CISR’s Senior Managers’ Course: Now Regional Training

by Suzanne Fiederlein [ CISR ] - view pdf

After delivering nine global Senior Managers’ Courses (SMC) in ERW and Mine Action on the campus of James Madison University (JMU), the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) launched its first regional SMC in Tajikistan in 2014. The regional focus will continue in 2015 when senior managers working in the field of explosive remnants of war (ERW) and mine action in Southeast Asia will participate in a course in Vietnam.

CISR and the Tajikistan National Mine Action Centre collaborated to implement the first regional course in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in May 2014. The course was sponsored by the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) and brought 24 participants from five countries together for three weeks of classroom and field-based instruction.

SMC applicants must meet four eligibility requirements. Individuals must be senior managers in ERW and mine action organizations, have a signed letter from their organization's director acknowledging and endorsing their participation in the SMC, be proficient in English, and be able to cover transportation and visa costs. A panel of reviewers selects participants, with emphasis on hosting a diverse group of learners representative of countries and organizations within the region, covering multiple areas of ERW and mine action.

CISR's Suzanne Fiederlein and Ken Rutherford talk with TMAC Director Muhabbat Ibrohimov at the Regional Senior Managers' Course in Tajikistan.
All photos courtesy of CISR.All photos courtesy of CISR.CISR's Suzanne Fiederlein and Ken Rutherford talk with TMAC Director Muhabbat Ibrohimov at the Regional Senior Managers' Course in Tajikistan.
All photos courtesy of CISR.

The regionally focused model accommodates different curricular requirements and technical needs of national ERW/mine action programs while taking advantage of shared experiences and cultures within regions. This flexibility to tailor course content allows the instruction to be responsive to the particular context of the countries participating in the course and better meet their capacity-building needs. It also makes the course more accessible, with less time, money and effort spent on travel for the participants. The regional model provides the opportunity for CISR/JMU to partner with national programs to implement a course that draws upon the expertise of national ERW/mine action personnel and further develops local capacity.

The courses build upon the decade of experience CISR gained through implementing its global SMCs on the JMU campus since 2004. The first five SMCs were sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme. In 2010, PM/WRA took over sponsorship of the SMC, and under its guidance the course focus has expanded to include conventional weapons destruction, small arms/light weapons and other emerging topics in the post-conflict recovery field. In addition to the SMCs, CISR and its JMU faculty instructors provided management training through the Explosive Remnants of War Training Courses in Jordan (2009–2011) and at the Peru-Ecuador Binational Workshop for Management in Humanitarian Demining in Lima, Peru (2011), thus gaining valuable experience in delivering instruction at locations distant from JMU.

In developing the course content, CISR works closely with its experienced faculty partners from the JMU College of Business (COB), draws upon evaluations from past courses, and solicits input from subject-matter experts and national program directors to identify the topics most relevant for the next course iteration. CISR looks forward to working with its instructional partners to refine and implement this new phase of management training with a regional focus.

For more information about the regional SMCs, including plans for additional regional courses, see or email CISR at c

~ Suzanne Fiederlein, CISR staff


Dr. Suzanne FiederleinDr. Suzanne Fiederlein joined CISR in 1999 and served as senior research associate and victim assistance team leader before becoming associate director in 2010. In addition to directing the Senior Managers' Course in ERW/Mine Action, she has worked on projects related to victim assistance, International Mine Action Standards, mine risk education, mine action in Latin America, mine action database systems (specializing in casualty data) and program evaluation. She holds a master's degree in Latin American studies from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Arizona. She has served on the faculty of James Madison University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Her fields of academic research include refugee policy, international law and organizations, and Latin American politics.

Contact Information

Suzanne Fiederlein, Ph.D.
Associate Director
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
800 S. Main Street, MSC 1028
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 / USA
Tel: +1 540 568 2718
Fax: +1 540 568 8176