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United Nations Cyberschoolbus

Cyberschoolbus, an online education project of the United Nations Department of Public Information, has a major section on Disarmament & Non-Proliferation at http://cyberschoolbus.un.org/dnp.


The web portal has two main objectives:

1. To provide teachers and students from late middle school to early college with resources to raise awareness about the proliferation of weapons, the differing views about the role these weapons play in maintaining security or a culture of violence, their impact on the environment, and efforts underway to help prevent the violence associated with weapons.

2. To give teachers a basic overview of the issues and concepts that students will need to understand to engage in discussions on the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and the complex issues associated with the trade of conventional weapons and to contribute new ideas on what should be done to reduce the threats they might pose.

Nuclear weapons are still one of the greatest threats to life on earth. Other types of weapons of mass destruction – biological, chemical, radiological – or the excessive accumulation of conventional weapons also pose significant threats to peace and security. Young people need to be aware of the dangers associated with each type of weapon and to feel empowered to participate in the debate on how best to respond to the threats they pose to international peace and security.

How the Overview is Organized

To assist teachers in introducing disarmament and non-proliferation issues into the classroom, this overview is divided into five main sections:

Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education: This section outlines why it is important to engage young people in learning about disarmament and non-proliferation issues and provides teachers with an overview of educational strategies along with examples of interactive techniques that can be used in the classroom.

Categories of Weapons: This section will help teachers and students understand the different types of weapons that are referred to in international agreements. Disarmament and non-proliferation issues associated with each weapon category are outlined as well.

Disarmament and non-proliferation and Security: Achieving international peace and security is the ultimate aim of disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. To understand these efforts better, this section examines the concept of security and how the study of security issues has developed. National security interests are differentiated from the security interests of individual human beings to add depth to this discussion. Implications for disarmament and non-proliferation policies are explored.

UN Role: This is where you will find a description of the various UN entities involved in supporting disarmament and non-proliferation as well as a short description of important disarmament agreements.

Discussion Starters: Throughout these sections, questions and inquiries are suggested that the educator may choose to use with learners. This section allows you to skim the wide range of inquiries that are scattered throughout the disarmament and non-proliferation website. Useful links for further research are also provided.