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

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.


~ Chris Murguia (2013–14)

To read more about Chris’ experiences traveling 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.

Land mines are not only explosive but also poisonous, leaking toxins into the soil that make plants sick. That’s unfortunate for the plants but fortunate for us—if we can figure out how to look for sick plants as harbingers of land mines. Airplanes equipped with a low-cost sensor that captures non-visible light might be the answer.

LiveScience's Becky Oskin reports from the annual meeting of Ecological Society of America, where a group of researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University are presenting just this idea. That a bunch of ecologists would be interested in land mines actually makes a lot of sense; land mines lurking underground can subtly shape the ecology of an area.

The VCU researchers did their field research at an unusual place though, a “privately owned experimental minefield in South Carolina, where [DARPA] once buried fake land mines for a research project,” writes Oskin. The National Explosives Waste Technology and Evaluation Center is where researchers can (safely) experiment on new ways to detect land mines.

Read more …



Islamic State jihadists have used cluster munitions in Syria in at least one location and Syria’s regime is continuing to use the widely banned weapon, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The New York-based group, citing reports from local Kurdish officials and photographic evidence, said IS fighters had used cluster bombs on July 12 and August 14.

They were deployed in fighting around the town of Ayn al-Arab in Aleppo province, near the border with Turkey, in clashes between the jihadist group and local Kurdish fighters.


Whilst traveling in Cambodia, i was told there are no wild elephants left in the country. The only place they are sometimes found is on the border with Thailand which is still riddled with landmines left by the Khmer Rouge. This young elephant is being measured for a prosthetic. 

Any use of cluster munitions deserves condemnation, but the best response is for all nations to join the treaty banning them and work collectively to rid the world of these weapons.
Steve Goose, Arms Division Director - Human Rights Watch, “HRW: Islamic State jihadists using cluster bombs”, NOW media, Sept. 01, 2014
CISR Associate Director Suzanne Fiederlein and Grants Officer Nicole Neitzey attended the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement planning conference for Iraq and Syria programs in Istanbul, Turkey, this week. While there, they met up with ERWTC Jordan graduate and P2R Lebanon participant Mohammad Al-Naqib, representing Spirit Of Soccer.

CISR Associate Director Suzanne Fiederlein and Grants Officer Nicole Neitzey attended the U.S. Department of State's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement planning conference for Iraq and Syria programs in Istanbul, Turkey, this week. 

While there, they met up with ERWTC Jordan graduate and P2R Lebanon participant Mohammad Al-Naqib, representing Spirit Of Soccer.