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SGI Canada Sponsors Ottawa's Youth For Nuclear Disarmament Day

 By Glenn Turner, Ottawa

The student model UN at Ottawa City HallThe student Model UN at Ottawa City Hall

On September 28, SGI Canada brought together 50 Ottawa high school students to square off against atomic bombs as part of “Youth For Nuclear Disarmament Day.” Ottawa city mayor Jim Watson sent a message to the gathering declaring September 28, 2018 to be “Youth For Nuclear Disarmament Day”. 

This is the third year of this annual event, which features a morning of Model UN debate on nuclear disarmament, and an afternoon of small-group discussion with professionals in the disarmament field. 

The Model UN format allows students to tackle contemporary problems in the same manner as UN diplomats, using working papers, resolutions, committees, rules of order and lots of back-room deals to achieve results. Over the course of the last three years, students have followed and debated different aspects of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted in 2017 by the UN General Assembly. 

The afternoon sessions with disarmament experts Earl Turcotte, a former UN and Canadian government arms negotiator and Erin Hunt, program coordinator with Mines Action Canada, were both informative and inspirational. Both speakers encouraged the students to get involved in global issues and to believe that their personal efforts can make a huge difference. Following up on that theme, the student organizers of the day have begun to draft a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

In their message to the event, SGI Canada Young Women’s High School Leader Amy Hrdina and Young Women’s Student Leader Priya Dube urged students to make the link between their personal lives and a more peaceful world: “Each person’s individual actions matter because, at the end of the day, nation-states and the global community are systems created by the people themselves. When people rise above their anger, hatred, prejudices and fear and strive for peace within their own lives and their communities, this translates to peace at a global scale.” 

“Youth For Nuclear Disarmament Day” was sponsored by SGI Canada as part of the 12th annual Ottawa Peace Festival, in which SGI Canada has participated since its foundation.