Recently, President Barack Obama stated: ” I will make the goal of elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide a central element of U.S. nuclear weapons policy.” Without question, this is the most promising nuclear disarmament statement by a U.S. president in recent history. However, the road to abolition will not be an easy one. Given the financial and political power of the corporate/military nuclear weapons complex, the president will face many hurdles, and will have to obtain strong grassroots support to convince Members of Congress to endorse the kind of comprehensive international regimen which will be required to accomplish the president’s goal.

Presently, insufficient intellectual and political activity concerning nuclear disarmament (especially at the local level) is going on in this country or other parts of the world. Despite the recent, encouraging statements by several well-known political figures both here and abroad, and the excellent work by numerous non-governmental organizations who are supplying timely information and strategies for political action, nuclear war prevention continues to rank low on the list of immediate citizen concerns when compared with problems of unemployment, economic recession, health care, education, etc. Additionally, most college and university professors who normally address other serious human problems, have seriously defaulted on the world’s most pressing environmental/survival issue. Nuclear war will not merely warm the planet, it will “sizzle” it.

With the academic default in mind, the University of Missouri – Columbia Peace Studies Program has initiated the Missouri University Nuclear Disarmament Education Team (MUNDET) whose mission is to inform citizens of Missouri, and other parts of the world, of the urgent need to abolish nuclear weapons from Planet Earth, and inspire them to work for that goal. MUNDET works with educational, religious, civic and other community groups by addressing the main issues connected with the nuclear threat, and how it must be met. Among its tools has been the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s excellent DVD “Nuclear Weapons and the Human Future: How You Can Make a Difference” and the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s DVD ” The Last Best Chance”.

In accordance with the university’s three major functions, i.e., research, instruction, and public service, MUNDET:

  • Consults with interested faculty and students at colleges and universities (and elsewhere) about RESEARCH into nuclear disarmament problems;
  • Provides assistance to college, university, and high school faculties regarding nuclear disarmament education CURRICULUM PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT; and,
  • Assists environmental, civic and faith-based organizations, as well as other interested parties with nuclear disarmament education PROGRAMMING AND PROMOTION.

MUNDET currently has six team members, including:

John Kultgen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Missouri who is author of IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW: REFLECTIONS ON THE MORALITY OF NUCLEAR DETERRENCE (Peter Lang, 1999). In 2006, he presented a paper on THE MORALITY OF NUCLEAR DETERRENCE IN A WORLD OF PROLIFERATION, ROGUE STATES, TERRORIST GROUPS AND NUCLEAR STOCKPILES to the Oxford Round Table at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University. The paper will be published in a volume that will be titled TERRORISM AND GLOBAL INSECURITY: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE.

Steven Starr, Senior Scientist with Physicians for Social Responsibility has been published by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. His writings also appear on the websites of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation; the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Center for Arms Control Energy and Environmental Studies; Scientists for Social Responsibility; and the International Network of Scientists Against Proliferation. He has worked with the governments of Switzerland, Chile, New Zealand and Sweden in support of their efforts at the United Nations to encourage the elimination of thousands of high-alert, launch ready nuclear weapons. He has made presentations to ministry officials, parliamentarians, universities, and citizens around the world. He also specializes in making technical, scientific information understandable to all audiences.

Bill Wickersham, Educational Psychologist and Adjunct Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Missouri is a specialist in the social and psychological obstacles to nuclear disarmament, and frequently addresses ” The Role of Education, Religion and the Community in the Prevention of Nuclear War”.

Lily Tinker Fortel, A graduate of Earlham College’s Peace Studies Program, is a full time staff member at Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, and does community organizing and outreach on behalf of peace and nuclear disarmament education with the Columbia Peace Coalition.

Russ Breyfogle, Social worker and teacher is president of the University of Missouri’s Friends of Peace Studies, and serves as MUNDET’s liaison to the MU Peace Studies Program.

Scott Jones, President of the Peace and Emergency Action Coalition for Earth.

MUNDET’s Coaches are:

Frances A. Boyle, Professor of international law, University of Illinois

David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, CA, and

Rick Wayman, Director of Programs, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Jonathan Schell , Nation Institute Fellow, and Distinguished Fellow, Center for the Study of Globalization, Yale University.

For additional information, contact Bill Wickersham at: or 573-817-1512


Bill Wickersham is an adjunct professor of Peace Studies at the University of Missouri, a member of Veterans for Peace and a member of the U.S. Steering Committee of Global Action to Prevent War.