Dr. Matthew Bolton, director of the International Disarmament Institute at Pace University talks with Model United Nations Head Delegate Jennifer Diaz ’15.
For the latest news and updates on the International Disarmament Institute’s Disarmament Education activities, visit our news site.
Education is crucial to cultivating a critical, well-informed and ethical debate about the human impact of arms and violence. Noting this need, the United Nations General Assembly has stated that the “need for disarmament and nonproliferation education, particularly among youth has never been greater” (A/RES/67/47). Similarly, UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015), called for increased “inclusive representation of youth” in “prevention and resolution of conflict” and for “quality education for peace.”
There are few universities that are working actively to establish curricula for disarmament education. However, in a 2016 report UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted Pace University’s “growing role in disarmament education”, noting the Peace and Justice Studies major, award-winning Model UN program and training to East African officials on the Arms Trade Treaty.
As Tim Wright of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons put it:
“Pace is one of a small number of academic institutions – anywhere in the world – that takes disarmament education seriously. Indeed, it is a leader in the field, teaching the theory and practice of disarmament in a way that is both meaningful for students and beneficial to society. More institutions should follow its example.”
Educating the Next Generation of Disarmament Professionals
Pace University’s Disarmament Education efforts are focused primarily on developing a compelling undergraduate curriculum. Pace is the only university in Manhattan that offers a Peace and Justice Studies (PJS) major. The major examines direct, structural, symbolic and environmental violence; social justice; theories and practice of nonviolence and conflict transformation; conflict resolution techniques including negotiation, mediation and facilitation; and interdisciplinary perspectives on peacebuilding and peacemaking. The program reflects our commitment to theory and practice in this interdisciplinary field and is consistent with Pace University’s mission of civic engagement and global citizenship.
Upon launch of the PJS major at Pace, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams stated:
“Pace students and faculty are actively engaged in the struggle for gender and racial justice, disarmament and environmental sustainability. Pace’s exciting new program in Peace and Justice Studies will help cultivate the next generation of thinking activists, advocates, campaigners and humanitarians.”
Since September 2014, the Department of Political Science in New York City offered POL297L Global Politics of Disarmament and Arms Control, an undergraduate class that offers an examination of the international politics of disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation. Students learned to analyze and critique diplomatic, legal, military and humanitarian efforts on weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, biological and chemical), conventional weapons (e.g. landmines, cluster munitions, small arms and light weapons), the arms trade, as well as emerging high-tech systems (such as cyber-weapons and military robots) and improvised weapons. The class, which can be taken as an elective in the PJS and Political Science programs, has a “service learning” component that places students with NGOs working in and around UN headquarters on disarmament issues, giving them “real-world” immersion in global policymaking. Students also work on a research project for potential publication in the Geneva Academy’s Weapons Law Encyclopedia.
Pace University offers Model United Nations classes as part of its Political Science curriculum on both its New York City and Westchester campuses. Students have won numerous awards for their participation in simulations of multilateral decision-making at national and international conferences, in New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Toronto, Oslo and the Palais des Nations in Geneva. They have engaged in discussions on small arms and light weapons, landmines, nuclear weapons, the arms trade and the militarization of Outer Space in simulations of the UN General Assembly First Committee (Disarmament and International Security), Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Other relevant classes include:
- PJS 101 Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies
- PJS 203 Nonviolence: Theory and Practice
- PJS 250 Working Through Conflict: Mediation, Negotiation and Facilitation
- PJS 301 Humanitarianism and International Aid Work
- PJS 350 Advanced Peace and Justice Studies
- POL 222 Issues in Public Policy
- POL 240 Applied Research Methods
- POL 247 International Law and Human Rights
- POL 325 Conflict Analysis
- POL 326 Reconciliation and Transitional Justice
- ART 188 Art as a Vehicle of Social Commentary and Political Progress
- COM 213 Intercultural Communication
- COM 297C Topic: Conflict Management
- CRJ 313 Victims of Crime
- CRJ 346 Terrorism and Society
- HIS 216 History of Human Rights
- HIS 218 Nonviolent Activism in Modern Asia
- LIT 211V The Literature of War and Peace
- WS291 Global Activist Politics
Pace University’s International Disarmament Institute also facilitates placement of undergraduate students in internship and volunteering opportunities. Pace students have served with the Permanent Missions of several Member States during deliberations of the UN General Assembly First Committee, as well as with NGOs, including Control Arms, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Human Rights Watch, PAX, Reaching Critical Will, Ban All Nukes Generation, International Committee for Robot Arms Control, Peace Boat, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) and Vision GRAM. Pace University’s Helene & Grant Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship has funded paid summer internships with PAX and Control Arms in 2015 and 2016. For profiles of some of our students’, see:
- Elena Marmo, organized the Student Peace Alliance
- Katie James, interned with Control Arms
- Caitlin Boley, engaged in advocacy on nuclear weapons at the UN
- Vato Gogsadze, worked for Permanent Mission of the Republic of Georgia during UN General Assembly First Committee
- Chanda Daniels, interned with Pace’s ATT Academy project
The Pace Law School in Westchester offers graduate-level classes in International Law – which covers peaceful settlement of disputes, use of force and state responsibility for injuries to non-citizens – and International Human Rights, in which students learn about the international human rights movement and the international law of human rights with focus on the basic international human rights instruments.
Training for Disarmament Policymakers
Training East African officials and advocates at the 2016 workshop of the Arms Trade Treaty Academy in Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya, a project of Pace University and Control Arms Secretariat, funded by the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR).
Besides university students, Pace’s International Disarmament Institute offers training on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation issues to policymakers, advocates, activists and practitioners. For example, Pace University established the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Academy in partnership with the Control Arms Secretariat and with funding from the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR). The program provides in-depth training on the ATT to government officials and civil society advocates in regions affected by armed violence. In 2016 the Academy organized workshops, online seminars and research report on ATT implementation, for government officials and NGO activists from East Africa.
Personnel of the International Disarmament Institute have also provided technical assistance and capacity building to diplomats of small states and NGO advocates during multilateral meetings on disarmament policy.
Relevant Reports and Publications
- 2016 UN Secretary-General’s Report on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education (See paragraph 75 on page 23 regarding Pace University).
- Pace’s submission to the 2016 UN Secretary-General’s Report on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education.
- M. Bolton. (18 May 2015) “Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education.” NPT News in Review.