UN Messenger of Peace Michael Douglas listens to the experiences of former child combatants in Sierra Leone during the filming of a documentary, 2 February 2003

Yvonne Acosta, photographer

The 25th anniversary of the opening of the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD I) takes place on 23 May 2003.

The adoption of the Final Document of SSOD I was an historic milestone for multilateral disarmament efforts. Until the end of the cold war, it was the blueprint for United Nations work in disarmament, a major step for the non-aligned countries in combatting the nuclear arms race and a giant step for the participation of NGOs in intergovernmental disarmament deliberations.

In 2003, an open-ended Working Group to Consider the Objectives and Agenda for a Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament will convene. There will be three sessions and coincidentally, the closing date of the middle session marks 25 years since the opening of SSOD I. The 25th anniversary of this event warrants a commemoration for historical and educational reasons, as well as a reminder of the kind of success the international community can achieve when there is political will. In honour of the occasion, on that date DDA hopes to arrange a commemorative ceremony.

Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education Study 
included  in the Congressional Record

The DNP Education Study was included in the United States Congressional Record by Honorable George Miller (Democrat of California) on 22 November 2002. Under the title "A TIME AND A PLAN TO TEACH PEACE AND DISARMAMENT IN OUR SCHOOLS", Miller stated that he was delighted "to bring to the attention of my colleagues, and to their constituents who may wish to get involved in peace education, the recently released United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education."

"The study," he said, "is the result of successful collaboration between the Hague Appeal for Peace - a citizen's organization dedicated to reducing wars and armed conflict and promoting reconciliation and economic development - the Government of Mexico and the United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs. By working together - governments, civil society and the United Nations - the effort to sustain peace through education stands a greater chance of success. See article