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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of Political-Military Affairs > Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) > Safe Passage Newsletter

Mine Action MESSENGER, January 2004

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Released by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
January 2004
Banner: Volume 2, Issue 2
 
In This Issue:
  • Smith College Mine Action Conference Motivates Students
  • Message from Special Representative Bloomfield: A Fruitful Autumn
  • As the World Turns: Third Annual Night of A Thousand Dinners
  • South Florida Landmine Action Group
  • Debut of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
  • People to People International: Global Landmine Initiative
  • The Landmine Menace: Compelling Tool for Teaching Social Studies
  • Partner News Briefs
  • Landmine-Detecting Dog
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Smith College Mine Action Conference Motivates Students

Students at the Smith College Conference observe mine detection demonstrations. Photo courtesy Smith College.The "Clear a Path to a Safer World" Conference at Smith College, November 14-16, enabled renowned experts, mine survivors and students to share personal and professional experiences in plenary, workshop and demonstration sessions. Special Representative Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Mary Jean Eisenhower, the Honorable Anthony Lake, and Colin King addressed plenary sessions. [full story]


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Message from Special Representative Bloomfield: A Fruitful Autumn

Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs. State Department photo."It’s been a busy fall and the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) went into action at a most appropriate time. In October we opened the Mine Detection Dog Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the detection of landmines will be the initial focus of the dog training, the Center plans to also train dogs and human handlers to find narcotics, provide security and perform search and rescue operations. This facility will provide a real asset for mine action throughout the Balkans." [full story]

 

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As the World Turns: Third Annual Night of A Thousand Dinners

Logo: Night of A Thousand Dinners.Adopt-A-Minefield® (AAM) and the Canadian Landmine Foundation sponsored the third annual Night of A Thousand Dinners on November 6, with dinners held in 27 countries, including 330 of them in the United States. [full story]

 


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South Florida Landmine Action Group

Logo: SFLAG, South Florida Landmine Action GroupCommitted citizens from the Greater Miami area formed SFLAG to raise awareness of the landmine problem and help mine action NGOs forge bonds in the Miami community to help them develop resources for their valuable work. [full story]


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Debut of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

Logo: Office of Weapons Removal and AbatementIn October the Bureau of Political Military Affairs launched the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) combining the Humanitarian Demining Programs and Mine Action Initiatives and Partnerships offices with the landmine policy and Small Arms/Light Weapons section of the Bureau’s Office of Plans, Policy and Analysis. [full story]
 
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People to People International: Global Landmine Initiative

General Dwight D. Eisenhower witnessed both the horrors of war and people at their best in the face of adversity. To celebrate the human spirit, he established People to People International (PTPI). Today, PTPI operates in 125 countries with more than 80,000 families and individuals. [full story]

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The Landmine Menace: Compelling Tool for Teaching Social Studies

Persistent landmines, a threat in over 60 countries, have great potential to motivate students in current events, geography, and world history. Since 1999, the (current) Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) has participated in the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conferences, distributing to teachers free standards-based landmine curriculum modules for upper elementary, middle and high school students. [full story]

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Partner News Briefs 

  • PeaceTrees Vietnam:  Citizen diplomacy/tree-planting trip to Vietnam, March 18-April 3, 2004;
  • Julia Burke Foundation:  Promotes mine action on three continents;
  • "Pennies for Peace":  Collects pennies for humanitarian mine action;
  • Concert for Mine Action: Pat Boone sings in support of humanitarian mine action;
  • The Messiah Minefield: Simulated minefield is a proven instructional tool.
[full stories]
 
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Landmine-Detecting Dog

Brenda, a landmine-detecting dogBrenda just retired after years of detecting landmines in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Some of her 4–legged peers are preparing to start their careers in Sri Lanka thanks to an exciting partnership project inspired by the Marshall Legacy Institute. Read about it in the next issue.

 
 
 

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Smith College Mine Action Conference Motivates Students

Students at the Smith College Conference observe mine detection demonstrations. Photo courtesy Smith College.The "Clear a Path to a Safer World" Conference at Smith College, November 14-16, enabled renowned experts, mine survivors and students to share personal and professional experiences in plenary, workshop and demonstration sessions. Special Representative Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Mary Jean Eisenhower, the Honorable Anthony Lake, and Colin King addressed plenary sessions. The conference:

  • attracted about 200 students from around the U.S. and Canada, and Tajikistan (via the University of Wyoming) from over 30 colleges and universities;

  • introduced participants to the mine action issue as analyzed by experts, officials, mine survivors and IO/NGO representatives;

  • encouraged students to talk about their internships with NGOs, business and government agencies in the United States and abroad; and

  • concluded with students identifying "next steps" possible to advance their own mine action efforts.

