By Lu Mountenay
It’s a big deal! Two speakers from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—MatthewBolton, PhD, and Emily Welty, PhD—will be in the KC area April 28 to emphasize a humanitarian approach to the international concern about nuclear weapons.
In a breakthrough on Oct. 27, 2016, the United Nations adopted a resolution to begin negotiations on a treaty to outlaw nuclear weapons. Bolton and Welty spoke at the UN in support, representing non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Fast forward: ICAN wins the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize (woo-hoo!), with the Nobel Committee praising ICAN as “the leading civil society actor in the endeavor to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law.” Hmmm … right in sync with the PeaceWorks vision of “a world … without war and its weapons.”
Bolton, associate chair of political science at Pace University in New York, is a former resident of Independence, where his parents are active in the peace community. He is an expert on multilateral disarmament policy-making. The two countries of which he is a citizen, the US and the UK, are being “intransigent and counterproductive, holding up progress,” said Bolton, suggesting they are providing diplomatic cover for nuclear states.
Bolton, who spent the first three years of his life in Japan, is saddened that the US, the only country to use nuclear weapons against people during war, is “not moving forward in a productive way” to reduce and eventually abolish nuclear weapons. He said he feels this is a great shame. I told him during an interview that PeaceWorks sponsors a Hiroshima/Nagasaki remembrance annually around Aug. 6-9. He informed me that President Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniels, supports the UN resolution.
“This is the moment,” Bolton said, “for anyone who wants to protest the proliferation of nuclear weapons—this is your chance to support a cause with significant impact. It’s incredibly exciting.” Bolton added that by this time next year, he and his wife, Dr. Emily Welty, hope we will have a ban on nuclear weapons. She is also passionate about the issue.
Welty, vice moderator of the World Council of Churches Commission on International Affairs, introduced the Statement in Support of the Multilateral Negotiation of a Nuclear Weapons Ban in 2017 to the UN General Assembly. The support statement reads in part: “Nuclear weapons are incompatible with the values upheld by our respective faith traditions which are also foundational elements in the development of international law—the right of people to live in security and dignity; the commands of conscience and justice; the duty to protect the vulnerable and to exercise the stewardship that will safeguard the planet for current and future generations.”
To hear more of Bolton’s and Welty’s urgent and challenging message, including a question and answer period, come to the Stone Church on Saturday, April 28, across the street from the Peace Temple. If you are an academic, a peace activist, or if you are concerned about your children’s future, this is an event you won’t want to miss!
Date: Saturday, April 28
Place: Community of Christ Stone Church
1012 Lexington, Independence, MO 64050
—Lu Mountenay, of the PeaceWorks Board, is helping coordinate the ICAN program April 28.