Center for International Stabilization & Recovery

CISR envisions a world where people can build peaceful and prosperous futures free from the repercussions of conflict and disaster.

We help communities affected by conflict and trauma through innovative and reliable research, training, information exchange, and direct services such as:

Mine Risk Education
Peer Support
Management Training
Scientific Research
Who I Follow

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WW2 Memorial Day and the Threat of Unexploded Ordnance: Russian Roulette 

Not only are the civilians of Ilovaisk facing a humanitarian crisis, the threat of unexploded ordnance from the fighting also looms large. Now, small but dedicated teams are trying to dispose of the ordnance before more civilians get hurt.
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Chuck Searcy might one day return to Athens to stay.

But as he nears 70, Searcy says he still has unfinished business after 19 years in Vietnam — specifically, continuing his work with Project Renew, a group which works to reduce the toll of the unexploded bombs still killing and maiming Vietnamese children and farmers.

“We dropped 15 million bombs over Vietnam, more than all of the bombs in World War II,” said Searcy, a University of Georgia graduate and one of the founders of the Athens Observer, a newspaper that flourished during the 1970s and 1980s.

Searcy’s anti-bomb work is focused in the Vietnamese province of Quang Tri.

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Flashback Friday! 

… to the 1998 American Landmine Survivor Demonstration at The White House—the country’s first and only American Landmine Survivor LSN-led protest at The White House that took place almost 16 years ago on October 1st wheBurkina Faso became the 40th Ottawa Treaty signatory, signaling entry into force of the treaty.

The march also encouraged U.S. government accession to the treaty. President Barack Obama, we are still waiting …

— with Ken Rutherford and Jerry White

Attention JMU seniors and recent graduates!

CISR is now accepting applications for the 2015–2017 Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellowship in Humanitarian Demining until 5 p.m., Friday, November 7.

This is a paid fellowship facilitated by CISR with the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA).

JMU seniors, grad students and recent grads—apply now for the 2015–2017 Fellowship!


I was the 2013–14 Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA). I first learned about this one- of-a-kind fellowship opportunity while working as an editorial assistant at James Madison University’s Center for International Stabilization and Recovery. I decided to apply to the fellowship, because it offered the opportunity to work on complex and exciting foreign policy issues regarding conventional weapons destruction (CWD), including humanitarian mine action and small-arms and light-weapons (SA/LW) destruction. Moreover, as a recent college graduate interested in international relations, I knew that working at the U.S. Department of State would provide a professional development opportunity like no other. 

Upon entering the fellowship, I was placed in PM/WRA’s Resource Management (RM) division. The RM division is responsible for planning and developing the office’s budgets, managing its finances, and, in fiscal year 2013, awarding approximately $142 million in grants, cooperative agreements and contracts to support CWD projects across the globe. During my time with RM, I received an in-depth education about the federal budget process, federal grants management, grants processing and financial management.

In addition to serving in the RM division, I also assisted PM/WRA’s Program Management division. Specifically, I was tasked with assisting the program managers for our Africa and Western Hemisphere Affairs portfolios. The highlight of my time in the Program Management division was when I participated in a program-review visit to Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras. During the trip, I observed demining operations in Colombia, a weapons-depot construction project in El Salvador and SA/LW destruction in Honduras. This trip allowed me to witness firsthand the lifesaving work that PM/WRA’s implementing partners conduct. 

My time as a fellow was one of the best professional development experiences I have had, and I am proud to call myself a former Frasure-Kruzel-Drew Memorial Fellow. Although my time as Fellow has ended, I have been lucky to continue working in PM/WRA as a program analyst. I encourage anyone interested in working at the U.S. Department of State or in CWD to apply for this great fellowship opportunity.

JMU seniors, grad students and recent grads—apply now for the 2015–2017 Fellowship!


~ Chris Murguia (2013–14)

To read more about Chris’ experiences as FKD fellow, refer to his DipNote blog post.

CISR Promotes Disability Rights in Vietnam

In collaboration with Centre for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) and Hanoi Disable People Association (DP Hanoi), Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disability (AEPD) organized the workshop “Promoting the enforcement of the Vietnam National Law on Disability” (NDL). 

There were many participants who are Persons with Disabilities, or from Disability Organization, NGO members in Hanoi, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), Department of Transport and Department of Public Health. Especially, Economic Officer Mr. Joe Narus from United States Embassy in Hanoi and CISR Director Mr. Rutherford Ken also took part in the workshop. This is an opportunity for participants to listen to authentic contributive ideas about implementing the national law on disability from the voice of MOLISA’s representatives as well as share the experiences in advocacy for people with disabilities (PwDs) from departments. 

Mr. Ken Rutherford shared personal experiences of his trauma overcome and how he has made to advocacy for Disability Law in the US. After that, CISR Communications Specialist Amy Crockett has presented on building a public campaign to improve awareness of community in implementation of NDL. Based on the contributive ideas, the participants actively discussed about the topics related to the difficulties that PwDs are facing with, such as the unhealthy situation of PwDs, unimproved awareness of PwDs’ family in supporting PwDs to take part in all the social activities. Besides, it is very necessary for PwDs to receive the supports from departments to access the information, capital resources, vocational trainings, especially appropriate policy. Based on the real demands of PwDs, participants have created miniature billboards by so lively messages and pictures that directly impacted on target audience’s awareness. 

On behalf of PwDs in the workshop, Mrs. Duong Thi Van shares her ideas “Via the workshop, we can speak out our desires about an equal life in every aspects”. In the forthcoming days, similar workshops will be organized in other provinces such as Quang Nam, Quang Binh in order to provide the community, especially government in all levels with the necessary information about NDL, as well as develop a network of organizations operating for the Rights of Disability nationwide, so as to promote the enforcement of Vietnam NDL.