These next steps include building a website (www.poluscenter.org/conference.php) to exchange information, link to participating individuals and organizations, and find out about internships and research opportunities. Another step will be to write a "blueprint" for running awareness-raising events. Mark Hyman, Tenafly Middle School teacher and his students at Global Care Unlimited have a Youth Coalition for Mine Action, Prof. Greg Payne at Emerson College and his students, and the Marshall Legacy Institute’s CHAMPS program are three existing models worth investigating.

Kudos to Adopt-A-Minefield®, Clear Path International, Global Care Unlimited, Humpty Dumpty Institute, Landmine Survivors Network, Marshall Legacy Institute, Mine Action Information Center, People to People International, Roots of Peace, UN Mine Action Service, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation who helped make the Conference a success. 


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A Fruitful Autumn
By Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs

Message from the Special Representative

Special Representative Bloomfield, in his capacity as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, prepares to observe the destruction of some of the obsolete man-portable air defense missiles (MANPADS) belonging to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the village of Lapov dol on November 10, 2003. This and similar demolitions are intended to keep these missiles, superfluous to the legitimate defense needs of the local authorities, from posing a threat to civilians in the region or falling into the hands of criminals or terrorist organizations. Bosnia and Herzegovina has committed to destroy its entire stockpile of MANPADS, totaling over 6,000 systems. One of the responsibilities of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and its Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is to help ensure that MANPADS in other countries are not diverted for criminal or other illicit purposes. Photo courtesy U.S. European Command.It’s been a busy fall and the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) went into action at a most appropriate time. In October we opened the Mine Detection Dog Center in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the detection of landmines will be the initial focus of the dog training, the Center plans to also train dogs and human handlers to find narcotics, provide security and perform search and rescue operations. This facility will provide a real asset for mine action throughout the Balkans.

November, especially, challenged our mine action staff with preparing for "Night of A Thousand Dinners" events across the United States and at posts overseas on November 6. One week later, we, along with the Polus Center and Smith College, hosted a successful mine awareness conference that brought together students, experts and NGOs for two days of workshops and demonstrations. On the same weekend, Freedom Fields USA held a fundraiser for demining in Cambodia attended by Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage. Meanwhile, we continued to lay the groundwork for our next major outreach event in January in Miami.
 
WRA’s small arms/light weapons specialists were active in four continents. In Geneva, they worked to expand the scope of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons to include a protocol on Explosive Remnants of War. Without the hard work of our team this important agreement expanding protection of civilians during conflict would not have been achieved. Richard Kidd, WRA’s Director (Acting) and I traveled to the Balkans to see first hand the positive results of programs we have been supporting there and to witness the initial destruction of shoulder fired surface to air missiles in Bosnia.
 
The year 2004 will be another busy one. We will continue our efforts to develop the full potential of the new organizational structure. We will continue to play a major role in post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq.
 
Finally, we look forward to expanding the options and opportunities available to our valued partners. We remain fully committed to this unique enterprise and look forward to another year of positive collaboration. 
 
 
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As the World Turns: Third Annual Night of A Thousand Dinners

Logo for Night of A Thousand Dinners, Soiree Des Mille Banquets.Adopt-A-Minefield® (AAM) and the Canadian Landmine Foundation sponsored the third annual Night of A Thousand Dinners on November 6, with dinners held in 27 countries, including 330 of them in the United States.

The United Nations Association of the USA’s innovative Adopt-A-Minefield® (AAM) initiative has raised more than $8.16 million since March 1999 to clear minefields in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Mozambique and Vietnam. About $700,000 of those funds have gone to survivor assistance programs. AAM has cleared over 16 million square meters of land with an additional 3 million currently being cleared. Of 228 minefields adopted, 123 are now cleared. The Dinners have contributed to these impressive gains.

As it has for both previous "Nights," our office provided speakers and materials to dinner hosts in the U.S. and at our embassies and consulates abroad. United States embassies, working with host governments and diplomatic counterparts, as well as with American Chambers of Commerce have hosted dinners in Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bosnia; Canada; Croatia; Denmark; Georgia; Iceland; Italy; Namibia; Portugal; Slovenia; and Spain. A special thanks to our embassy in Sarajevo for working with the American Chamber of Commerce to raise $126,000 this year. To learn more about Adopt-A-Minefield® and how you can contribute to mine action, visit www.landmines.org.


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South Florida Landmine Action Group

Landmine Awareness Festival PosterCommitted citizens from the Greater Miami area formed SFLAG to raise awareness of the landmine problem and help mine action NGOs forge bonds in the Miami community to help them develop resources for their valuable work. The U.S. Department of State and People to People International are co-sponsoring with SFLAG a Landmine Awareness Festival in Coconut Grove, Miami, January 24-25, 2004. The Festival will feature expert speakers, a mock minefield, demining demonstrations, NGO presentations, and entertainment.

There will be a focus on mine action in Latin America at this unique Festival. Join us for this family-friendly event in beautiful South Florida! Visit www.sflag.org. for details and registration.


