nonproliferation education in order to improve the security environment, highlighting the importance of raising awareness among the future leaders, the danger of nuclear weapons, and nuclear vulnerability.
In her remarks, she quoted former US Defense Secretary William Perry’s new book, “My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,” which is directly relevant to this year’s topic. In his book, Dr. Perry introduced six pivotal experiences in his life and lessons about nuclear weapons that he drew from those experiences. And these lessons all contribute to reducing nuclear dangers—also one of the goals of this year’s CIF project.
This year’s teachers’ workshop lectures covered a wide range of topics related to global nuclear vulnerability. Dr. Benoit Pelopidas, a distinguished nonproliferation scholar, provided an introductory lecture to this year’s topic. In a separate lecture, Dr. Pelopidas discussed the case studies of close calls of nuclear weapons, highlighting in particular the Cuban Missile Crisis. In his final lecture, he examined implications of past and present nuclear weapons policies and practices, emphasizing the importance of future leaders, especially high school students, to study this topic in order to understand the nuclear danger and consider how to reduce the nuclear risk.
Other lectures covered global nonproliferation regimes, the current world status of nuclear weapons, the basics of nuclear weapons, the 2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), nuclear disarmament initiatives, and scientific perspectives of nuclear weapons.
Dr. Nikolai Sokov, CNS senior fellow and leading expert of Russian nuclear policy, discussed US-Russia arms control and nuclear policies to help CIF participants better understand the recent heightened tensions between the two countries and its impact on international nuclear nonproliferation regimes.
Dr. Jeffrey Knopf, chair of the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program at MIIS, presented an overview of the current nuclear situation and challenges to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. He also highlighted modern nonproliferation concerns and some causes of possible use of nuclear weapons.
Ms. Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova, director of CNS’s International Organization and Nonproliferation Program (IONP), articulated what happened at the 2015 NPT Review Conference, and shared her analysis on the causes of the failure of the Review Conference and uncertainty of the future of disarmament efforts.
Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, scientist-in-residence at CNS, explained how nuclear weapons work, breaking down the basic physics behind nuclear science. He also gave a lecture on the impact of the use of nuclear weapons from scientific perspectives.
Mr. Joe Brazda, an IONP research associate, explained international nonproliferation regimes and the role of international organizations.
For the complete lecture video and presentations, visit the CIF website’s teachers’ workshop page: http://sites.miis.edu/criticalissuesforum/2015/12/01/2015-2016-teachers-workshop-lectures/
After teachers have studied these topics using the online materials, they will work with their students at their own schools towards the Spring Conference that will be held at Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California, in April. This year, we expect to have several Japanese high schools from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Osaka, several US high schools from around the country, as well as schools from Russia’s closed nuclear cities.
2015-2016 Critical Issues Forum Useful Resources Topic: Global Nuclear Vulnerability: Lessons for a More Peaceful World *Please note that more resources will be added to the section of “This year’s topic-specific resources.”
A powerful story of the most destructive invention in human history, outlining how America developed the nuclear bomb, how it changed the world and how it continues to loom large in our lives. Witness the raw power and strangely compelling beauty of rare views of above-ground nuclear tests. http://video.pbs.org/program/bomb/
NukeMap by Alex Wellerstein
(Interactive Map that allows you to simulate the real life effects of a Nuclear Bomb in any area)
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION Resources/General Information on Nuclear Disarmament
United Nations United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
Main website for sources pertaining to disarmament containing spotlights on recent developments, updates and announcements.
CIF Participants in front of the Hiroshima Children’s Peace Monument
April 22, 2015
From April 2-4, 2015, students from the United States and Russia joined Japanese students in Hiroshima, Japan, for the annual Critical Issues Forum (CIF) conference on nuclear disarmament. The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) cosponsored the conference as part of the CIF program, in partnership with Hiroshima Jogakuin Senior High School and the Hiroshima for Global Peace Plan Joint Project Executive Committee (Hiroshima Prefecture and Hiroshima City).
This was the first time in the eighteen-year history of the CIF that the student conference was held in Hiroshima, the first city to have ever experienced nuclear devastation, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The three-day conference included two days of students’ presentations at Hiroshima Jogakuin, where all the participating schools demonstrated their semester-long studies on this year’s topic, “Nuclear Disarmament: Humanitarian Approach.”
