Expert discusses global denuclearization

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UVU Peace and Justice Studies sponsored Rick Wayman, director of programs at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, to share ideas and engage students on the topic of global denuclearization.

Hosted by UVU’s Peace and Justice Studies program and the Utah campaign to denuclearize Utah, the event informed students about  nuclear weapons. Utah is one of the major places  impacted by nuclear weapon testing and its cancer causing effects from nuclear fall out that took place in Nevada up until 1992.

The treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons would require the governments of nations who conducted nuclear testing to provide care to those affected by those tests.

Wayman, having worked professionally on nuclear weapon issues for 13 years, shared his experience of how he was able to help shape the treaty by presenting information on the floor of the United Nations.

“Bringing survivors into the UN  made them realize that it is their responsibility to do something,” said Wayman.

After the treaty was proposed — with the hopes it would move the world towards global denuclearization — the UN voted on the ideas of international denuclearization, with 122 countries out of 193 voting in favor of the treaty. Though the signing process is ongoing Out of the 61 countries that have signed the treaty 14 countries have have officially begun the process of denuclearization.

“We are on a good track here. It’s very positive,” said Wayman.

The US currently has not signed the treaty and it seems unlikely that the nation will anytime soon.

“The US has been hostile towards the process of denuclearization,” said Wayman.

Wayman encouraged students to be active and get involved in something they believe in.

“Change doesn’t happen on the national level; it happens on the local and state level,” said Wayman.

Sarah Michaelis, a sophomore communications major, learned not only about the treaty, but its impact as well.

“I didn’t know anything about the treaty before the lecture, but I can see now how important it is to understand,” said Michaelis.

Following Wayman’s speech  was a discussion about the possibility of global denuclearization among the students who attended.

Ellen Kershisnik, a senior majoring in creative nonfiction, said, “I thought it was interesting to hear from my peers and what they thought about the subject.”