In the forward to Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do! Hibakusha Stories Director, Kathleen Sullivan, PhD and Guggenheim Fellow, and human rights professor Peter Lucas, PhD., refer to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he said that education carries the responsibility of recalling the past to learn from it and to raise critical consciousness. The need for disarmament education to combat ignorance, complacency, and an acceptance of a culture of violence has never been greater.
Disarmament education, as defined by the 2002 United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education, is concerned with the development of skills and knowledge to empower young people to contribute to the process of disarmament, particularly nuclear weapons but also small arms. Disarmament education seeks to enhance both national and international security by lowering current levels of armaments and by making connections between peace, security, and sustainable development.
Disarmament education recognizes that each student is a resource of information, experiences, regional perspectives and insights. The pedagogy as delineated in Action for Disarmament prefers elicitive and interactive learning techniques. These participatory strategies include: inquiry and problem posing; dialogue and small group discussions; critical listening and reciprocity among participants; exploration and student research to deepen knowledge; an appreciation of the complexity of issues and diversity of perspectives; extension of learning and the application of understandings to different circumstances; and clarification and reframing to create shared knowledge. The pedagogical objectives and goals are built around the emergence of critical consciousness and the development of skills and capacities to create social change.
Essentially, disarmament education is not education about disarmament but rather an interactive education process that creates the conditions for disarmament. Hibakusha Stories highlights the disarmament education model developed by Sullivan and Lucas for the United Nations’ Office for Disarmament Affairs.