TO celebrate the Year of Young People, every week in 2018 The National is giving a platform to young Scots. This week, 25-year-old Dagmar Topf Aguiar De Medeiros.

MY long-standing interest in nuclear disarmament started with a book review I did in high school. Although it was a work of fiction, the book made me realise that nuclear weapons were very real and countries were still bragging about being willing to inflict unimaginable harm and suffering with them.

So when I got the chance last summer to be a part of a Scottish civil society delegation to the negotiations of the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons at the United Nations in New York, it was like a dream come true. The great part for me was that I really got to engage with both sides of the treaty negotiation process.

Every morning civil society representatives from all over the world met for a strategy meeting headed by Beatrice Fihn and Daniel Hogsta. We would discuss the focus points of the day and divide tasks according to each person’s strengths and interests. In addition to co-operating with and sharing strategies with campaigners from all over the world there was also plenty of opportunity to engage with the UN delegates. It was great to see how willing many were willing to make time for civil society and engage with us in discussion in various formats.

I really enjoyed working with such a wide variety of people and it taught me that regardless of any differences in background, conviction or experience, it is always possible to find common ground and to work together for a better future. Everyone’s hard work paid off when the United Nations officially adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on July 7 last year.

My experience at the UN was both inspiring and educational. I learned a lot about strategic communication and community building. Other campaigners before me have dedicated their lives to getting the international community to the point where they could accept a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Now it is my turn, to build on their success and use the treaty as a frame of reference to continue engaging with our governments on the topic of nuclear disarmament.

The fact that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts towards the treaty has provided a great starting point for continued local campaigning. I do this through/with Scottish CND and UN House Scotland (UNHS), who are both partner organisations of ICAN. By being partnered with ICAN we can continue to connect our local campaigning activities on a global scale. ICAN provides a great platform for continued international co-operation.

If you’re interested in getting involved, why not apply for the Generation Y Peace Campaigning Academy organised by Scottish CND Education (Peace Education Scotland). It is taking place from July 27 to 29 and if you’re aged between 18 and 30 and resident in Scotland you can apply for a fully funded place at Alternatively, there are many great resources online (see and most of the groups have regular local meetings.

Dagmar Topf Aguiar De Medeiros is a youth campaigner with Scottish CND and a research intern at UNHS