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August 2008 Issue
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Catriona's push for a world without nuclear weapons


A 20-year-old University of Adelaide student flew to Geneva last month to meet United Nations former chief weapons investigator Dr Hans Blix.

Catriona Standfield represented Australia at an international conference in Switzerland on Students for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World from 13-16 July, joining 14 other students from 11 different countries.

The double degree student in Arts and Development Studies was chosen to attend the conference out of 230 university students from 53 countries who entered a United Nations essay competition, encouraging governments to steer clear of nuclear weapons.

Dr Blix, who is President of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, initiated the student competition to engage young people from around the world to become more informed about global disarmament.

"The basic thrust of my essay was to engage the public to target key government people who are anti-nuclear and encourage them to become more outspoken," Catriona said.

"Some 12,000 nuclear weapons remain deployed around the world, despite the fact that public sentiment overwhelmingly opposes their use. It is critical that people put pressure on their governments to either disarm or stay away from nuclear weapons."

Catriona said high-profile scientists should be recruited to lobby for a nuclear weapons-free world, and community forums organised to debate the issue.

"This approach empowers citizens and encourages them to hold their governments accountable," she said.

Catriona's essay was one of nine winning submissions selected by the United Nations judging panel. An additional six students who produced award-winning videos and posters also took part in the conference.

The participating students discussed the conference themes as part of a panel in Geneva and also attended a brainstorming workshop at the conclusion of the three-day event.

Apart from her double degree, Catriona is also studying Indonesian, hoping to secure work in that part of the world with the United Nations or an affiliated organisation after she graduates.

For more information on the Students for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World conference, visit the website:

Story by Candy Gibson

For more information about studies in Humanities & Social Sciences visit Open Day (Sunday 17 August).

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Adelaide student Catriona Standfield was chosen out of hundreds of students from around the world
Photo by Candy Gibson

Adelaide student Catriona Standfield was chosen out of hundreds of students from around the world
Photo by Candy Gibson

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