International Disarmament Institute News

Education and Research on Global Disarmament Policy

February 18, 2019
by mbolton
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Reflections on Who Is Left Out of Disarmament Diplomacy

Pace University student Angelica Roman ’19 at UN headquarters in New York City.

The following reflection is from Angelica Roman ’19, a Pace University undergraduate who participated in the POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control class in Fall 2018. Students were given with service learning assignments with disarmament advocacy organizations working in and around the UN General Assembly First Committee (International Security and Disarmament). For more on the class, click here.

I walked through the doors of the United Nations on September 27, 2018, clenching my grounds pass, anxiously walking through the halls, feeling the nerves creep through every vein of my body. “I don’t deserve to be here,” my thoughts piercingly echoed in my head.

“Why was an inexperienced philosophy undergraduate student attending First Committee?”, I asked myself. In a room full of expert Delegates and activists I felt like the pariah. I was the young adult who knew very little about nuclear weapons, missiles, drones, or really any topic at First Committee.

Yet I was guaranteed a seat for two weeks. I was allowed to hear, take notes, and ask questions to the leaders of the world. I realized that this opportunity I had was one of a kind. And while other college students read and studied the reports of First Committee that week, I was able to physically be present in the room with all of the delegates.

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January 3, 2019
by mbolton
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“The NPT is the Cornerstone of the Disarmament Agenda,” Or Learning UN Disarmament Speak in the General Assembly First Committee

Pace University student Sydney Tisch ’20 at UN headquarters in New York City.

The following reflection is from Sydney Tisch ’20, a Pace University undergraduate who participated in the POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control class in Fall 2018. Students were given with service learning assignments with disarmament advocacy organizations working in and around the UN General Assembly First Committee (International Security and Disarmament). For more on the class, click here.

When I was placed with Reaching Critical Will (RCW) for my service learning assignment, I was thrilled. Not only are RCW part of the oldest women’s peace organization in the world – the Women’s International League of Freedom (WILPF), but I was already familiar with the organization as a resource for everything related to disarmament and the UN.

I had used their website and digital archive of statements made in First Committee for projects in previous courses and I was excited to be assisting in the continuance of this vital source of information for activists, NGOs, and member states alike.

However, despite my enthusiasm, little could have prepared me for the realities of the hard work and focus that was required of such intense monitoring and, in my case, note-taking.

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December 19, 2018
by mbolton
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Pace Students Engage in Service Learning with Disarmament Advocacy Organizations at UN

Pace University students (left to right) Seneca Forch ’19, Laken Fournier ’21 and Mary-Lynn Hearn ’19 meet with Hiroshima atomic bombing survivors, Tsukamoto Michiko and Sora Tamiko, and Akira Kawasaki of Peace Boat, at Rutgers University, 29 October 2018. They are holding the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize medal and diploma awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), of which Peace Boat is an international steering group member.

Pace University students provided almost 470 hours of volunteer service to 12 civil society organizations engaging in humanitarian and human rights advocacy in and around UN policy discussions on global peace and security in Fall 2019 semester.

“Every week I got to gain first hand experience of international relations,” said Crystal Isidor ’21. “I learned about how diplomatic relationships work and how important they are in order to find solutions to complicated problems around the world.”

Enrolled in POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control, 22 undergraduate students were given 20-hour service learning placements with international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working at the UN, to fulfill the civic engagement requirement of Pace’s core curriculum. The class also counted for the Political Science and Peace and Justice Studies majors.

The focus of the students’ assignments was the UN General Assembly First Committee, in which the almost 200 member governments debated matters of disarmament and international security, October to November 2019, drafting resolutions for consideration by the General Assembly’s plenary.

Students monitored the debates, taking notes on statements, helping to organize logistics for lunchtime panel discussions, taking photographs, writing news articles and grant proposals, conducting research and assisting with social media messaging.

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September 6, 2017
by mbolton
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Briefing Paper on Disarmament Education for UN General Assembly First Committee 2017

The International Disarmament Institute has provided an article on the disarmament education policy agenda for this year’s First Committee Briefing Book, which provides guidance to delegates and advocates attended the UN General Assembly’s meetings this coming fall 2017 on disarmament and international security.

The successful negotiation of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has provided new political and legal impetus for disarmament education. The preamble specifically recognises “the importance of peace and disarmament education in all its aspects and of raising awareness of the risks and consequences of nuclear weapons for current and future generations, and committed to the dissemination of the principles and norms” of the TPNW. It also stress the role of UN, “International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, other international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, religious leaders, parliamentarians, academics and the hibakusha” as representatives of the “public conscience” in pressing for nuclear disarmament. This framing represents a welcome turn toward a more vigorous approach to disarmament and nonproliferation education.

To read our article, click here.

October 19, 2016
by mbolton
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Next Steps in Addressing Killer Robots: UN Side Event

Side event on killer robots at the UN, 18 October 2016. Photo courtesy of UNODA.

Director of Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute Matthew Bolton chaired a side event on autonomous weapons systems — “killer robots” — during the UN General Assembly First Committee 18 October 2016.

The event featured Ambassador Tehmina Janjua of Pakistan, chair of the upcoming Review Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW); Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots; Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley; and Steve Goose, executive director of  Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division.

Panelists raised concerns about the security, humanitarian and human rights implications of growing autonomy in weapons systems.

To learn more about the event, read the write-up by the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs or this flyer from the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

October 15, 2016
by mbolton
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Pace University Student Addresses UN General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament Education

Pace University student Rachel Salcedo ’17 addressing the United Nations General Assembly First Committee on disarmament education.

“Education can help empower the greater participation of youth, women, survivors of violence, and people from the Global South in peace and security policymaking,” Rachel Salcedo ’17, peace and justice studies major, told the United Nations General Assembly First Committee in a statement on disarmament and nonproliferation education.

She called attention to UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace, and Security, which calls for “inclusive representation of youth in decision-making…for the prevention and resolution of conflict” and “quality education for peace.”

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