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A Conversation with International NGO Leaders

CISR is excited to host Jamie Franklin, executive director of MAG America (Mines Advisory Group) and Kristen Stevens, government affairs manager of The HALO Trust USA to the JMU campus for an evening conversation about the dynamic field of humanitarian mine action (HMA)* and their roles within the international NGO sector. HMA has recently featured in the news with patronages by the U.K.’s Prince Harry and the shift in U.S. landmine policy.

DATE: Tuesday, March 31, 2020
TIME: 7:00 -8:00 PM (followed by reception)
LOCATION: Hall of Presidents (D-Hall)

Event is free and open to the public.

Clearing land contaminated with landmines, IEDs, and other unexploded ordnance is the essential first step in rebuilding lives after conflict. The fighting may be over but as long as landmines and explosives are in the ground, people in war-torn countries continue to live in fear. They can’t return home, let alone plant crops, fetch water or let their children walk to school.

The HALO Trust and MAG (Mines Advisory Group) employ the professionals that restore former conflict zones to peaceful communities. They are two of the world’s largest HMA organizations operating in over thirty-three different countries, many of which are unstable political environments including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria.

Franklin and Stevens will discuss the changing nature of their field and how their organizations are innovating to meet new challenges. They will also discuss HMA in the context of modern conflict including IEDs, the challenge of clearance in urban areas, resource shortages, and the complex overlap of military versus humanitarian clearance operations. Franklin’s and Stevens’s perspectives will touch on how they strive to remain visible and relate the impact of their work to other competing, high-profile public endeavors.

The event provides a unique opportunity for students interested in the humanitarian and nonprofit sector to learn how international nongovernmental organizations adapt to global environmental and political circumstances, and how they prepare for the future in an ever-evolving world. In addition, students will learn what steps they can take to be competitive for recruitment in the sector.

*Humanitarian mine action is a broad term encompassing a variety of activities including humanitarian demining, mine risk education, victim assistance, advocacy, and stockpile reduction.

CISR’s Global Humanitarian Week, formerly Post-Conflict Recovery Week, is an annual week of events hosted by CISR in collaboration with JMU and local organizations to introduce influential speakers, thinkers, experts, and artists from around the world to the JMU student body, faculty, and staff, as well as the broader Harrisonburg community. Events examine diverse international and humanitarian affairs topics such as the effects of conflict on civilian populations and how those circumstances relate to domestic issues including migration, refugees, and asylum seekers, as well as diversity issues pertaining to disability and disability rights, gender, and the marginalization of minorities. By leveraging Harrisonburg’s incredibly diverse international community, JMU’s world-class faculty, and CISR’s unique specialization as a globally-engaged center dedicated to international affairs, PCRW creates a unique opportunity for international actors to engage with JMU students, alumna, faculty, and staff, as well as local Harrisonburg residents and exemplifies JMU’s mission and vision to be an engaged university, preparing students to become enlightened global citizens leading engaged and productive lives.

Previous PCRW events hosted by CISR:

  • Aki Ra, 2010 CNN Hero, and former Khmer Rouge conscripted child solder who has devoted his life to removing landmines in Cambodia
  • “How I See: A Refugee’s Experience of Harrisonburg,” featuring photographer, Hassam Abdulazeez, a refugee from Iraq living in Harrisonburg
  • “JMU Dukes Changing the World,” featuring JMU alumni and FKD Fellows working at the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State.
  • Mary Wareham, Human Rights Watch Advocacy Director of the Arms Division
  • Alicia Horst, Executive Director of New Bridges Immigrant Resource Center, who has participated as a panelist and moderator for panels, “The Female Refugee Experience;” “There’s More to Me: I’m Not Just Another Teen Refugee;” and “Between Two Worlds: Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and U.S. Policy in 2019


2019 2018
PCRW 2019 flyer PCRW 2018 flyer
2017 2016
PCRW 2017 flyer PCRW 2016 flyer

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