I don’t believe in sitting still. When you work with survivors and leaders from the global landmine-action community, how could you? I’m inspired on a daily basis by their courage, fortitude and resilience—characteristics I saw recently during a trip to Iraqi Kurdistan. I am grateful to the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency for the overwhelming hospitality during my visit and their tremendous courage in attempting to alleviate the negative effects of landmines. IKMAA’s Executive Director, Siraj Barzani, is a well-known champion for landmine action, including survivors’ rights and assistance. The Center for International Stabilization and Recovery is proud to call him our colleague and friend.
Since I came on as Director two years ago, CISR has been in constant motion—at JMU and in Burundi, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Rwanda, Uganda, Vietnam and elsewhere. CISR seeks to engage people in new ways and places every day. This online edition of The Journal is part of that effort.
In addition, CISR has added a host of online and social-media outlets to share our good work and yours. Many of you received our electronic newsletter—if not, read our current issue here and also subscribe to future issues here. Whether you Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, read our daily blog updates or join the discussion in our forum, we want to hear from you.
Photo courtesy of Ken Rutherford.
In this issue of The Journal, you will find profiles of numerous organizations working in mine action, stories of how conflicts affect food and water, and several articles from the field, including one from Carson Harte, Executive Director of the Cambodia Trust, who was featured in issue 13.1 as an “Unsung Hero” of mine action for the impact his work has made on so many people's lives. I personally experienced his organization’s professional assistance in Cambodia last November, when one of my artificial legs broke while attending the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiliing, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (also known as the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention or APMBC) in Phnom Penh. I relied on wheelchairs borrowed from local disability leaders Samon and Seng Cheatta to get around the city until Carson and his staff offered to fix my leg.
I learned during the visit to its facility that the Cambodia Trust helps persons with disabilities in the developing world find a way out of poverty by giving them back their mobility through sustainable rehabilitation services and reducing reliance on expatriate expertise by training indigenous prosthetists and orthotists based in the developing world. I am especially grateful to Teap Odom, the head of the Cambodia Trust’s student clinic, who made it his personal mission to create a prosthetic leg for me in one day after my original leg could not be fixed. While I rode into their Phnom Penh facility on a borrowed wheelchair, Mr. Odom and his staff made sure I walked out with a Cambodia Trust built leg, which in prosthetic fitting and production time, is light speed.
We encourage you to read all of The Journal’s articles, and please contribute if you have something to say. We look forward to reading your comments.
Kenneth R. Rutherford, Ph.D.
Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 / USA
ph: +1 (540) 568-2719