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:

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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!

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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!

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~ Chris Murguia (2013–14)

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

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.

On August 12, CISR visited the leaders of the Hanoi Association of People with Disabilities (DP Hanoi), a nonprofit Vietnamese nongovernmental organization. The two organizations exchanged ideas on ways to improve the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Vietnam, such as leveraging social media to disseminate PWD legal rights. DP Hanoi also raises awareness about the implementation of the Vietnam National Law on Disability through publications, trainings and capacity-building, among other activities. Further, it co-hosted last Friday’s disability rights training workshop in Hanoi alongside CISR and the Association for the Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities. The future for PWDs in Hanoi looks bright with the wonderful leadership of DP Hanoi. For more information, visithttp://www.dphanoi.org.vn.

Joined by two Vietnamese nongovernmental organizations, the Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and the LIN Center for Community Development, CISR Director Ken Rutherford and Communications Specialist Amy Crockett advocated for more effective ways to implement Vietnam’s disability law and encourage its government to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. About 25 representatives from various Ho Chi Minh City-based disabled people’s organizations (DPOs) attended, such as the National Blind Association and DRD.
"As people with disabilities, we need to be our own strongest advocates. Most people with disabilities in Vietnam live below the poverty line and don’t have enough information to advocate for themselves. This project is for us to become champions and leaders for the advocacy of this law and support the Vietnamese government in implementing the National Disability Law that it has already adopted," said Rutherford.
The workshop generated dialogue among various disability sectors to commit to coordinated campaigning for disability rights in Vietnam. For example, it was proposed that DPOs meet quarterly, focusing on one issue and inviting government representatives.
Crockett led the final segment of the training with a group exercise aimed toward promoting disability rights through a public awareness campaign. Groups of participants created their own billboards with unique messages addressing common issues encountered by persons with disabilities and shared them aloud with the entire workshop.

faranjis:

Phonsavan was one of the most bombed areas of Laos during the American ‘Secret War’. The Americans dropped 10 million tonnes of bombs - the equivalent of two tonnes of bombs per each person in the country – so evidence of the bombs is all around; from huge bomb craters to villages where the metal from bombs has been used for buildings, tools, flower baskets, fences and many other uses.

The US used many cluster bombs on Laos, around a third of which did not explode largely due to monsoon conditions or from being dropped at the wrong height, so UXOs are a huge problem in the country. On our brief time in the region we passed several MAG (Mines Advisory Group) workers clearing the land – a process due at current rates to take 300 years. At the Phonsavan MAG Centre there is an up to date list of the latest injuries and casualties, mostly effecting playing children, from UXOs.

In collaboration with Association for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities (AEPD) and Hanoi Disabled Peoples Organization (DP Hanoi), CISR helped execute a successful disability rights training today in Hanoi. Attendees included representatives from disabled people’s organizations from district levels in Hanoi, a representative from MOLISA and Economic Officer Joseph Narus from the U.S. Embassy-Hanoi, among others. CISR Director Dr. Ken Rutherford compared the CRPD and the National Disability Law. He shared personal experiences in terms of advocating for PWDs. CISR Communications Specialist Amy Crockett presented on building a public awareness campaign that can improve the livelihoods of persons with disabilities. Afterward, she led a group activity, in which participants created miniature billboards depicting important disability rights issues, such as access to public transportation. A major workshop highlight was when a local TV station stopped by to interview participants. A morning visit from five JMU study-abroad students added to the excitement. Thank you again to AEPD for hosting a great workshop!

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In Mai Chau valley, CISR Director Ken Rutherford and JMU students had an empowering encounter with the disabled artisans of Hoa Ban+, a shop with handmade crafts of Northern Vietnam. Colorful cotton handbags and patterned purses adorned the walls of the shop. The owner hires females with disabilities—one of the artisans lost a leg in a factory accident. For more information, visit http://www.maichaupanorama.com.