Volunteer Blog: As the World welcomes the UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, Iman indexes a Generation of Campaigning

Currently studying International Politics at Aberystwyth University, Iman is supporting WCIA through a GO Wales volunteering placement, designed to develop practical work experience through involvement in ‘real world’ projects. Joining us originally from Malaysia (and bringing a truly international perspective to the WCIA heritage team!), over lockdown Iman has helped us with indexing the CND Cymru ‘Heddwch Archives’ – celebrating (and making accessible) 40 years of campaigning, as the world celebrates the introduction of the UN International Nuclear Ban Treaty from Jan 22 2021.

WCIA Volunteer Iman Hamizan, on GO Wales Placement thrugh Aberystwyth University.

I was honoured to take up the task to tag and caption the CND Cymru Heddwch magazine archives.

Although initially ‘digitised’ by WCIA last spring-summer in the leadup to Hiroshima Day, the 2nd phase of this project was to index 40 years of articles on the People’s Collections Wales website – so that the contents of each individual publication could be found by CND members, campaigners and future researchers (via Google and other engines). As quite a big project, it was divided into ‘batches’ between 3 volunteers, mostly over the Christmas / New Year period!

My batch looked at publications created during the mid-1990s; from the ‘launch’ of Heddwch Magazine in Summer 1991, to Winter 1997.

As an undergraduate student of International Politics, this was a great opportunity to apply learning from my modules – and specifically to understand more about the significance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), like CND Cymru, in influencing local, national and international policies.

Some of the stories I found most personally interesting as I’ve worked through this task, are the contributions made by local people across Wales – in CND Cymru and beyond – in explaining how British nuclear weapons can affect everyday life in so many different ways. It’s been so valuable to gain an insight into the activities and beliefs that Welsh peace and justice networks, advocacy groups and campaigns were fighting for – through nuclear disarmament, to guarantee a world of peace – such as the Welsh Anti Nuclear Alliance, Mothers for Peace and the Greenham Common Peace Camp:

CND Heddwch Magazine Cover Art, featuring the Greenham Peace March of 1981.

I love the phrase “think globally, act locally,” probably familiar to longstanding campaigners but a new and inspiring ‘discovery’ for me! It’s a powerful and meaningful way to describe how issues – such as a military low-flying, or the dangers of radioactive nuclear materials – affecting communities across Wales, are interlinked to broader international movements calling for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on the world stage.

With the official introduction of the UN Nuclear Arms Ban Treaty from 22nd January 2021, this feels especially topical. Far beyond ‘just’ indexing a record, the Heddwch Archives are a tribute to a whole generation of campaigners efforts.

Montage of CND Magazine Covers