The most powerful weapon

September 19, 2013

By Jessica Lawson

20 September 2013

Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The Center for Peace Education (CPE) in the Philippines, whose mission is to help advance a culture of peace through education, has recently partnered with ICAN to campaign for a ban on nuclear weapons.

Program Director of CPE, Loreta Castro, said, “Because of their very nature and their consequences, various churches, including the Catholic Church, have already declared nuclear weapons as immoral. It is high time they are also declared illegal and illegitimate.”

The Philippines – along with 150 other countries – supports a treaty banning nuclear weapons. It has said that now is the time to set in motion negotiations. Castro said that the Philippine government must be “steadfast in its support for negotiations toward a nuclear weapons ban and influence other Southeast Asian nations to do the same”.

During Nuclear Abolition Week in July 2013, the CPE organized various activities aimed at raising awareness of the catastrophic effects of nuclear weapons and encouraging other organizations to be a part of the global campaign to ban them.

A screening of the film Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Never Again encouraged students to consider the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and then to take part in a discussion on how they can help in the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons.

On 6 August, the CPE joined with the Pax Christi student organization in cooperation with the College of International, Humanitarian and Development Studies to commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki days with an educational exhibit.

On 4 September, Castro spoke about the leadership of ICAN in the effort towards a nuclear weapons ban at a forum on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. After the forum, approximately 300 people signed ICAN’s global petition for a ban on nuclear weapons.

One student said, “The forum convinced me that nuclear weapons should be banned. I just hope the forum influenced the others as I was.” Another said, “The Philippines – and other countries as well – are vulnerable to the threat of nuclear weapons and I am glad to learn from the forum that the Philippine government will support the negotiations for a treaty banning such weapons.”

With students as the next generation of hope for a more peaceful world, emphasis is given to their involvement in the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. The CPE educates on the important message that it is everyone’s responsibility to abolish nuclear weapons because nuclear weapons are a threat to every person in the world.

Jessica Lawson volunteers at the ICAN office in Melbourne.



  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate