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Guest speaker talks nuclear weapons with global leadership students

A local nuclear nonproliferation researcher spoke to students in Santa Catalina School’s global leadership certificate program on October 27.

Dr. Masako Toki is a research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS). She manages the center’s Critical Issues Forum, a nonproliferation education program for high school students and teachers primarily in the U.S., Japan, and Russia.

She talked about growing up in Japan and visiting Nagasaki as a teenager, saying it’s important to keep the human cost in mind when studying nuclear weapons. She gave students an overview of the landscape for nuclear weapons today and the slow march toward disarmament. Students asked questions about the ethics of nuclear deterrence, whether there are countries building nuclear weapons in secret, and the process of abolishing and dismantling weapons.

She encouraged students to get involved in the Critical Issues Forum, which tackles these issues while promoting cross-cultural communication. Santa Catalina has played host to the program’s Spring Student Conference in the past. “Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to humanity. That’s why we need to get young people involved,” Toki said.

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