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Debut of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement Rollout—Officials gather in the U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Room to recognize the launching of the new Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement. From left: Steve Costner, Deputy Director, WRA; Richard Kidd, Director, Acting, WRA; Kara Bue, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Political Military Affairs; Richard Stickels, Program Manager, WRA; Pat Patierno, Former Director, U.S. Department of State’s Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs; Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr., Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State for Mine Action; James Lawrence, Deputy Director WRA. State Department Photo.In October the Bureau of Political Military Affairs launched the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (WRA) combining the Humanitarian Demining Programs and Mine Action Initiatives and Partnerships offices with the landmine policy and Small Arms/Light Weapons section of the Bureau’s Office of Plans, Policy and Analysis. See the official press release at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2003/24910.htm.
 
The idea for combining all of the Department of State’s humanitarian mine action functions had been around for awhile. But Lincoln P. Bloomfield, Jr., the current Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State, took the concept further by suggesting that the Bureau’s small arms and light weapons abatement mission be linked too. He publicized this idea in Spring 2003 in his article on the detritus of war published by Seton Hall University’s Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations (http://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/rm/24987.htm).

Please visit our new website at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra to learn more about our expanded role. WRA will continue developing our public-private partnership program and values our current partners who have contributed to the success of humanitarian mine action.

 
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People to People International: Global Landmine Initiative

President and CEO of PTPI, Mary Jean Eisenhower, first, in front, observes a demining operation in Sri Lanka.General Dwight D. Eisenhower witnessed both the horrors of war and people at their best in the face of adversity. To celebrate the human spirit, he established People to People International (PTPI). Today, PTPI operates in 125 countries with more than 80,000 families and individuals. With the help of Donna Hopkins and WRA, PTPI established a Global Landmine Initiative to support three pillars of mine action: mine clearance, mine risk education, and survivors’ assistance. Among PTPI’s achievements in 2003:

w Creation of the International Friendship Fund to underwrite the Global Landmine Initiative. Generous contributions have been received from cities around the world.

w Hosting a "Night of a Thousand Dinners" for more than 100 people. Dr. Ken Rutherford, an American landmine survivor, and Nigel Robinson of HALO USA were among the distinguished speakers.

w PTPI’s School and Classroom Program linked U.S. students with mine-affected peers in refugee camps in Azerbaijan through its "Connecting with Children in Azerbaijan" project.
 
w Florida PTPI Chapter President Bob Ferreira encouraged members in Coral Gables to form "SFLAG," the Southern Florida Landmine Action Group. With PM/WRA, SFLAG is organizing a "Landmine Awareness Festival" from January 23-25, 2004 in Miami, to engage the public in the fight against the scourge of persistent landmines. PTPI is an official sponsor.

w President and CEO Mary Jean Eisenhower traveled to Sri Lanka in September to inspect humanitarian demining sites and returned with a renewed sense of urgency and commitment to focus on the landmine tragedy. Over 260 delegates who attended PTPI’s 2003 Global Youth Forum learned more about this crisis and ways they can assist. They assembled 1,250 care packages for students in Sri Lanka directly affected by landmines. Supplies came from PTPI chapters around the world.

Contact: PTPI World Headquarters, 501 East Armour Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri 64109-2200, USA. Telephone (816) 531-4701. Email: ptpi@ptpi.org. Website: www.ptpi.org.

 
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The Landmine Menace: Compelling Tool for Teaching Social Studies
 
Persistent landmines, a threat in over 60 countries, have great potential to motivate students in current events, geography, and world history. Since 1999, the (current) Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) has participated in the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conferences, distributing to teachers free standards-based landmine curriculum modules for upper elementary, middle and high school students. Developed by the University of Denver’s Center for Teaching International Relations (CTIR), over 6,000 printed editions have been distributed. Teachers can also download the modules from CTIR’s "Free Publications" http://www.du.edu/ctir/pubs_free.html website now that the supply of printed editions is exhausted.

PM/WRA’s booth at Chicago (adjacent to the booth of our CTIR partners) was a beehive of activity. Teachers asked for the curriculum, grabbed remaining copies of the comprehensive CD-ROM "Landmines: Clearing The Way," produced by Huntington Associates and published by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and snapped up a hot new item--a wall map that vividly illustrates the global landmine problem. The map and study guide were developed by the Newsweek Education Program, which first distributed it to thousands of teachers around the U.S. to wide acclaim in 2002. Newsweek’s revised version will be available online and distributed in a limited print run. PM/WRA will have a booth at the November 2004 NCSS Conference in Baltimore and anticipates the same eagerness among participants for landmine materials that will excite student interest in social studies.

