Nuclear Disarmament Education
By Glen Brouwer, Winnipeg
St. John's tour guide at the exhibition
The exhibition “Everything You Treasure – For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” was brought to four schools in Manitoba this fall by the SGI Winnipeg Exhibit Committee in partnership with Peace Days Winnipeg. Peace Days is a two week festival celebrating the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, designated as September 21.
Miles Macdonell Collegiate in Winnipeg was able to use the exhibition as part of their “United in Peace, Citizenship and Action” assembly day on September 21. They also hosted the exhibition in the school library for another four days. Approximately 800 people engaged with the display.
An innovative approach was taken by St John’s High School in Winnipeg. Russell Patterson trained students in his Grade 12 global issues class to become tour guides. These students then guided their fellow St John’s students through the display.
“They learn about what nuclear warfare is, what the impacts of a nuclear strike could be, the cleanup, the cost and why we need to disarm,” said Mr. Patterson. “It’s very visual. The kids really get a chance to look closely at the issue and answer questions. It’s been a very positive experience for the tour guides, as well as students and teachers that have come through.”
Approximately 250 students were guided through the displays. Lots of engagement!
“We want more kids to be informed of what is happening,” said one St. John’s global issues student. “This is a major problem in our world right now and not something we learn everyday in class. It’s something people should be aware of and it’s good for these kids to know so we can change future generations.”
École Edward Schreyer School in Beausejour, Manitoba is a Grade 6 -12 rural school. Their middle year classes were actively engaged with the exhibition as well as the Grade 12 world issues classes. Interestingly, a senior art class looked at the exhibit by looking at the use of colours, fonts and pictures to convey the message. In total about 750 students were able to view the exhibition.
At Murdoch MacKay Collegiate in Winnipeg the exhibit was very well received as approximately 500 students viewed the exhibit. The entire Social Studies department attended with all of their classes as well as some English classes. Students who attended the exhibit as part of the week-long peace event used the panels as a starting point for thinking about peace in the global context and created posters about how they could promote peace with local organizations. Additionally, the Grade 10 Drama students created a one-act script after working through the information from the panels. Other classes used the question sheet that was put together by one of the history/psychology teachers as a starting point for leading discussions in their classes.
The Winnipeg exhibit committee were happy with the success of the endeavour as over 2000 students were exposed to the idea and benefits of nuclear disarmament.