The Humpty Dumpty Institute Hosts a Landmine Education Tour to Dallas, TX
January 25, 2010
Members of the delegation included Ambassador Bui Giang, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations, Mr. Han-Ching Liu Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO); Mr. Bob Stokes, from PeaceTrees Vietnam; Mr. Kurt Chesko, Vice President, The HALO Trust USA; and Mr. Michael Blood, HDI’s Program Manager for Mine Action. Each participant gave individual presentations followed by a Question and Answer session to educational institutions in Dallas about steps being taken by the United States and the international community to combat landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). In total, the delegation reached out to over 400 students in the Dallas area.
For each presentation, Mr. Chesko opened with an overview and history of the landmine/UXO problem worldwide. Ambassador Giang followed with a frank discussion of the impacts of the Vietnam War on his country and the tragedy that UXO has inflicted on its citizens. Mr. Stokes focused on work being done in Vietnam by NGOs and private citizens. Mr. Blood explained HDI’s “Mushroom with a Mission” (MwM) project, and Mr. Liu concluded with remarks on why a UXO-free Vietnam is important to Taiwan and a description of Taiwan’s philanthropic efforts worldwide.
The first presentation of the day was held at the Episcopal School of Dallas, where members of the school’s Model UN and the International Society Club were in attendance. The second presentation was to Richland Community College. Richland boasts a diverse student body and has an active Junior World Affairs Council (Junior WAC) on campus and many of their group members attended the presentation.
During lunch, the delegation was joined by the Director of Education for the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Ft. Worth (WAC), who discussed the WAC’s International Education Initiative and the Junior WAC program. Also in attendance were members of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) of Dallas and representatives from Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA) in Dallas. The BLIA representatives also attended the afternoon presentation.
The final school presentation of the day took place at Liberty High School in Frisco, TX. Close to 300 students crowded the auditorium and afterwards numerous questions were asked about how students can get involved and about the process of hiring mine action workers in landmine-affected countries. Liberty High also has a Junior WAC on campus.
Funding for this program was provided by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.