Ideas from Forum X, 2010:


Curiosity for Strategists J 457 – Real Time Teaching Disarmament – Dave Koranda, Advertizing, Senior Instructor, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. (This class was in session during our General Meeting)

I am teaching a class I developed which the University of Oregon let me invent. The purpose of the class is to provide advertising and communications students a much broader cultural context than they have in their professional classes. It was intended to help them develop a strong sense of curiosity about the world and life and help them transfer that process to strategic thinking and planning. I don’t think there was one student in the class who had thought about nuclear weapons or had ever considered any ways to get rid of them.

I explained a little about Sensei and what he has done for education. I gave them a sheet with the questions; Are nuclear weapons really necessary? Why do we need to keep them? What justifies our own (US) stockpiles of nuclear weapons when we make an issue of not allowing out of other states possession of them? Does humanity really have no other choice but to live under the threat of nuclear weapons?
I put the students in groups of three and asked them to discuss these points from the stand point of what might be positive, what might be negative and what is simply interesting about these questions about nuclear weapons. The students seemed to mirror many of the ideas that we often hear; how can we not keep from having nuclear weapons when people like the leader of North Korea insist of having them etc. I asked them to meet again and to think about the questions on their own.
  • They did come up with new and actionable things. Almost all of them felt that it would be almost impossible to get rid of the weapons. They felt as most people do, that the threat of them is a deterent, but interestingly they felt that the world and all of its people would be better off without the weapons. One group suggested that the major nuclear weapon countries hold a contest to shoot at a target placed in the direction of the sun. The country that shoots closes to bull’s eye and gains the highest score wins. One group wanted to draw the world’s attention to the wording in Japan’s article 9 and the fact that something similar has already been agreed on by the members of the U.N. but never enforced.

I used the class as a chance to discuss how important dialogue is and how mistrust can be overcome. For the first time, most of them were hopeful that eliminating the weapons was possible.

I also challenged them to work on ad campaigns to get rid of nucloear weapons when they have a chance to work on pro bono work for the Ad Council as many ad agencies do.


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