The last day of the conference featured speeches by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Governor of Hiroshima Hidehiko Yuzaki, and a keynote speech by Mr. Yoshitoshi Nakamura, the deputy director general in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department. The students also organized a showcase of their presentations from the previous day, and then held a panel discussion featuring students from each country, which was moderated by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama, one of Japan’s foremost nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation experts.
To further enhance their understanding of the horror of nuclear weapons use, teachers and students visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and heard a first-hand account of August 6, 1945, from a hibakusha, an atomic bomb survivor. All participants agreed that their CIF experience in Hiroshima was informative, enriching, and enlightening.
International Students’ Conference
Hiroshima Jogakuin’s presentation ending with music.
On April 2 and 3, students presented their findings of their semester-long studies on this year’s topic, “Nuclear Disarmament: Humanitarian Approach.”
Following an opening statement by Masako Toki, CIF project manager, and welcoming remarks by Mr. Haruo Hoshino, the principal of Hiroshima Jogakuin Senior High School, the students watched a video message from Ms. Virginia Gamba, director and deputy to the high representative for disarmament affairs, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. In her message, she congratulated participants for holding such an important conference to promote disarmament and nonproliferation education in Hiroshima, and she expressed her hope that students continue their work toward a nuclear-weapon-free world.
Given the topic of this year’s CIF project, many schools investigated the effects of nuclear weapon use on both the environment and human beings. Due to the deep concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, many students supported the idea to ban nuclear weapons based on their studies of these weapons from scientific, environmental, political and cultural perspectives. Many students’ presentations pointed out the shortcomings of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), such as its discriminatory nature and weak enforcement mechanism.
All the high school students’ presentations contained creative and innovative ideas while demonstrating a solid understanding on the topic they learned through their semester-long thorough research.
Student Presentation Highlights
In their presentation, students from Santa Catalina High School in Monterey, California, explored how we can apply the humanitarian initiative while pursuing disarmament and maintaining a collaborative relationship with both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Through their investigation, the Santa Catalina students proposed pursuing a change in the NPT, essentially transforming it into to a Nuclear Nonproliferation and Disarmament Treaty (NPDT).
The host school, Hiroshima Jogakuin, gave one of the most multidimensional presentations, incorporating a skit, music, and PowerPoint presentation to demonstrate their thoughts on the need to ban nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Jogakuin has a long history of peace and disarmament education, given their experience of losing over 300 students in the atomic bomb attack on August 6, 1945. Hiroshima Jogakuin’s presentation conveyed the horrific effects of the use of nuclear weapons against human beings, and emphasized the importance of raising awareness of this issue, asserting that the nuclear threat is everyone’s problem
Pasadena High School from California formed a Nuclear Nonproliferation Club for the CIF project. The students argued that the NPT ultimately proved to be a “successful, failed experiment.” While it prevented a catastrophic nuclear war during the critical period of the Cold War, it failed to wholly prevent further nuclear proliferation or achieve a world without nuclear weapons.
A first time participant, Harker School from San Jose, California, presented a comparative analysis of the feasibility of achieving nuclear disarmament through an emphasis on humanitarian considerations. The students investigated several different successes in humanitarian-centered efforts, such as the abolition of slavery, the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Landmine Ban Treaty (officially known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction). The students formulated their presentation by analyzing how, based on these precedents, a similarly humanitarian-focused initiative on nuclear weapons could lead us to a more peaceful world without nuclear weapons.
Yokohama Senior High School of International Studies, Kanagawa, emphasized the importance of nuclear disarmament education, proposing standardized disarmament and nonproliferation education for the youth. The Yokohama students argued that effective disarmament education will eventually impact the nuclear policies of states, leading to more disarmament progress.
This year, two Russian schools participated in the conference. Both schools’ presentations were very creative and well-researched. Students from Novouralsk illustrated stories of the lives of children who became victims of nuclear weapons, effectively conveying the inhumane nature of such weapons. They highlighted the importance of achieving a world free of nuclear weapons for the future generation. Students from Zelenogorsk discussed the importance of International Humanitarian Law and grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament.
Mr. Steven Leeper, former Chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, gave a keynote address titled “Youth, Education and a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.” He emphasized the importance of the culture-of-peace approach to accomplish nuclear abolition. He shared with the CIF students the sense of urgency he feels working toward nuclear abolition warrants, as well as the need to utilize all the necessary resources.
