MLI is a Virginia-based non-profit organization committed to helping war-torn countries help themselves. Our current focus is eliminating the humanitarian dangers and the destabilizing effects of landmines. Please click here to view MLI’s 2016 Annual Report and learn about some of our recent successes.
Explore the countries we work in and where our current biggest needs are by visiting our Where We Work page.
What We Do
The Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) was founded by General Gordon R. Sullivan in 1997, the 50th Anniversary year of the Marshall Plan, to extend the vision & legacy of Nobel Peace Laureate George C. Marshall by promoting hope, growth, and stability in war-torn countries. MLI emphasizes the importance of helping countries help themselves, and provides landmine-affected countries with the resources & training they need to rid their soil of this horrific scourge. The focus is on building practical, affordable, and sustainable indigenous humanitarian programs.
For many nations, a primary obstacle to achieving sustainable progress is the deadly legacy of landmines, the relics of armed conflicts that often ended long ago. Landmines halt agricultural production, impede economic growth, slow the return of refugees, instill fear, and kill and maim innocent citizens on a daily basis, injuring or killing at least one person every 40 minutes.
MLI’s programs emphasize local capacity-building and long-term sustainability, with our largest programs: 1) providing valuable resources (especially highly trained dogs through the Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program) and training of local handlers to hasten the pace of landmine clearance operations; 2) providing medical assistance, prosthetic limbs, and vocational training to landmine survivors, and specialized training to doctors & local rehabilitation teams; 3) linking American youth with students abroad to work together to help others; 4) supporting interethnic & inter-religious reconciliation in post-conflict societies by connecting children from different ethnic/religious groups and uniting them in a common cause; and 5) promoting economic empowerment, hope, and dignity for women living in war-torn countries by providing education, training, and mentoring to enhance their job skills and employment opportunities. These programs are broadly split into Mine Action Programs (Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program, Survivors’ Assistance Programs, and Children Against Mines Programs) and Social Impact Programs (Women’s Empowerment, Inter-religious Reconciliation, and Leadership Development).
Click here to visit the Giving Library website and hear from MLI’s President, Perry Baltimore, as he discusses MLI’s work around the world.
Together these programs save thousands of lives each year, raise awareness about the global landmine epidemic, and encourage students and organizations to be part of the solution.
MLI’s longest running program is the Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program, which provides highly trained explosive-sniffing dogs to the neediest of countries, and trains local handlers to safely & effectively employ the lifesaving dogs. The success of the program is measured by MLI’s ability to satisfy urgent operational requirements/requests from contaminated countries, and by assessing the long-term care, sustainability, and effectiveness of the indigenous human-dog team capacities that are developed in each country. MLI has successfully established and/or expanded indigenous explosive detection dog programs in Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Eritrea, southern Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Yemen. By searching for mines and accelerating the pace of clearance operations, the MDD teams not only save lives, but also positively impact the socio-economic growth of fragile post-conflict countries and increase the likelihood that these countries will remain at peace. In each country where MLI has developed an initial MDD capacity, the beneficiary countries have greatly expanded their MDD programs, recognizing the great value that the heroic animals provide.
MLI adheres to international standards for training and certifying each of its dog-handler teams to ensure that the MDDs can safely, effectively & reliably locate landmines and other explosive remnants of war. MLI’s MDD teams typically search up to 30 times the amount of land that manual deminers can search in a given period time, without sacrificing safety or accuracy. None of MLI’s MDDs have ever been killed in a landmine clearance operation.
MLI also has extensive programs to assist landmine survivors and other victims of war. MLI has provided medical assistance, prosthetics, and vocational training for thousands of survivors, especially children, offering renewed hope for their future. Additionally, for the past four years, MLI has been implementing targeted social impact programs, including inter-religious reconciliation projects for youth, and, more recently, mentoring and employment projects for vulnerable women, all of which aim to restore dignity and enhance quality of life for people living in conflict-impacted countries.
Through CHAMPS, MLI delivers landmines presentions and simulated minefield demonstrations with its K9 Ambassador (a retired mine detection dog) to engage students in the landmine issue. CHAMPS inspires American children to not only explore the problem, but to also become part of the solution. CHAMPS elevates mine awareness, promotes global citizenship, and generates funding to help others, especially children, living in mine-threatened communities around the world. CHAMPS also links American schools with ‘sister’ schools in beneficiary countries. By using Internet video messengers, such as Skype, the students learn about each other and work together to help children who have been injured by mines.
Participating foreign schools befriend and ‘adopt’ young landmine survivors in their community, identify their needs, and introduce the survivors to American students, who organize campaigns in their communities to provide medical assistance and other rehabilitative care. MLI identifies interested schools and hires in-country managers who lead the programs, form students into mine-action clubs, organize monthly video-conferences, and arrange medical & vocational assistance for the survivors.
In the past year, MLI’s CHAMPS team gave more than 100 presentations throughout the U.S., exposing more than 10,300 American students and teachers to the program, and inspiring 1 new MDD campaign and multiple survivors’ assistance campaigns that helped 9 mine survivors. Thirty-one U.S. schools were actively engaged with CHAMPS, and 38 international video calls took place between American youth and peers abroad.
MLI’s Executive Committee on its Board of Directors completed a rigorous assessment of MLI’s programs to monitor effectiveness and recommend changes where needed. Please click here to read the latest assessment for 2014-2015.