MANPTS Student Kokoro Nishiyama Receives Grand Prize in Nuclear Disarmament Essay Contest

September 29, 2022
Masako Toki

On September 24, Kokoro Nishiyama received the grand prize of the first essay contest on Nuclear Weapons and Our Future. This essay contest was sponsored by the Research Center for Nuclear Abolition (RECNA) at Nagasaki University, one of the leading research and educational institutes advocating for a world free of nuclear weapons through academic analysis and education. This essay contest was conducted as one of the 10th anniversary commemorative projects at the RECNA.

Student smiling with a certificate and the grand prize plaque

Kokoro Nishiyama

Kokoro is currently a first-year student pursuing her master’s degree in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Nishiyama’s Path to Nonproliferation Studies

Since adolescence, her nuclear disarmament journey has been enriching in many ways, however not without challenges. During her experience at Kwassui High School in Nagasaki, one of the most active schools in peace education in Japan, Kokoro participated in the Critical Issues Forum (CIF) project. The CIF is a disarmament and nonproliferation education project for high school students that is organized by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).

In April 2017, Kokoro participated in the culminating event of the annual project, the CIF international student conference, hosted by CNS, Kwassui High School in Nagasaki, Nagasaki University, and local governments. As a leader of the peace study student club at Kwassui high school, Kokoro worked under the guidance of her dedicated teachers to make the student conference successful and educationally valuable for all the participants, including students from all over Japan, the United States, and Russia. Kokoro fondly remembered this international experience with the CIF as one of the milestones that has further enhanced her commitment to and passion for nuclear disarmament.

After graduating, Kokoro matriculated at the International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, and chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree from ICU as well as a master’s degree from MIIS in the accelerated entry program.

Throughout her rigorous studies for the MANPTS program, Kokoro has been made fully aware that nuclear abolition is not an easy task. But with her commitment and disarmament originating in Nagasaki, Kokoro still aspires to contribute to a world free of nuclear weapons.

About the Essay

Her essay is written in Japanese, titled “Nuclear Weapons and Our Future—What lessons should we learn from the Crisis in Ukraine? (Kakuheiki to Watashitachi no Mirai—Ukuraina Kiki ga Toikakerumono–)” For the essay contest on Nuclear Weapons and Our Future, Kokoro focused on the crisis in Ukraine and rising global nuclear threats.

“In this essay, I have comprised my 11 years of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation studies that began in junior high school with my thoughts from daily life as a Japanese student from Nagasaki. I am currently studying nonproliferation issues at one of the most prestigious US educational institutes in this field. Coming from Nagasaki, I want to continue to learn and contribute to creating a future without nuclear weapons.”
–Kokoro Nishiyama

In her essay, Kokoro shared her thoughts on how the war in Ukraine is not something happening somewhere far away, though it is far in physical distance. Living in an international environment like the one at MIIS, Kokoro has had opportunities to engage with students from all around the world, including Russia.

In her acceptance speech for the essay contest, she highlighted her appreciation to those who have been supporting her throughout her journey. She also added, “I will continue studying nuclear issues with an aim to contribute to a world free of nuclear weapons. I would also like to repay my debt of gratitude to Nagasaki, and to make Nagasaki the last city to suffer from nuclear devastation.”

Comments Are Closed