Senior Mine Action Managers' Training Course

Introduction | Current Students | Curriculum


The 2013 Senior Managers' Course will take place on the campus of James Madison University from May 14–June 6, 2013.

Participants will be accepted on a rolling basis until January 15, 2013. Any applications received after this date will only be reviewed if there is space available.

2013 SMC Application available here (word doc)

LIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: We are seeking applicants who:

Are senior managers—directors, deputy directors, department managers and those in similar positions of responsibility within their country's ERW/mine action (and related) programs.

Have signed a letter from their organization’s director acknowledging and endorsing their participation in the SMC.

Possess sufficient English proficiency to comprehend lectures, conduct group work, and give presentations in an English-only environment without the need for translation or an interpreter.

Can cover their transportation and visa costs. CISR will only cover the fees for beginning the visa process at JMU. All other visa-related costs and travel expenses, including plane tickets, must be covered by participants or their organizations.

Applicants who have not previously taken a Senior Managers' Course at JMU or in Jordan will be given priority.  Course dates are May 14-June 6, 2013. Completed applications must be received by 15 January 2013.

Welcome friends and colleagues!

This website provides information on the course goals and objectives, curriculum, and James Madison University. While most of the information contained in these pages is intended for prospective students, others who may find it useful include country planners and national program staff, researchers, and educators.

The next SMC is scheduled for 14 May to 6 June 2013 at James Madison University. More information can be obtained by contacting the SMC Administrator at



A 1997 United Nations study into the development of indigenous mine action capability identified a need for the improvement of management skills among national managers of mine-action programs. In 1999, the UNDP commissioned a study of "Management Training Needs" for mine-action program managers. The report found that the implementation of management training has the potential to significantly improve the productivity and effectiveness of mine-action program throughout the world.

In response to these studies, the UNDP developed training courses for senior and middle managers of mine action programs. Over the period of 2000-2007, 11 Senior Manager and over 40 Middle Manager Training Courses were conducted for national staff of mine action programs, with over 800 graduates.

The UNDP awarded the Mine Action Information Center (now CISR) at James Madison University the contract to teach the Senior Managers Course beginning in 2004. The CISR hosted five courses and trained more than 100 managers from over 30 countries through the UNDP sponsored courses.

Beginning in 2010 the US Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) has sponsored the Senior Managers' Course at JMU. Its focus was expanded to include conventional weapons destruction, small arms/light weapons, and other emerging topics in the post-conflict recovery field. Since 2010, CISR has hosted three courses under grants from PM/WRA.

Course Setting

CISR provides course participants a friendly yet challenging classroom setting in which they learn the keys to managing a successful mine action program. James Madison University is a highly rated public educational institution with a distinguished faculty organized into nine colleges, offering a broad array of degree programs to its more than 20,000 students. The Senior Managers Course draws on the expertise of faculty from several of these colleges, particularly the College of Business.

Course participants have access to a full range of university facilities and activities, including the libraries and computer labs; student recreation center with indoor pool, gymnasium and athletic training equipment; and fine arts performances. Past participants have enjoyed various opportunities to interact with JMU students and staff. These opportunities have enabled participants to learn about US culture and society through excursions to historical sights, social events with local civic organizations and churches, and informal forays into the community to enjoy shopping and local entertainment venues.

JMU is located in the "Friendly City" of Harrisonburg, a bustling commercial crossroads in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The university is approximately 200km SW, or 2 hours' driving time, from Washington, DC. Harrisonburg's 45,000 residents include a growing immigrant population that has made the city one of the most ethnically diverse in Virginia. However, the city and the surrounding agricultural areas remain rooted in a long history tied to the Valley's physical location between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park to the east and the Allegheny Mountains to the west.

Course Description and Objectives

2013 SMC Course Description

The ERW/Mine Action Senior Managers Course, as taught at JMU, is organized using a modular approach and drawing on the expertise of a number of university professors and subject matter experts. The course seeks to integrate the latest thinking in the field of business management with the practical experience of ERW/mine action operators. The goal is to hone the skills of senior managers of national ERW and mine action programs so that countries can more effectively and efficiently clear their lands of landmines and other explosive remnants of war that adversely affect their citizens' well-being and impinge upon economic development.

The curriculum of the four-week course has three main objectives:

To develop the personal skills needed by effective managers, such as oral and written communication, time management and media relations.

To provide training in business management practices and their applications to the field of mine action, encompassing such topics as strategic planning, project management, leadership skills and human resource management.

To enhance managers' knowledge of humanitarian ERW and mine action challenges, techniques and requirements.

The course culminates with a multi-day management case study exercise that challenges the participants to apply what they have learned in the previous three weeks. The participants benefit during the exercise from collaborating with their classmates as they work in small groups.

One hallmark of the course is the learning that takes place not just from the interaction between the instructors and the participants but from the interactions among the participants, who all have considerable field experience themselves and have much to share and learn from each other. All participants are asked to make a presentation to the group that explains their country's mine action program and/or shares their particular ERW/MA technical expertise. The course is organized to promote interaction and foster beneficial personal relationships among the participants and between them and the course instructors and staff.