- Yurij Kryvonos has been a resource person for the UNITAR Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Training Programme since 2016.
- Hiroshima offers the ideal venue for diplomats and government officials to learn about nuclear disarmament.
- Mr Kryvonos is confident that the programme participants learn real-world knowledge and skills to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation within their ministries as well as on the international scene.
14 August 2023, Hiroshima, Japan – Since 2016, Yurij Kryvonos has been training diplomats through UNITAR’s Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (NDNP) Training Programme in Hiroshima. The former Director of the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament Affairs in Asia and the Pacific (United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs) with over 20 years of experience reflect on the programme and his relationship with UNITAR Hiroshima.
Yurij sees UNITAR’s NDNP programme as a piece of broader United Nations work in peace and disarmament education. Started in 2015, the UNITAR programme gives diplomats from Asian countries insights into the global nuclear arms debate, teaches them the protocols of international disarmament and non-proliferation conferences and builds their communication and negotiation skills so they may effectively negotiate for global peace.
The Power of Learning in Hiroshima
Yurij believes Hiroshima is an ideal venue for the training, given the historic symbolism of Hiroshima as the first and only city – with Nagasaki – to experience the destruction of nuclear warfare. He honours the resilience of the citizens in restoring their city and the courage of hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombing) in sharing their testimonials.
It is difficult for a person to compare and conceptualize the necessity for disarmament and dissolution of nuclear weapons until they visit the Peace Park and the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, and witness the devastating effects of nuclear weapons first hand. —Yurij Kryvonos, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation expert and UNITAR resource person
In particular, Yurij admires and is grateful to Hiroshima City Mayor Kazumi Matsui and Hiroshima Prefecture Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki for their continuous support and contributions to the UNITAR programme.
A Lively Discussion
One of the aims of the UNITAR programme is to build the diplomats’ ability to use their understanding of the issues and negotiate effectively, and at the end of each programme round, they undergo a negotiation simulation as teams representing distinct positions on nuclear disarmament. Yurij recalls a most memorable simulation one year, when the simulation was held at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with over 40 participants.
The discussion was active, and people fought to defend their positions on the contended issues. Throughout the exercise, the participants learned something and wanted to use that knowledge in a productive manner. —Yurij Kryvonos, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation expert and UNITAR resource person.
The experience showed him that the participants were indeed learning real skills and would be able to put them to use when they returned to their ministries as well as on the international scene.
Hopes for the Programme’s Future
With the current security developments in Asia and the Pacific, Yurij believes that UNITAR’s nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation training programme will remain topical as long as the international community continues to prioritize nuclear disarmament.
Although a one-week training cannot cover all relevant information, Yurij believes the programme provides the participants “incentive, guidance and guidelines” to understand the history of nuclear disarmament and the vital role ASEAN and Asian countries can play in strengthening regional and global peace and security.
On the occasion of UNITAR Hiroshima Office’s 20th anniversary on 15 July 2023, Yurij congratulated his colleagues for their work throughout the last two decades. He hopes for greater cooperation on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation with the hopes that Asian countries will lead the discourse globally and take charge of complete nuclear disarmament. He wishes UNITAR colleagues well in their ongoing endeavours.
Keep going, keep working, keep doing your job.
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2022, UNITAR trained 396,046 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. In addition to our headquarters in Geneva, UNITAR has offices in Hiroshima, New York and Bonn and networks around the world.
One of the eight divisions of UNITAR, the Division for Prosperity / Hiroshima Office seeks to shape an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world. Our learning and knowledge-sharing services cover entrepreneurship, leadership, finance and trade, digital technologies, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We empower individuals from developing countries – especially women and young people – to address inequalities. Our alumni are making a difference in least-developed countries, countries emerging from conflict, and small-island developing states.
United Nations Online Volunteer Nishant Joshi contributed to this article.