Schools’ Peace Week is an international event held by the Peace Foundation (Auckland, New Zealand) in August each year. This year, the topic of Schools’ Peace Week was ‘Aotearoa New Zealand: 30 years Nuclear Free’ (#nuclearfreeNZ #nznf30 #schoolspeaceweek) as this June, New Zealand celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Nuclear Free Zone Act, an act that in 1987 declared New Zealand as a nuclear-free country.
133 schools in total from across New Zealand, and from countries as far away as Australia, India, Kazakhstan, Germany, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Burundi participated in this week, which was designed for primary and secondary school students across the world, held between August 7-11 2017. The date of Schools’ Peace Week is chosen to commemorate the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Already in June, the Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Aktobe has held a poster contest dedicated to the world peace called “World in the eyes of NIS”:
Students from 7-8-9th grades in groups have drawn posters showing how they see the world. The winning poster will be painted on the whole wall in the school next month after summer holidays.
Contest terms were to draw a creative and colourful poster with a message. The best poster was selected by the school students who could vote for each poster and place their vote in a box.
The contest was aimed to promote Internationalism and Global Citizenship among young students.
The Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Astana held some art events, as well. Here’s for example a poem that was written by a student about the danger of nuclear weapons (in Russian with subtitles in English).
See below the videos created by students of their arts events and a presentation day about nuclear weapons:
Dance for nuclear disarmament! Students did a unique flash mob to raise awareness on nuclear issues. The text says “This Flash Mob is devoted to the fight against nuclear weapons. We children of Astana are against using nuclear weapons, because it only brings negative consequences.”
The next event for Schools’ Peace Week at NIS Astana was a cognitive meeting with a Nobel laureate Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, who was the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Students had a great opportunity to communicate with an worldwide authority, whose group was awarded Nobel Prize for their activities in the study and spreading the information about the anthropogenic causes of climate change, as well as for developing possible solutions to eliminate such changes. Students asked the speaker about nuclear weapons, its politics and impact on the environment.
As their last activity for the week, team of Astana’s NIS made a poll across the whole Kazakhstan, where people not only from Astana, but also from such cities like Aktobe, Almaty, Aktau and Shymkent were involved. Moreover, some survey participants come from the US and Russia. People support nuclear disarmament and know about the devastating effects which nuclear weapons cause.
Yay… so many amazing projects shared with us from these both Kazakhstani schools. They engaged not only with their peers and teachers, but also with broader public living in Kazakhstan, Russia and the US. By researching on this topic, students not only educated themselves on this very important topic, but also enhanced their skills in creating videos, writing and speaking in English, preparing presentations, talking to people about complex issues. They also acted as individuals and as a team, as well. Now students in New Zealand and across the world know more about young people in Kazakhstan, and about their interests and values. Be part of Schools’ Peace Week next year! Get to know wonderful young people who want to change the world and let us know about your attempts to make this world a better place to live 😉
To see what other schools around the globe did during Schools Peace Week, check out our Facebook page.
*Kazakhstan declared itself as a nuclear-free country with its independence in 1991, and ratified the Central-Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Semey) in 2009. Apart from Kazakhstan, members of the treaty are all Central-Asian countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and within this document they all agreed on not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons. The treaty was signed and ratified by all five Central-Asian states, in spite of attempts by the US, UK and France to block it.
Kazakhstan closed the nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk in north-east Kazakhstan in 1991, at which 456 nuclear weapons tests were conducted by the Soviet Union between 1949 and 1989. The United Nations believes that one million people around Semipalatinsk were exposed to radiation, and the incidence of birth defects and cancer is much higher than for the rest of the country.
Astana hosted an international conference Building a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World in August 2016. The topics of the conference included nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament and the physical protection of nuclear weapons. The main outcome of the conference was the adoption of The Astana Vision Declaration “From а Radioactive Haze to a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.”