This post introduces “The New Nuclear Era,” a series intended to inspire peace educators to address the urgencies of a renewed civil society movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The series is presented in observation of two 40th anniversaries, significant to both the field of peace education and the nuclear abolition movement.
As prologue to the series, I remind readers that it is time for “another dollar” to enable IIPE and GCPE to continue their vital roles in this and a wide range of peace education initiatives. $93 per month will now appear on my credit card, fulfilling my pledge of one dollar for each year of my life, a monthly contribution to IIPE/GCPE. I had hoped that others might follow suit when making the pledge on my 90th birthday. I resurrect that hope on the 40th anniversary of the International Institute on Peace Education (IIPE), to be celebrated in Mexico next month, by suggesting that those who have benefited from the communal learning of one or more IIPEs, and/or found professional value in being a part of the dynamic peace educators’ network of The Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE), consider, if not a monthly pledge of $40, at least a contribution in that amount for this year’s Institute (and a $41 dollar contribution might be considered next year).
A simultaneous 40th anniversary that many in our networks will be observing is that of the largest single anti-war and weapons manifestation in the history of the 20th-century peace movement, the June 12, 1982 march and gathering at Central Park in New York City on the eve of the convening of the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament (SSD II). The theme and purpose of that gathering was the abolition of nuclear weapons, a goal never more urgent than now.
That day I celebrated my 53rd birthday with joy and hope, a hope I rekindle in observation of my 93rd birthday with a call to all peace educators to join and support the actions to abolish nuclear weapons taken by among others: the drafters of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and ICAN, Pope Francis, Back from the Brink, Don’t Bank on the Bomb, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Union of Concerned Scientists, Archbishop John C. Wester, Michael Klare, and Cora Weiss (an organizer of the march and gathering of the million in Central Park), among others in the launch of a renewed nuclear abolition movement. Readers can look forward to reading about the ideas and actions of some on this list in forthcoming posts in this 40th-anniversary series.
As was noted by Tony Jenkins at the time of the 30th anniversary, the simultaneous anniversaries of the June 12th March and the founding of IIPE are not a coincidence. Were it not for the Second Special Session on Disarmament, the first Institute, sponsored by United Ministries in Education, held at Teachers College Columbia University after the Session, would not have happened. An international institute is not possible without international participants. Colleagues from the Peace Education Commission of the International Peace Research Association, coming to SSD II with governmental delegations, or as NGO observers, agreed to stay on in New York to share their work in peace education as participants in the Institute. Their participation was made possible by a miraculous last-minute grant of unspent program funds from the Presbyterian Church of the USA to cover their post-SSDII housing.
The birth of IIPE was the result of a convergence of simultaneous positive energies that, in regard to peace education, has continued to contribute to the flourishing of the field. My hope is that a similar convergence might occur this year. 40 years of experience make IIPE 2022 uniquely equipped to launch peace education’s contribution a new and vital civil society movement for the abolition of nuclear weapons. May this year’s Institute also inspire many readers to contribute “another dollar” to IIPE/GCPE.
Betty A. Reardon
Founding Director Emeritus, International Institute on Peace Education
Co-founder, Global Campaign for Peace Education
Suggested Reflective Inquiry
- How long have you participated in IIPE/GCPE programs and networks?
- What professional and personal learning have you experienced through your participation?
- Would you want to help make it possible for others to experience similar peacelearning?
- During the time of your practice of peace education have you reflected on the significance of the largest peace manifestation of the last century, and the costs of the delays in meeting its demands?
- Have you included serious consideration of the nuclear threat in your peace education practice? If so, how might you extend it to meeting emerging challenges, and/or relate it to other peace issues you address?