Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigners Consider Challenges of Conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Israel/Palestine and Ukraine

Almost 100 aid workers, activists, academics and advocates from around the world met at Pace University 17 to 18 October for the Fourth Annual Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Forum to discuss how raise awareness of and change policies affecting some of the world’s most devastating conflicts.

“The Humanitarian Disarmament Forum was one of the best experiences I have had since I transferred to Pace,” said Yousra Bashir ‘16, one of 11 Pace students who staffed the conference as volunteers and interns. “Having the opportunity to hear practitioners of international politics speak about their work first hand was very enlightening and helped me with my preparations for Model UN.”

The Forum focused on the role of non-profit organizations working to mitigate the human harm caused by weapons, hearing updates from the International Campaign to Ban Landmines/Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL/CMC), International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW), Control Arms, Toxic Remnants of War Network, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

“I’ve learned that NGOs face a multitude of obstacles in trying to achieve something for the greater good,” said Julie Burke ‘16. “But what was most refreshing was that all of these people were adamant on change. I felt reassured that there are so many individuals and organizations committed to improving our world, and I hope to be part of one someday, too!”

Participants heard speeches from survivors and activists living in affected countries, brainstormed campaign strategies and shared skills training in field research, youth engagement and gender-sensitive analysis.

“These discussions genuinely broadened my perspective on international politics and conflicts,” said Nicholas Mucerino ‘16. “They connected with what I had learned in the classroom, giving concepts a tangible form as I heard directly from those working in the field.”

The Forum was organized by Oxfam International and Save the Children International in partnership with Pace University’s Department of Political Science in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, which also hosted last year’s Forum which focused on gender and disarmament.

“I am very happy that I went to the Forum! So much actually, that I feel pity for the students who didn’t attend,” said Margarita Moffett ‘16. “In fact, I showed off my newfound knowledge in my International Law and Human Rights class.”


Dr. Matthew Bolton, assistant professor of Political Science at Pace University, chairs a session of the Fourth Annual Humanitarian Disarmament Forum in New York City

Located only two express subway stops from the iconic United Nations complex on the East River, Pace’s hosting of the Forum is indicative of the university’s broader engagement with global policymaking. In the last few years, students and faculty have worked closely, particularly with civil society, in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Commission on the Status of Women, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN General Assembly First Committee, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and Arms Trade Treaty. Pace also has an award-winning Model UN program with a 65-year history of excellence in regional, national and international conferences.

“I would like to thank Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences for supporting this conference, which allowed Pace students to learn from so many inspiring people working for positive social change,” said Dr. Matthew Bolton, assistant professor of Political Science and Model UN adviser.

Several of the campaigns posted articles on the conference, including ICAN and Control Arms. Photos of the event are available from the photostream of ICAN and Mary Wareham.