Nuclear Weapons

Conversation Guide

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Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have been a focal point in the discussion of international security. The number of nuclear weapons in existence worldwide are down from a peak of 68,000, yet acquiring nuclear weapons remains a priority for several countries. There are an estimated 13,000 nuclear weapons in storage, on alert or lost. The generation that first built and deployed nuclear weapons has passed and left responsibility for these weapons to us. What is the relevance and value of nuclear weapons in the modern age?

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic. For additional reading, we recommend you read this article from the Christian Science Monitor What is the future we want on nuclear weapons?

Let's Get Started!

Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate. 

Introductions:
Why We're Here (~10 min)

Each participant has 1 minute to introduce themselves.

Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.

Conversation Agreements:
How We'll Engage (~5 min)

These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)

  • Be curious and listen to understand.
  • Show respect and suspend judgment. 
  • Note any common ground as well as any differences. 
  • Be authentic and welcome that from others. 
  • Be purposeful and to the point. 
  • Own and guide the conversation. 

Question Rounds:
What We’ll Talk About

Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.

Round 1:
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)

Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:

  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?

Round 2:

Nuclear Weapons (~40 min)

One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.


Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..

  • Are you concerned about nuclear weapons? Why or why not
  • How have you seen the conversation around nuclear weapons change over the years?
  • What would you like to see the U.S. and other countries do with their nuclear weapons?
  • In today’s climate, what role do nuclear weapons play in international security?
  • Do you see a path forward that leads us to a safer world? What is the role of nuclear weapons in that future world?

Round 3:
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)

Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

Closing (~5 min)

  • Give us feedback! Find our feedback form here.
  • Donate! Make more of these possible; give here.
  • Join or host more conversations! With a) this group by exchanging your emails; b) others in person and/or by video call online. Get more involved or learn how to host here.

Thank You!