Mr. Jeffrey Adler from the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo gave a presentation on the importance of the US-Japan cooperation for nuclear nonproliferation. In his talk “Strength of People to People Relationships,” he highlighted the educational and cultural activities for a better relationship between the two countries, contributing to peace and security in the Asia Pacific region as well as the entire world.
The three-day CIF conference culminated with the public symposium at the Hiroshima International Conference Center. The CIF attracted the highest ranking official of the Japanese government, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida, who is originally from Hiroshima. In his speech at the symposium, the foreign minister congratulated CNS and the co-organizers in holding this important event in Hiroshima with students from the United States, Russia and Japan, and highlighted the importance of disarmament education for the next generations. He also discussed Japan’s role in building a world without nuclear weapons, elaborating on his country’s role in the upcoming NPT Review Conference as well as the twelve-nation Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) that Japan had co-founded with Australia.
CIF Students from Each Country at Panel Discussion at Public Symposium Moderated by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama
Ambassador Yasuyoshi Komizo, chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, expressed his hope that the international community starts negotiating a nuclear weapon convention to de-legitimize these weapons, given the catastrophic effects of the use of nuclear weapons.
Students from Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut and Kaisei High School in Tokyo made a joint presentation showcasing their studies on the humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament and their experiences in the CIF project. The two schools combined their presentations they presented at the Hiroshima Jogakuin on previous day.
Both schools challenged the current NPT regime by investigating why a world free of nuclear weapons has not been achieved through the NPT. The students also addressed the legality of the use of nuclear weapons, citing the 1996 advisory opinion on nuclear weapons by the International Court of Justice. The students further argued that there are many other ways that the money currently allotted toward nuclear weapons can be used in ways to more sustainably build peace, such as peacekeeping operations. In their concluding remarks, they emphasized that their presentation included only a few of the many great ideas that were presented at the conference. On behalf of all the CIF students, they implored the audience to raise awareness of these nuclear weapon issues, and to think seriously about what we can do to help advance nuclear disarmament.
The keynote address was given by Mr. Yoshitoshi Nakamura, the deputy director general in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department. He presented an overview of Japan’s nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation policy, and the role of disarmament and nonproliferation education. He emphasized the importance of youth education as well as local community efforts to promote disarmament and nonproliferation education.
One highlight of the symposium was a panel discussion by students from each country, moderated by Professor Nobumasa Akiyama of Hitotsubashi University, a leading Japanese expert in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Each student shared his or her own personal experience with nuclear disarmament initiatives and disarmament education.
As a third generation hibakusha, Ms. Masaki Koyanagi, a student from Kwassui High School in Nagasaki, expressed her determination to convey the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons that her grandparents experienced. She affirmed her belief in the power of youth to make positive impact on nuclear disarmament progress.
In her speech, student Amadea Tanner of Pasadena High School insisted that the key to overcoming obstacles to nuclear disarmament is to “trust.” She said countries in possession of nuclear weapons do not trust each other to take steps in getting rid of their weapons, but she believes that trust can be restored one step at a time.
Her statement resonated with many of audience. She also articulated her determination to educate as many people as possible on nuclear disarmament issues. Ethan Ma from Harker School argued that the movement to end nuclear weapons must be a step within the greater movement toward peace.
Yuina Capper from Hiroshima Jogakuin asserted that the biggest obstacle to abolish nuclear weapons is the people who think it is safer to have nuclear weapons. Therefore, she is convinced that it is important for her to show those people how nuclear weapons can destroy our lives and environment, and that in this way she can contribute to a creating a world free of nuclear weapons.
Valeria Serkova discussed how growing up in, Zerenogorsk, Russia, a “closed city” established specifically to operate nuclear facilities, has led her to be interested in nuclear disarmament. She emphasized the importance of taking action to make progress toward a nuclear weapon-free world. Based on her experience in disarmament and peace activities at her school, she argued that education provides young people with the necessary, solid foundation to work for nuclear disarmament.
These future leaders in nuclear disarmament stimulated other students in the audience, and there were many constructive questions. Professor Akiyama concluded the symposium by encouraging all the participating students to further their interest in this vital global issue and to all strive to become leaders in this field.
