JMU Welcomes 21 International Senior Mine-action Managers

From: Public Affairs

Senior mine-action managers from 14 countries are coming to JMU for a five-week session of courses focusing on effective management and communication skills. The eighth Senior Managers Course will begin Wednesday, May 16 and run through June 16.

This year's participants are coming from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda and Vietnam.

The program is taught in coordination with the JMU College of Business and is designed specifically for upper-level managers of international organizations responsible for the removal and abatement of landmines and explosive-remnants of war. The course combines lectures, workshops and case studies to integrate effective management and communication skills within the context of post-conflict stabilization. Staff from the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at JMU along with JMU faculty and staff lead course modules. In addition, a series of subject-area experts from the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Defense, the United Nations Mine Action Service, the Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Demining and others discuss contemporary issues for weapons-destruction programs.

"The SMC is unique in the way it brings so many program leaders together to develop not only their professional skills but also their networks with other program managers and experts." said Geary Cox, program coordinator at CISR and part of the team running the course. “We have worked hard to prepare an academically challenging course that is presented in the context of post-conflict communities. Our course faculty has adapted many of the ‘textbook’ responses to match the scenarios our managers are facing."

In addition to the SMC's success in training senior managers to make policy decisions, it also offers a unique form of international diplomacy. Participants explore many destinations in Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley, providing the experience of university life and American culture. Participants also have the opportunity to exchange ideas with classmates from countries who are facing similar challenges.

The SMC is sponsored by a grant from the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.