“How are emerging technologies connected to disarmament and peace?” UNODA showcases its work at the “Long Night of Research” in Vienna

June 4th, 2024

UNODA’s booth in the Vienna International Centre received many visitors of varied backgrounds and generations.

On 24 May 2024, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) Vienna Office participated in an Austria-wide initiative called the “Long Night of Research,” which aims to raise awareness among the public about science-related issues.  Known for its focus on science and technology, the Vienna International Centre (VIC), hosted 19 booths comprised of seven different international organizations, including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). This year marked the second time that the Office was represented at this highly popular biennial event. Staff from the UNODA Vienna and Geneva offices engaged with people of all ages in showcasing its diverse activities and how these are linked to science in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control.

The totem displayed an interactive quiz on disarmament and technology, while the table featured reading materials on various technologies and their implications for international peace and security.

The broad range of activities and materials presented at the UNODA booth were designed to answer the question “How are emerging technologies connected to disarmament and peace?”. The stand showcased postcards, educational materials in both English and German, photo props, an origami-folding corner, and an interactive totem displaying a short quiz on disarmament and technology. The most popular attraction by far was a spin-the-wheel game, where visitors tested their knowledge in exchange for a chance at winning a UNODA-branded prize.

The spin-the-wheel game was a fun activity for the visitors, as well as for UNODA colleagues.

The team engaged in lively discussions, with audiences young and old, on the role of science as well as the prevailing challenges and opportunities facing multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation, and arms control. The booth highlighted how new and emerging technologies can threaten international peace and security and what UNODA is doing to tackle these risks. The educational materials also covered cybersecurity and autonomous weapons systems.  Visitors found these timely topics very appealing, prompting many questions and an eagerness to learn more.

The photo props invited guests to take a picture, showing their dedication to disarmament, while the origami-folding station resulted in many beautiful paper cranes.

It was a long but rewarding evening, during which many interested people of all ages gained a better understanding of, and hopefully interest in, disarmament, as well as its multifaceted intersections with science and technology.

Get a feel of the event through this wrap-up video!

The next edition of the “Long Night of Research” will be held in May 2026. We will be there!

 UNODA colleagues enthusiastically interacted with visitors and answered questions on all aspects of the Office’s work.