My name is Lucia Madero. I am a recent graduate of Boston College with a double-major in Political Science and English.
My first experience with presenting on nuclear disarmament was at the 2015 Critical Issues Forum in Hiroshima. The program that year commemorated the 70th year of the atomic bombing, with the discussion topic titled: Nuclear Disarmament: Humanitarian Approach. The experience was truly life-changing for me. Although I had previously studied the effects of the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hearing from the atomic bombing survivors — Hibakusha’s stories, and visiting the grounds of the city gave me a completely new perspective. There is a big difference between reading about something in a textbook, when you are removed from the emotions of the experience, and talking face-to-face with people whose lives have been irrevocably altered by the effects of these weapons.
After participating in CIF, I knew that I wanted to continue the discussion surrounding disarmament, and that I was no longer content with simply watching from the sidelines. That summer, I was invited to attend the Conference on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation organized by the Mexican Government, Diplomatic Academy “Instituto Matias Romero,” the Swiss Foreign Ministry, OPANAL, and the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS). The conference featured lectures by US Special Representative for Nonproliferation, Ambassador Adam Scheinman, Secretary-General of OPANAL, Ambassador Luiz Filipe de Macedo Soares, and Director and Deputy to the High Representative at the UNODA, Thomas Markram, among others. My journey did not end there, as I later had the honor of presenting at the 6th Global Citizens Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons in Nagasaki. I was a youth panelist who debated the importance of youth awareness about nuclear weapons and disarmament, and the conference resulted in the 2018 Nagasaki Appeal. Without a doubt, these experiences have been some of the most formative in my life.
Looking forward, I plan to continue to raise awareness of the threats that weapons of mass destruction pose to us all. I believe the youth of today are ready and willing to confront global problems for the better. I firmly believe that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation must be among those important conversations. I would not be where I am without CIF, nor would I feel so strongly about issues that have become central to my life and my beliefs. I look forward to a world free of nuclear weapons, convinced that it is a real possibility if we fight together. There are undoubtedly many obstacles to face before this can be a reality, but I look forward to doing my part to continue the conversation and pave the way so that we can all—the youth of today just as much as the youth of tomorrow—have a better future.