Throughout the three-day conference, there were significant media coverage. The public symposium, in particular, was broadcast nationwide by NHK, Japan’s national TV station. Almost 200 people gathered for the public symposium in the 150-capacity room, illustrating the significant public interest in nuclear disarmament discussions by high school students from the United States, Russia, and Japan.
As the main organizer of the CIF project, CNS worked very hard with the co-organizers—Hiroshima Jogakuin, Hiroshima prefecture, and city, and all the participating schools. This conference was a historic achievement in disarmament and nonproliferation education, not only because the foreign minister participated, or that it happened in Hiroshima to commemorate the 70th anniversary, but also that these high school students worked so hard to think critically about this complicated issue, in order to find their own, innovative solutions. Through the CIF activities, all the students were able to develop their critical-thinking skills, and learned nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issues, the impact of the use of nuclear weapons, and examined challenges to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. Most importantly, many of these students realized that they are the ones who are responsible to achieve that goal.
In that sense, the power and promise of education to achieve this goal needs to be more widely recognized by more people around the world. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his monumental speech on disarmament at the MIIS two years ago, eloquently stated that “Education can also help to refute the claim that nuclear disarmament is utopian … Education can help the world to build a global culture of peace that rejects all weapons of mass destruction as illegitimate and immoral.” CNS hopes that this type of educational project will give more opportunities to many young students to further raise their awareness of these global challenges, strengthen their determination to work toward this goal, and start something they can do, no matter how small it may seem.
United States Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT
Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA
Harker School, San Jose, CA
Pasadena High School, Pasadena, CA
Presque Isle High School, Presque Isle, ME
Rock University High School, Janesville, WI
Santa Catalina School, Monterey, CA
Japan Hiroshima Jogakuin Senior High School, Hiroshima
Kwassui High School, Nagasaki
Yasuda Girls High School, Hiroshima
Yokohama Senior High School of International Studies, Kanagawa
Kaisei High School, Tokyo
Russia Gymnasium No 41, Novouralsk
Gymnasia No 164, Zelenogorsk
U.S. and Russian High School Teachers Explore Nuclear Nonproliferation at the Critical Issues Forum Teacher Workshop
The 2009-2010 Critical Issues Forum (CIF) launched another successful year of the program at a teachers workshop held from November 12 to 14, 2009 at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in Monterey. Sixteen U.S. teachers and three Russian teachers participated in the workshop to develop curricula this year’s topic “Nuclear Nonproliferation: Global Opportunities and Regional Challenges.” The group included eight new American teachers from four schools new to the CIF program. Teachers from high schools in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas and Wisconsin attended, along with Russian teachers from the cities of Novouralsk and Zelenogorsk. Russian teachers will hold a parallel workshop in January in Novouralsk with the rest of the participating teachers from Russia’s closed nuclear cities: Lesnoy, Ozersk, Sarov, Seversk, Snezhinsk, Trekhgorniy, Zarechniy, and Zheleznogorsk.
The topic reflected the new momentum in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament in preparation for the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. While the global movement to strengthen the international nuclear nonproliferation regime is increasing, the international community has been continuously challenged by regional nonproliferation concerns, including Iran and North Korea. This year’s CIF program challenges participants to investigate how regional security issues in which WMD play a significant role will impact on the outcome of the Review Conference and to explore how to improve regional security while strengthening the NPT regime. With this in mind, CNS staff and experienced high school teachers worked together to develop the curriculum and teaching materials for this year’s CIF topic, and introduced them at the workshop. Experts from CNS and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) shared their expertise through lectures and interactive sessions.
The workshop consisted of three components: content-lectures by CNS experts and a guest speaker; instruction on how to conduct the CIF program with students; and teacher-led discussions on how to further improve the program. The lectures included an overview of the current nuclear weapons status in the world, the basics of nuclear weapons technology, Introduction to the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament regime, prospects for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, and recent initiatives in nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. On the second day of the workshop, lectures were focused on current regional challenges in nuclear nonproliferation, including South Asia, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia. The workshop also included a debate between Monterey Institute nonproliferation students on whether the international community should negotiate a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban all nuclear weapons.
The CIF program’s goal is consistent with the CNS mission to train the next generation of nonproliferation specialists and raise global public awareness on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) issues. High school students rarely have an opportunity to study nonproliferation and disarmament of WMD. The CIF program provides high school students with a precious opportunity to study international security and WMD issues, aiming to make an impact in securing a more peaceful world in the future. CIF partners believe that disarmament and nonproliferation education for young people, including high school students, is one of the most important measures to enhance peace and security in the world.
