VIENNA, 14 November – On 14 November 2019, the Vienna Office of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs hosted a panel discussion on “Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education: The Way Forward”, at the Vienna International Centre.
The panel discussion explored the current state of disarmament and non-proliferation education as a tool to strengthen international peace and security. Speakers discussed challenges, opportunities and existing platforms, including UNODA Vienna’s e-learning platform the “Disarmament Education Dashboard,” hosting inter alia the recently launched UNSCR 1540 (2004) and Cyberdiplomacy on-line courses.
The panel was chaired by Ms. Elena Sokova, the Executive Director from the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation (VCDNP) who opened the discussion by emphasizing the significance of new methodologies for disarmament and non-proliferation education at different levels including professional, academia and youth education.
Mr. Valère Mantels, Chief of the Vienna Office of UNODA welcomed the panellists and participants , he appreciated the continuous efforts that have been put in this program and the generous support from Member States and Organizations including Austria, the OSCE and the VCDNP. Education as a method to promote global security goals, as Mr. Mantels noted, has become a priority task for the Vienna Office of UNODA.
Ambassador Hajnoczi shared Austria’s concern about the current status of disarmament and Austria’s devotion to global disarmament education. He reminded the audience that while a report by an expert panel on disarmament education had been sent to the General Assembly in 2002, and though the U.N. Secretary-General has submited biennial update on the topic, disarmament education remains an urgent and challenging topic across the globe .
Mr. Aaron Junhoung Yoo, Political Affairs Officer of UNODA shared greetings from the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu. Speaking on UNODA’s effort to engage young people to lead the dialogue on disarmament, he emphasized the importance of building networks through social media platforms, by encouraging youth to find role models in this field. Mr. Yoo also presented the www.disarmamenteducation.org and the video of online courses, in particular the recently added expert-level course on United Nations Security Council resolution 1540 (2004).
Ms. Müller introduced the Joint UNODA-OSCE Scholarship for Peace and Security course. This enterprise is well underway to become a staple in joint UNODA – OSCE disarmament education efforts. Furthermore, she shared experiences working for the programme and insights on disarmament education for women and youth.
Following Ms. Müller, Ms. Strauss, a research assistant at a Berlin-based think-tank, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the 2019 course. She identified it as a great platform for her to obtain professional knowledge, to network with people from different countries, to receive encouragement and for inspiration to further her career development.
The presentations were followed by questions from delegates of Permanent Missions. Notably, questions included whether the scholarship program will be extended to more than OSCE partner countries, whether there will be more language options for the online training course and how to engage technical professionals to the program were discussed.