The third and final day of the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, started Wednesday with a panel discussion on “A World Without Nuclear Weapons” at the Symphony Center, Orchestra Hall on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
The discussion commenced with moderator, David Martin, national security correspondent of CBS News, introducing the panelists, and listing countries that have nuclear weapons and countries that do not. Then he asked the panel, “Is the world going in the right direction, or the wrong direction, when it comes to nuclear weapons? ”
Jayantha Dhanapala, of PUGWASH Conferences on Science and World Affairs, declared that “even one nuclear weapon is one too many.”
Dr. Ira Helfand, of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, gave the audience a vivid description on what could happen if a nuclear weapon went off in Chicago. “Everything will be vaporized, buildings, trees, people, everything. The heat will be so intense, cars will melt. Anything flammable, will ignite. All the oxygen will be used up, and everything living will die,” said Helfand.
The panelists said that to many this is just fantasy, but work needs to be done to prevent the use of the three types of weapons of mass destruction: nuclear, biological and chemical.
“If people really want to change there will be change,” said Ingeborg Breines, of the International Peace Bureau. “Seek knowledge. Don’t believe everything given by authorities.”
Each of the panelists, including Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian attorney awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for human rights work, agreed that the world would benefit without nuclear weapons.
Dhanapala explained that people need to take action to create a ripple effect against nuclear weapons, and the discussion ended with the panelists encouraging all to use their power to create a world without nuclear weapons.