International Disarmament Institute News

Education and Research on Global Disarmament Policy

May 31, 2022
by mbolton
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Mind Blown: Monitoring UN Disarmament Discussions Opens Up Whole New View of International Politics

The following reflection is from Nicki Eichenholtz ’22, a Pace University undergraduate who participated in the POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control class in Fall 2021. Students were given service-learning assignments with disarmament advocacy organizations working in and around the UN and New York City. Nicki’s assignment was with Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization in the world.

For my civic engagement assignment I worked with the organization Reaching Critical Will, writing and editing articles about proceedings of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) for their magazine, First Committee Monitor. We read through official written statements and notes of verbal comments from participating UN countries after every session, looking specifically for discussion of youth education and disarmament.

When I first received this assignment, and the opportunity to work for an organization surrounding the struggle for disarmament, I knew immediately that I wanted to be somehow involved with the UN and learn more about what exactly it is that they do.

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May 31, 2022
by mbolton
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Global Change Is a Prolonged and Delicate Process

The following reflection is from Mandi Karpo ‘23, a Pace University Political Science major who participated in the POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control class in Fall 2021. Students were given service learning assignments with disarmament advocacy organizations working in and around the UN Students were given service learning assignments with disarmament advocacy organizations working in and around the UN and New York City. Mandi’s assignment was with Reaching Critical Will, the disarmament program of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization in the world.

Illustration by Mandi Karpo

My assignment involved monitoring the Fall 2021 session of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) and writing up articles on youth and disarmament. I learned that First Committee comprises people just like you and me. However, a certain status, validity, and credibility allow these specific individuals to make decisions that affect massive populations. What goes on during these meetings has grown too complicated for the ordinary person to give attention or care.

Thus, I have learned the first and foremost important concept about myself; I am a tiny fish in a very large pond.

However, some organizations have enabled people like me to gain accessible information about what goes on in deep waters, no longer sheltering myself within my bubble of educational ignorance.

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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 2018 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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