Director's Message

by Ken Rutherford - view pdf

Dear Readers,

Ken RutherfordThis issue of The Journal covers a wide variety of interesting and timely explosive-remnants-of-war (ERW) and mine action topics, including unplanned explosions and weapons security, underwater clearance, survivors' rights affecting Asia and the Pacific, and research and development studies.

For example, in an article by Elena Rice of U.N. Mine Action Service, the author contends the mission of the mine action community must expand to include weapons and ammunition security. Discussing victim assistance and disability rights of survivors in Asia and the Pacific, Jo Durham (University of Queensland) emphasizes the importance of securing health care rights for survivors in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, while Nguyen Thị Thúy Nga reflects on how the Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, which employs ERW and mine survivors as outreach workers in Vietnam, successfully helps survivors reintegrate into their communities. Allen Tan of Golden West Humanitarian Foundation discusses the threat of contamination from sunken watercraft littering Cambodia's rivers and tributaries, and how Golden West is addressing the problem by identifying and training suitable candidates for underwater training. In addition, the online edition of The Journal has numerous articles, and we suggest you access our current issue online.

Besides producing this publication, the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) is busy providing programs and training at James Madison University and abroad. For instance, CISR recently wrapped up our ninth Senior Managers' Course in ERW and Mine Action (SMC). Currently supported by the U.S. Department of State, the SMC provides mine action program managers an innovative and challenging curriculum covering a broad range of topics to improve participants' management skills—from conventional weapons destruction, victim assistance, physical security and stockpile management to strategic management, public relations and emerging trends in the post-conflict recovery arena. This year we had the honor of hosting 14 participants from 13 countries, bringing our total to more than 270 participants from 46 countries, including the mine action and ERW sessions we conducted in Jordan and Peru. We plan to continue with the SMC program next year (check the CISR website in winter 2013 for application details). We are continuing our work with peer-to-peer support programs in Burundi and are moving into new areas of program management, including advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities in Vietnam and providing mine risk education to Syrian refugees in the Middle East. As we share our lessons learned in future issues of The Journal, we encourage you to send us articles detailing your best practices and lessons learned as well. Our Fall issue of The Journal is an exciting one, focusing on survivor assistance, along with current conflicts and the evolving landmine/ERW situations in the Middle East, including Syria. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ken Rutherford