The teachers participating in the workshop will work with their students on the topic of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament for the remainder of the school year. Teachers and students will return to Monterey to present projects demonstrating their study of WMD issues at a student-teacher conference in April 2010.CNS is grateful to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ford Foundation for their support of CIF.
Twenty teachers from U.S. and Russian high schools launched the 2008-2009 Critical Issues Forum (CIF) with the Teacher Development Workshop, which took place from December 4 to 6, 2008 at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in Monterey. The topic of this year’s CIF program is “Nuclear Disarmament: Challenges, Opportunities and Next Steps.” This topic is remarkably timely given the increasing momentum in nuclear disarmament debates in the United States and several other countries. CNS staff and experienced high school teachers collaborated to develop the curriculum and teaching materials for this year’s CIF topic, and introduced them at the workshop. Experts from CNS, the Graduate School of International Policy Studies of the Monterey Institute, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) gave lectures sharing their expertise.
Teachers from high schools in California, Hawaii, Texas and Wisconsin attended, along with Russian teachers from the cities of Novouralsk and Zelenogorsk. Russian teachers will hold a parallel workshop in January in Novouralsk with the rest of the participating teachers from Russia’s closed nuclear cities: Lesnoy, Ozersk, Sarov, Seversk, Snezhinsk, Trekhgorniy, Zarechniy, and Zheleznogorsk.
The workshop consisted of three components: content-lectures by CNS experts and a guest speaker; instruction on how to conduct the CIF program with students; and a teacher-led discussion on how to further improve the program. The lectures included an overview of the current nuclear weapons status in the world, the basics of nuclear weapons technology, U.S. – Russia bilateral arms control and disarmament efforts, multilateral arms control and nuclear disarmament, and roles of civil society in nuclear disarmament. A panel discussion with three speakers, each representing a different stance on nuclear weapons policy, also stimulated participants to examine the intricacies of the nuclear weapons issue.
The topic for this year’s CIF program could not be more appropriate. The initiative taken by four preeminent former high-ranking U.S. officials—George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn—revitalized the momentum for nuclear disarmament, placing the issue on the mainstream policy agenda. Other countries, leaders, and civil society started voicing support for disarmament efforts, and this movement is significantly growing worldwide.
The CIF program’s goal is consistent with the CNS mission to train the next generation of nonproliferation specialists and raise global public awareness on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) issues. High school students rarely have an opportunity to study nonproliferation and disarmament of WMD. The CIF program provides high school students with a precious opportunity to study international security and WMD issues, aiming to make an impact in securing a more peaceful world in the future.
A world free of nuclear weapons proposed by these four statesmen can only be realized if the growing disarmament movement is inherited and implemented by the next generation of leaders. In that sense, disarmament and nonproliferation education for young people, including high school students, is one of the most important measures to enhance peace and security in the world.
The participating teachers in the workshop will take what they have learned from the content lectures and each other to work with their students during the next semester on the topic of nuclear disarmament. The teachers and students will return to Monterey in April 2009 to present their findings at the cross-cultural student-teacher conference, the highlight of the year-long program.
CNS thanks the following for their support of the CIF Teacher Development Workshop: the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ford Foundation.
Teachers listening to a presentation.
Participants in the 2008 CIF Teachers Workshop
Professor Cristina Hansell discussing current status of nuclear weapons.
Dr. William Potter, CNS Director, welcoming CIF participants
Dr. Patricia Lewis, CNS deputy director, former Director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, discussing multilateral nonproliferation and disarmament regimes.
