Landmines, IEDs, and other Explosive Hazards in the Middle East: Addressing a Growing Threat

A half-day conference on the need for international demining efforts.
Thursday, September 13
9:00 am - 2:00 pm
The Fairmont Hotel
2401 M Street, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20037
(Map)

Event Information

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to announce a conference on the growing threat of landmines, IEDs, and other explosives in the Middle East. This conference will be the first in Washington, DC focused exclusively on explosive hazard removal efforts in the Middle East, and will feature three panels examining the human impact of explosives across the region, emerging technologies in the field of demining, and potential policy responses and priorities.
 

AGENDA

9:00 | Opening Remarks and Introduction Keynote 

 

9:05-9:30 | Keynote Address: A Fundamental Humanitarian Issue 

 

9:30-10:30 | Mapping the Threat, Assessing the Human Costs 

Jane Cocking 

CEO, Mines Advisory Group (MAG)

Lise Grande 

Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Yemen, United Nations

Vice Admiral (ret.) Frank Pandolfe
CEO, PAN Global Strategies

 

 

10:30-11:30 | New Strategies and Technologies 

Sean Burke 

Director, U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate

Massoud Hassani 

Founder, Mine Kafon Labs

Kenneth Rutherford 

Director, Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR), James Madison University

Steve Priestley
Global Operations Director of Mine Action, Janus
Mark Swayne 

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense

 

11:30-11:45 | Coffee Break 

 

11:45-12:45 | Policy Responses and Priorities 

Col. (ret.) Stanley Brown

Director, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State 

Gen. James Cowan 

CEO, HALOTrust

Ninette Kelley 

Director, New York Office, UNHCR 
H.E. Ambassador Fareed Yasseen
Ambassador of Iraq to the United States
 

12:45-1:00 | Break to go through the lunch line 

 

1:00-2:00 | Luncheon Keynote 

HRH Prince Mired bin Ra'ad al-Hussein 

Chairman, National Commission for Demining and Rehabilitation, Jordan 

 

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES

HRH Prince Mired bin Ra'ad al-Hussein
Chairman, National Commission for Demining and Rehabilitation, Jordan
HRH Prince Mired bin Ra'ad al-Hussein is the visiting special envoy of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention. He has also served as the chair of Jordan’s National Committee for Demining and Rehabilitation since 2004.
After being appointed in 2009 as the special envoy to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, he has worked extensively with the United Nations and member countries to promote the banning of anti- personnel mines, worldwide. In addition, since 2000 he has served as president of the Hashemite Charitable Society for Soldiers with Special Needs and he is vice president of the Higher Council for Persons with Disabilities. Prince Mired has extensive military experience. He completed the Graduate Officers Course in Military Studies and Officer Training at the British Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1990. This was preceded by two years military conscription to the Jordanian Armed Forces (1987–1989) and followed by further service to the Jordanian Armed Forces as Special Forces Officer (1990-1991); and Military Intelligence Officer (1991-1994). From 1995 to 1997 he served as Security and Intelligence Officer with Jordanian Security (1995–1997).

Stanley Brown
Director, office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Stanley Brown is currently the director of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA) in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and has served in that capacity since 2013.  Previously he served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force where he served as director of the Office of International Security Operations, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs; Special Operations Support Team, United States Special Operations Command, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs; commander, Detachment 10 in Greenville, SC; and Special Operations chief in the Counterterrorism Bureau.  He has also served at Ft. Bragg, NC, Andrews Air Force Base, MD and Little Rock Air Force Base, AR. He has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and an M.S. from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College.

Jane Cocking 
CEO, MAG
Jane Cocking brings more than 25 years of experience in the international humanitarian and development sector to MAG, living and working in East Africa, the Balkans and Southern Africa for many years, and leading responses to the effects of conflict in a number of countries, from Somalia to Syria. Cocking joined the Overseas Development Administration, now Department for International Development, in 1989 before becoming part of the NGO community and enjoying successful careers at both Save the Children and Oxfam. She served as humanitarian director at Oxfam for eight years and was on the boards of the major humanitarian sector initiatives on standards and accountability. A senior research associate of the Overseas Development Institute, in recent times Cocking has undertaken independent consultancy work for the American Red Cross, amongst other clients.

 

Major General James Cowan
CEO, HALOTrust

James Cowan is CEO of The HALO Trust. HALO is the world’s leading NGO clearing the debris of war with 8,500 staff in 24 countries. At a time of unprecedented man‐made humanitarian crisis, HALO’s work has never been more important. James was a soldier for 30 years, serving in Germany, Northern Ireland, Africa, Hong Kong, Iraq and Afghanistan. He commanded his Regiment, The Black Watch, in Iraq in 2004 during fighting in Basra and subsequently around Fallujah. He was back in Iraq in 2006‐07, again in Basra. He took command of Task Force Helmand and served in Afghanistan during 2009‐10. His tour coincided with the appointment of General Stanley McChrystal as commander of ISAF and Operation Moshtarak, the clearance of the Taleban from central Helmand. He was subsequently Head of Counter Terrorism in the British MOD and led the planning for the 2012 Olympics military security operation. His last job in the British Army was as General Officer Commanding The 3rd (UK) Division – the UK’s warfighting formation of three mechanized brigades, artillery, engineers and logistics.

 

Lise Grande
Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Yemen, United Nations
Lise Grande currently serves as the UN resident coordinator, UN humanitarian coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative for Yemen. Grande took over this role after four years as the deputy special representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Prior to this position, Grande was the UNDP resident representative and United Nations resident coordinator in India (2012-2014). She previously served as deputy special representative of the Secretary‑General and resident and humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan (2011‑2012); deputy resident and humanitarian coordinator, South Sudan (2008‑2011); head of the United Nations Integrated Office in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2005‑2008); and resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Armenia (2003‑2005).

