Alyn Ware

Awarded 2009

New Zealand

For his effective and creative advocacy and initiatives over two decades to further peace education and to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Alyn Ware is one of the world’s most effective peace workers, who has led key initiatives for peace education and nuclear abolition in New Zealand and internationally over the past decades.

He helped draft the Peace Studies Guidelines that became part of the New Zealand school curriculum, initiated successful programmes in schools and thousands of classrooms throughout the country, and has served as an adviser to the NZ government and the United Nations on disarmament education. He was active in the campaign that prohibited nuclear weapons in New Zealand, before serving as the World Court Project UN Coordinator which achieved a historic ruling from the World Court on the illegality of nuclear weapons.

Ware has led the efforts to implement the World Court’s decision, including drafting resolutions adopted by the UN, bringing together a group of experts to prepare a draft treaty on nuclear abolition which is now being promoted by the UN Secretary-General, and engaging parliamentarians around the world through Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament.

The principles of peace are the same whether it be in school, at home, in the community or internationally.

Alyn Ware, 2009 Laureate

From kindergarten teacher to the United Nations

Born in New Zealand, Alyn Ware acquired a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Kindergarten Teaching from Waikato University in 1983. After a year of kindergarten teaching, Ware established the Mobile Peace Van Society and for 5 years taught and coordinated all aspects of its peace education programme in pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools. This included teaching in hundreds of classrooms; training teachers; co-founding the Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme; initiating War Toy Amnesty events; launching Our Planet in Every Classroom; distributing teaching resources to every school through the School Journal; and working with the Department of Education to develop the Peace Studies Guidelines.

During that time Ware was also active in the campaign to make New Zealand free of nuclear weapons. This included chairing the Hamilton nuclear-weapon-free zone committee, co-founding Peace Movement Aotearoa and leading the 1987 Peace Walk for a Nuclear Free New Zealand. In 1988, he travelled to the USA and USSR to share New Zealand's successful anti-nuclear campaigns with nuclear disarmament initiatives and organisations in those countries.

In 1990, he established the Gulf Peace Team office in New York and lobbied the UN Security Council on peaceful solutions to the Gulf Crisis. In 1991, he worked for the World Federalist Movement monitoring developments at the UN on the proposed International Criminal Court in preparation for the launch of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court (CICC) - which was successful in establishing the ICC. Ware led the CICC Working Group on Weapons Systems during the ICC negotiations.

From 1992-99, he was the Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy (LCNP), in which capacity he was also the World Court Project UN Co-ordinator. Under his leadership, the project was successful in getting the General Assembly to adopt a resolution requesting an opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of nuclear weapons. He also assisted a number of countries in their cases to the International Court of Justice in order to ensure a successful outcome. In its opinion, the Court declared the threat or use of nuclear weapons to be generally illegal and laid down a general obligation of states to achieve complete nuclear disarmament under international control.

Current positions and peace initiatives

In 1999, after helping establish a human rights presence in East Timor and Indonesia under Peace Brigades International, Ware returned to New Zealand to take advantage of the peace and disarmament opportunities arising with the new Labour government under Prime Minister Helen Clark. Although based in New Zealand, this work required extensive travel, particularly to North America, Europe and Asia. This included ongoing work at the United Nations including the drafting and presentation to the UN Security Council of a Judges and Lawyers' Appeal on the Illegality of the Preventive use of Force - one of the initiatives which helped ensure that the UN Security Council did not authorise the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Ware currently holds the following positions:

  • International Representative for the Peace Foundation, a peace education activity in New Zealand schools and communities;
  • Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau, in which he is most active on their Disarmament for Development Program;
  • Consultant to the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) for which he is responsible for the programmes promoting Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and a Nuclear Weapons Convention;
  • New Zealand Coordinator of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence which started in New Zealand on 2 October 2009 and is travelling around the world promoting nuclear abolition, an end to war and the prevention of violence at all levels of society;
  • Co-Founder and International Coordinator of Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), which engages legislators from across the political spectrum in nuclear disarmament issues and initiatives; and
  • Board member or advisor of a number of other international organisations including Abolition 2000, Middle Powers Initiative, Peace Boat, Mayors for Peace and the Global Campaign for Peace Education.
  • Co-founder of UNfold Zero

Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament

In 2002, Ware established Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (PNND), a project of the Global Security Institute and the Middle Powers Initiative. PNND educates and engages parliamentarians in initiatives at the national, regional and international levels.

At the national level, Ware helps legislators draft parliamentary resolutions, engage in parliamentary debates, provide input into national policy decisions, adopt legislation, and participate in civil society actions and initiatives relating to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

At the regional level, Ware ensures that PNND is active in the development of nuclear-weapon-free zones, and in reducing the role of nuclear weapons in alliances such as NATO, ANZUS (Australia and the US) and the Japan-US and South Korea-US alliances.

At the international level, Ware leads PNND activities to engage parliamentarians in key bodies such as the UN General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament, the UN Security Council and NPT Review Conferences. PNND also assists parliamentarians to be active on specific issues and initiatives including nuclear testing, fissile materials, prevention of an arms race in outer space, and achievement of a nuclear weapons convention.

Advancing a Nuclear Weapons Convention

In 1995, Ware co-founded Abolition 2000, an international network now numbering over 2000 endorsing organisations that calls for negotiations to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention - a treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons under effective international control. Following the 1996 International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Ware drafted a UN resolution on the implementation of the ICJ opinion through negotiations for a Nuclear Weapons Convention. Since then, this resolution has attracted every year the votes of some 125 countries in the UN General Assembly - including from the New Agenda Countries (Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden), the Non-Aligned Movement, and some of the nuclear-weapons-possessing countries - China, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

Ware also brought together a group of experts to draft a Model Nuclear Weapons Convention - a 70-page document outlining the legal, technical and political measures required to achieve and sustain a nuclear-weapons-free world. This Model Nuclear Weapon Convention has been circulated and promoted by the UN Secretary-General.

Ware is also one of two principal authors of the book Securing our Survival: The Case for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, published by IPPNW and distributed to diplomats, academics, scientists, parliamentarians, mayors, non-governmental organisations and media around the world.

The links between peace education in schools and international peace

Ware believes that his peace education work in schools and his international peace and disarmament work are intricately linked. He says, "The principles of peace are the same whether it be in school, at home, in the community or internationally. These are primarily about how to solve our conflicts in win-win ways, i.e. in ways that meet all peoples' needs. My kindergarten teaching was thus good training for my international peace and disarmament work. And when I am back in the classroom, I can help students see that the ideas and approaches they are using to solve their conflicts are similar to the ideas and approaches we use at the United Nations to solve international conflicts."

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