The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies began CIF in response to a question from a local high school student. In the summer of 1997, Dr. William Potter, Director of CNS, spoke of issues surrounding the spread of weapons of mass destruction to a community organization in Monterey. After his presentation, the high school student asked Dr. Potter why information like this was never taught in high schools–in fact, the student said that until that moment, she had never heard of the subject of nuclear nonproliferation.
To engage high school students in these important issues, CNS initiated the Critical Issues Forum in 1998 in partnership with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Science and Technology Education Program. The objective of the program was to provide curricula and instructional materials on weapons of mass destruction nonproliferation to secondary schools.
Today, CIF is a face-to-face and online learning community for high school students from all over the world. With their teachers, students not only use the instructional materials to learn about threats from weapons of mass destruction, but work together on projects to showcase their understanding and potential solutions to the problems surrounding these weapons.
In the process of learning together, CIF also promotes cross-cultural communication among students from different cultures, languages, and backgrounds. Through the CIF online learning community, you will meet students from the United States, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, South America, etc. CIF is open to anyone, anywhere, anytime.