 
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Partner News Briefs 
  • PeaceTrees Vietnam Citizen Diplomacy/Tree-Planting Trip to Vietnam
    PeaceTrees Vietnam was founded in 1995 to bring healing, peace and reconciliation to the people of Quang Tri Province, one of the most war-torn provinces of Vietnam. PeaceTrees sponsors landmines and UXO clearance; promotes mine risk education for children; engages in citizen diplomacy/tree-planting programs for environmental restoration and friendship building; offers emergency medical treatment, long-term care, nutritional and household economic support and scholarships to landmine survivors and their families; and sponsors economic and social development, community restoration and relocation projects. The next citizen diplomacy/tree-planting program is scheduled for March 18-April 3, 2004. After meeting in Seattle, participants will travel from Ho Chi Minh City to perform community service and tree planting in Dong Ha, and visit Hue and Hanoi. To learn more, telephone (206) 842-7986, fax (206) 842-8918, or visit
    www.peacetreesvietnam.org.

  • Julia Burke Foundation Promotes Mine Action on Three Continents
    The Julia Burke Foundation was established in 1998 to support causes that interested Julia, lost at 16 in an auto accident. Julia’s extensive research for national debate competitions fostered an abiding interest in international public policy and for the well-being of people abandoned by their economic and political systems. The Foundation has sponsored demining projects with The HALO Trust in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Burundi, and with Mines Advisory Group in Cambodia. It supports a survivors assistance clinic through the Polus Center in Honduras. The Foundation plans to support demining in Sri Lanka too. To learn how Julia’s vision lives on, visit
    www.JuliaBurkeFoundation.com.

  • Logo: Pennies for Peace, Making Change Work"Pennies for Peace": Every cent really counts!
    "Pennies for Peace," a student-to-student initiative conceived by Kyleigh Kuhn, 16-year-old daughter of Roots of Peace founder Heidi Kuhn, has already collected over 5 million pennies for humanitarian mine action. With the generous support of Roots of Peace, Cheryl Jennings, news anchor of ABC-TV’s Bay Area affiliate, Marin County Office of Education, Loomis-Fargo, Bank of Marin, A+ Report Card and others, Pennies for Peace has engaged thousands of students in over 50 Marin County schools. Their contributions will help clear mines and rebuild schools and playgrounds in Afghanistan.

  • Pat Boone Croons for Mine Action
    Pat Boone, whose record sales were second only to Elvis Presley in the 1950’s, lent his famous baritone in support of humanitarian mine action at a November 4 sellout concert at Lipscomb University in Nashville. Rachel Shaver, a member of Lipscomb’s Students for International Peace and Justice, the sponsoring organization and WRA partner, thanked Boone for "his willingness to support our cause." Boone also did TV and radio appearances to promote awareness of the threat of persistent landmines worldwide, and praised the efforts of the students to raise public awareness of the landmine threat.

  • The Messiah Minefield
    Not a Robert Ludlum novel, but a simulated minefield created by engineering students at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, is a proven instructional tool. In just a day, it can graphically educate a campus about the effect of persistent landmines. The students’ minefield recently "traveled" to the landmine conference at Smith College (see main story). Messiah students bury landmine replicas that are wired to a light board adjacent to the field. If the board lights up as "victims" try to traverse the field, an airhorn blast signals the "detonation." This mine awareness tool drives home an unforgettable lesson: the cost of even a slight misstep in mine affected areas.


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U.S. Department of State Mine Action Partners

United Nations Association of the United States of America; People to People International; Warner Bros.; DC Comics; Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation; United Nations Foundation; Mine Action Information Center; Landmine Survivors Network; Humpty Dumpty Institute; Roots of Peace; Marshall Legacy Institute; Center for Teaching International Relations; Southwest Missouri State Landmine Studies Program; HALO Trust; National Committee on American Foreign Policy and Huntington Associates; Clear Path International; Operation LMS; Save the Children; Center for International Rehabilitation; Polus Center for Social and Economic Development; Grapes for Humanity; Global Care Unlimited; PeaceTrees Vietnam; Prestige Health Care Technologies Ltd.; Health Volunteers Overseas; Wheelchair Foundation; Pan American Health Organization; Organization of American States; Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies; South Florida Landmine Action Group; Julia Burke Foundation; Maret School of Washington; Canadian Landmine Foundation; Golden West Humanitarian Foundation; One Sri Lanka Foundation; DanChurchAid; Freedom Fields, USA; Mines Advisory Group; Children of Armenia Fund; Kids First; Cafesjian family Foundation; Newsweek Education Program; World Rehabilitation Fund; Health Volunteers Overseas; Lipsomb University Center for International Peace and Justice; and Messiah College Landmine Action Project.


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More Information

For more information on mine action initiatives, please contact:

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW, Room 1826
Washington, DC  20520
Phone: (202) 647-0562
Fax: (202) 647-2465
E-mail:
SteveJE@state.gov

[Also see: Volume 1, Issue 1]


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