Brooke Longhurst

Helping to slow the spread of nuclear weapons was this summer’s job for a U of G undergrad.

Brooke Longhurst, a fourth-year student in justice studies and public policy, spent two months learning about nuclear proliferation and disarmament as a guest researcher and intern at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden.

She won the post after having been accepted as a visiting student to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Based in the Swedish capital, she analyzed pros and cons of initiatives such as the international Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

The results have ended up in a report written for the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, a joint project of the Australian and Japanese governments. The report is due for release in 2013.

By outlining successes and failures, says Longhurst, the report will help governments and policy-makers better control the spread of nuclear weapons, including preventing terrorist groups from acquiring nuclear arms.

Although almost 200 parties have signed the NPT, non-signatories include countries known or believed to have nuclear weapons, including Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

The report also addresses export controls on countries such as Canada and Kazakhstan that supply uranium.

At U of G last year, Longhurst had studied terrorism policy and nuclear proliferation during classes in public policy and American politics and government.

She says the report will help to inform discussions among political strategists and decision-makers.

She worked in Stockholm with interns from Tunisia, Germany and Poland. “It was an incredible experience to work with top diplomats and foreign affairs ministers.”

This was hardly the first venture abroad for Longhurst.

In 2009 she helped build a school in Kenya through Free the Children.

She was among 1,000 delegates at the 2010 World Youth Congress in Turkey. There she helped write a report for the United Nations Climate Change conference in Mexico later that year.

“I apply to so many things.”

Back in Guelph, she’s helping with a project to teach first aid and CPR to disadvantaged Canadians, including new immigrants and single mothers.

“It’s important to get involved. There is so much young people can do and contribute,” says Longhurst, whose “true-to-their-beliefs” role models include former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and the fictitious Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

At U of G, she co-chairs the Student Senate Caucus, serves on the University petitions committee and is a peer helper in the judicial office.

Now in her final year of a double major in international development and criminal justice and public policy, she has applied to law school; she hopes to pursue interests in human rights, and health and safety law and policy.