In August of 2002, the Secretary-General published a
report on disarmament and non-proliferation education
. In the forward, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan touched upon an important truth when he wrote that an entire generation is growing up without having known the terror of living under the threat of a global nuclear disaster. DNP educators carry the responsibility of not letting us forget that this threat still exists, by providing resources that can be used to build a clear understanding of the concepts and issues that are involved in the debate on how best to achieve international peace and security. One goal of this website is to provide resources that will give students an overview of these concepts and issues so that they will feel empowered to participate in making decisions "both public and private" that will hopefully increase their safety and security and ultimately the security of all humanity.
The face of disarmament education has changed a few times over the last several decades. While the initial focus during the Cold War was on nuclear weapons, the geo-political changes that took place in the 1990s, opened the doors of multilateral disarmament to include the conventional arms trade, in particular small arms, light weapons and landmines. After the catastrophic terrorist attack on the United States in 2001, DNP education is expanded to include the threat of terrorism. In particular, nuclear smuggling has become a source of great concern. With security lax at nuclear sites where stockpiles of uranium and plutonium are being stored in often unsafe conditions, the potential for nuclear materials to fall into the wrong hands has increased considerably. Since 1993 there have been a number of confirmed cases of nuclear smuggling involving radioactive material that could be used to make a crude nuclear weapon. This new threat will demand new thinking. DNP education has the potential to play a critical role in getting the public at large to participate in developing new strategies to reduce this threat.
The UN Expert Group on Disarmament and
The UN Expert Group on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education was convened in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 55/33E, to outline the future direction of DNP education. The
of the Study encouraged defining new methods for DNP education, and making recommendations for the implementation of this education at all levels of society. It encourages not only education about disarmament, but education for disarmament.
Disarmament and Non-Proliferation education, as defined by the study is concerned with the development of skills and knowledge to empower people to contribute to the process of disarmament, particularly nuclear weapons but also about better control of illicit small arms. DNP seeks to enhance both national and international security, by promoting the reduction of armaments to mutually agreed levels under effective controls, and by making connections between peace, security, and sustainable development. The report outlines several useful pedagogical ideas for DNP education which complement the approach to our curriculum projects.
Disarmament and Non-Proliferation education recognizes that each student is a resource of information, experiences, regional perspectives and insights. The pedagogy of DNP education prefers interactive learning techniques that support students' inquiries into disarmament and non-proliferation issues. These participatory strategies include: inquiry-based research to deepen knowledge; problem solving; small group discussions; critical listening; an appreciation of the complexity of issues and diversity of perspectives; clarification and reframing to create shared knowledge; and, extension of learning and the application of understandings to different circumstances. DNP education should not be prescriptive, rather, educators should help students explore contradictions and challenge knowledge. Our pedagogical objectives and goals are built around the emergence of critical consciousness and the development of skills and capacities to create social change. For ideas and examples of interactive teaching and learning methods, please see our
In addition to basic information about the various aspects of disarmament and non-proliferation, this site contains numerous suggestions for discussion starters to help teachers introduce DNP issues into their classrooms. These suggestions are distributed throughout the site. All of the suggested topics can be reviewed together in the
section of this website.
This web site will be regularly updated so visit often. In addition to the educational resources currently available we will be adding three new curriculums on small arms over the next couple of months.
Here are some suggested inquiries that students can explore on two important topics in DNP education: nuclear weapons and small arms. These issues will be explored more fully in some of the curriculums you will find in the
. Other issues will be featured in curricula on small arms that will be launched in Fall 2007.
Questions About Nuclear Weapons to Discuss With Your Students:
What is the difference between non-proliferation and disarmament?
Why do some member states within the UN favor non-proliferation and others disarmament?
Why do some countries want to develop nuclear weapons?
The educational materials that will be made available on the DNP education website are based on the recognition that security and peace are basic human rights. These rights are promoted in the
and enshrined in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
. In support of these human rights, the United Nations has long held a commitment to achieving general and complete disarmament.
BASIC CONCEPTS: NEGATIVE VS. POSITIVE PEACE
From a peace education perspective, most DNP projects are considered to be "negative peace" strategies. "Negative peace" refers to those practices which are intended to quell the threat of immediate violence. Limiting or preventing the trafficking of weapons would be an example of one such strategy. Another example would involve the total destruction of a particular category of weapons. Although such disarmament strategies are critical, they usually do not get at the systemic roots of conflict and armed violence, nor do they tend to address the long-term process of reducing and eliminating all forms of violent conflict or the threat or use of violence to achieve political gain.
DNP projects that use a "positive peace" strategy are more concerned with establishing life-long and life-enhancing human rights values which are a necessary pre-condition to sustainable peace. Peace education for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation is an important example of this approach in that it raises awareness, develops critical thinking skills, and helps students envision change. The education component is often the missing piece of DNP campaigns. To date, there are very few disarmament education materials available and virtually no curriculum models which address comprehensive DNP issues. We hope this website will provide an important contribution to the emerging movement to develop international Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education.