3:40PM (PST)–4:15PM (PST)
Teacher-led Session: Brainstorming on Designing Learning Activities
Lead teachers: Bob Shayler, Orinda Academy, and Linda Palmer, Presque Isle HS
6:00PM (PST) Hosted Dinner
Friday, December 2, 2011
9:00AM (PST)–9:10AM (PST)
Questions and updates
9:10AM (PST)-10:10AM (PST)
Content Lecture 5: Challenges in Nuclear Safety (Nuclear Power Plant Accidents) Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Scientist-in-Residence & Adjunct Professor
10:10AM (PST)–11:10AM (PST)
Content Lecture 6: Nuclear Spent Fuel Management Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Scientist-in-Residence & Adjunct Professor
11:10AM (PST)–11:20AM (PST) Break
11:20AM (PST)-12:10PM (PST)
Content Lecture 7: Governance, International Management of Nuclear Safety and Security Miles Pomper, CNS Senior Research Associate, Washington, DC Office
12:10PM (PST)–1:30PM (PST) Lunch Break (lunch on own)
1:30PM (PST)–2:30PM (PST)
Content lecture 8: Regional Challenges, East Asia Stephanie Lieggi, CNS Senior Research Associate, East Asia Nonproliferation Program Steven Anderle, CNS Graduate Research Assistant, MANPTS Student
Content lecture 9: Regional Challenges, Former Soviet Countries Margarita Sevcik, CNS Education Program Deputy Director
3:30PM (PST)–3:45PM (PST) Break
3:45PM (PST)–4:30PM (PST)
Exercise and Discussion: How to Solve the Issue of Spent Fuel Management? Group Activities
Saturday, December 3, 2011
9:00AM (PST)–10:00AM (PST)
Evaluation of Students Work and Citation
Stephen Sesko and Sue Ann Dobbyn, CIF Consultant
10:00AM (PST) –11:00AM (PST)
Discussion on Students Assignment
11:00AM (PST)–11:15AM (PST) Break
11:15AM (PST)–12:15PM (PST)
Planning for the Spring Conference and Timeline
12:15PM (PST)-12:35PM (PST)
Using Geospatial Analysis Tools for Nonproliferation Research
Tamara Patton, CNS Graduate Research Assistant, MANPTS Student
12:35PM (PST)–1:45PM (PST) Lunch (lunch on own)
1:45PM (PST)–2:45PM (PST)
Tools for Online Community Building and Website Presentation Lisa Donohoe Luscombe, Project Manager, Nonproliferation Education
Teachers from 12 U.S. high schools in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, three schools in Russia’s closed nuclear cities of Novouralsk, Zelenogorsk, and Snezhinsk, and one Chinese high school in Beijing participated in the 2011-2012 Critical Issues Forum (CIF) Teacher Development Workshop from December 1-3, 2011, at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
The CIF is a unique nonproliferation education program for high school students. This year the participating schools are tackling one of the most challenging and pressing issues in the international peace and security field—nuclear safety and security.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident reawakened the world to the fact that, while the probability of accidents or attacks against nuclear power plant is relatively low, their potential consequences could be extremely grave. The accident was a wake-up call to address serious shortcomings in nuclear safety and security around the world.
Consultation with CNS Experts
At the workshop, teachers were introduced to this year’s curriculum benchmarks that the CIF project team developed in consultation with CNS content experts, and received instruction on how to conduct the CIF program with students. CNS experts delivered lectures of various aspects related to nuclear safety and security. The content lectures included:
An overview of the mechanics of nuclear energy
A discussion on the increasing interest in nuclear energy, especially in developing countries in Asia and the Middle East
The intersection between nuclear safety and security, nuclear terrorism
Challenges in nuclear safety such as past nuclear power plant accidents, including Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima accidents
Participants also discussed:
How to solve the issue of nuclear spent fuel
How to control and govern nuclear safety and security issues both domestically and internationally.
Participants were actively engaged in the discussions and many lively questions were raised.
This year, local high schools in Monterey, including Santa Catalina, York and Monterey High School, participated in the program for the first time.
In addition, two European schools (United World College Moster in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and United World College Maastricht in the Netherlands), and Amman Baccalaureate School in Amman, Jordan joined the workshop using a Web conference tool.
The Russian teachers will hold a parallel workshop in mid-December in Novouralsk with other participating teachers from Russia’s closed nuclear cities: Lesnoy, Ozersk, Sarov, Seversk, Trekhgorniy, Zarechniy, and Zheleznogorsk.
Special Conference in Vienna
The 2011-12 CIF academic year coincides with the run-up to the second Nuclear Security Summit to be held in Seoul in March 2012, and the first session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that will be held in May 2012 in Vienna, where an emphasis is expected to be placed on nuclear safety and security.
The teachers participating in the workshop will work with their students on the topic of nuclear safety and security during the semester for the final project, and selected schools will attend a special conference in Vienna to be held as a side event of the NPT Preparatory Committee session.