The Disarmament and Security Centre offered a scholarship position for one recipient to attend the LAWPUBL 466 summer school paper at the University of Auckland over Jan, Feb 2019, taught by Assoc. Prof Treasa Dunworth. The paper was titled: The Contemporary Issues of Disarmament Law. The scholarship was advertised widely across New Zealand. The scholarship covered flights, accomodation, course fees and a contribution towards living costs. Olivia Shimasaki, a Masters student from the University of Canterbury, was selected as the successful recipient. Below is her reflection on the experience.
The Disarmament Security Centre scholarship, funded by the Peace and Diarmament Education Trust (PADET), was an amazing opportunity for me to develop both professionally and personally. This scholarship helped me with professional development through gaining a deeper understanding of contemporary disarmament and ways in which we can address the challenges today. Involvement in Professor Dunworth's course also meant that I was able to connect with others in the field and have opportunities for future contact with those interested in disarmament.
This Public Law paper developed my legal understanding of disarmament and its implications both nationally and internationally. I particularly found the relationship between the different types of weapons and public law interesting. I learned about the development of international treaties and how they have built on each other and advanced to incorporate greater civil society engagement. This is particularly relevant to my research on narratives about nuclear testing because it highlights the importance of working with those in civil society to gain a more holistic understanding of experiences and how we have gotten to our current arms landscape.
This scholarship also assisted my personal development as I was put in situations where I had to overcome challenges I was faced with. The most significant challenges I faced were being in a new city where I did not know anyone, and doing a course in a paper I had not previously taken. I struggled with this for the first couple of weeks, but the as time went on, I gained confidence, friends, knowledge of the course (and city), and became significantly more independent. From then, I was able to enjoy my time there and I especially enjoyed getting to explore the city and the warm weather! Although I did face challenges, I believe this experience helped me to grow in so many ways. As Helen Keller said, “You will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles.”
I would highly recommend this paper to anyone interested in disarmament. Even if you have minimal knowledge on the topics this course slowly progresses from introductory and historical overviews, to the challenges we face in disarmament law today. I am proud of myself for completing the course and giving it my all, and would take the opportunity again if I were given it.