 

Founder, Mine Kafon Labs

Massoud Hassani grew up on the edge of Kabul, in a little town called Qasaba. Living in a house that backed on to an active minefield, they experienced the horrors of land-mines from an early age. During the advent of the Afghan civil war, the brothers moved more than 40 times through different countries, eventually settling in the Netherlands. Having been forced to invent and create one's own objects and toys during a childhood so effected by landmines and remnants of war, Hassani then went on to pursue a career in Industrial Design. Inspired by humanitarian beliefs, nature and the wind powered toys the brothers grew up making, the “Mine Kafon”- a wind powered art piece, was realized in 2011 as both a global mine awareness campaign and a legitimate mine-clearing device. The project won a series of international awards and successfully helped raise awareness for world mine aid through a number of mainstream media outlets. Following many years of development since, the Mine Kafon Lab team is now ready to present the “MKD” project – an innovative UAV system developed to aid in mine clearance

 

Ninette Kelley
Director, New York office, UNHCR
Ninette Kelley has served as the director of the New York office of UNHCR for five years. Previously, she was the regional representative for UNHCR in Lebanon since May 2010. Kelley has held legal and management change positions within UNHCR since 2002. Prior to her present assignment in Lebanon, she was the acting head of the Organizational Development Management Service at UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva and held several other advisory positions in a variety of units. Before joining UNHCR, Kelley served for 8 years with the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada as a member of the Convention Refugee Determination Division (CRDD) and of the Immigration Appeal Division from June 1994 to June 2002. Between 1988 and 1990, Kelley held various policy and consultative roles with international humanitarian agencies including the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and the International Working Group on Refugee Women, Geneva. In addition, she served as the executive director of the Working Group on Refugee Resettlement (WGRR), Toronto from 1985 until 1988

 

Vice Admiral (ret.) Frank Pandolfe

Retired Vice Admiral, United States Navy; CEO, Pan Global Strategies 

Frank C. Pandolfe leads Pan Global Strategies LLC, a consultancy specializing in strategic planning, risk assessment, concept development, and executive education. At sea, he commanded USS Mitscher (DDG 57), Destroyer Squadron 18, Carrier Strike Group 2, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO, and U.S. SIXTH Fleet.  Ashore, he served in the White House, United Nations, Joint Staff, and Navy Staff.  He was deployed to the Middle East six times during his career.  His final assignment was assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was the senior military representative to the Secretary of State.  Vice Admiral Pandolfe retired from active duty after 37 years of commissioned service in August 2017.

 

Steven Priestley 

Global Operations Director of Mine Action, Janus

Steven Priestley is Janus Global Operations Director of Mine Action, responsible for the development and growth of our humanitarian and commercial mine action activities globally and has worked for the company since 2011. Steve has over 25 years experience outside the military in design, management implementation and oversight of demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), survey, Battle Area Clearance, Small Arms Light Weapon remediation and Physical Security and Stockpile Management (PSSM) programs in more than thirty countries. During this time he contributed to the development of innovative sectoral approaches such as Community Liaison in support of task identification and prioritization, deployment of multi-skilled Mine Action Teams and the use of demining resources to perform micro-disarmament and PSSM activities in remote locations.More recently Steve helped establish Janus’s IED clearance project in Ramadi working in close collaboration with the US Embassy, coalition personnel, the United Nations and national and regional Iraqi Government officials. After serving as a Troop Commander in an EOD Squadron of the British Army, Steve spent a year in Kuwait initially clearing mines and unexploded ordnance to enable access for oil well firefighting teams and subsequently working on the barrier minefields in the south of the country. 
 
 

Kenneth Rutherford
Director, CISR, James Madison University
Kenneth Rutherford is director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery and Professor of Political Science at James Madison University. In his capacity as director he leads fundraising and strategic planning for CISR, which for more than 21 years has been recognized as a global leader in international efforts to combat the effects of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including rehabilitating post-conflict societies. He oversees a budget of nearly two million dollars funded almost entirely by contracts and grants and a full-time staff of thirteen, around ten student researchers and employing professors on specific overseas projects. He also spearheads collaborative relationships with international institutions, such as the United Nations, global foundations and U.S. government bureaus involved in post-conflict economic and social activities.

 

Mark Swayne
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense
Mark Swayne is the acting deputy assistant secretary for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs (SHA) within ASD for Special Operations/Low – Intensity Conflict in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) for Policy. SHA develops defense policy for embassy security, humanitarian assistance, disaster response, peacekeeping, stability operations, international rule of law, prevention of atrocities, human rights, lethal autonomous weapons systems, and women, peace and security. He previously served as the director for North-West-Central Africa and Horn of Africa regional director in OUSD Policy. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2008, and has been working defense policy issues since January 2002. Previous to working at OSD Policy, Swayne was with the State Department and was Interagency Liaison officer for the US-Africa Command’s Pentagon Office.

 

H.E. Ambassador Fareed Yasseen
Ambassador of Iraq to the United States 

H.E. Ambassador Fareed Yasseen is Iraq’s ambassador to the United States of America. He previously served as the Iraqi ambassador to France for six-and-a-half years, from May 2010 until he stepped down in October 2016. Prior to the end of his tenure in Paris, the experienced diplomat was awarded the Republican Medal of Honor—an award rarely given to outgoing ambassadors—by Mr. Christian Masset, secretary general of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the French Presidency. Before serving as Iraq’s representative in France, Ambassador Yasseen held a number of posts within the Government of Iraq, including as the head of policy planning of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic adviser to former Deputy President Mr Adil Abd al-Mahdi. He has also worked and consulted for numerous United Nations agencies and leading think tanks.

 

 

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