News and Events

The Mine Awareness Night to Make a Difference (MANMADE) Dinner

On International Day for Mine Awareness, April 4, 2012, the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and the Mine Dog Detection Centre (MDDC) hosted the first annual Mine Awareness Night to Make a Difference (MANMADE) Dinner at the Holiday Inn, Sarajevo, to help solve the man-made problem of landmines in Bosnia Herzegovina.  Nearly 200 guests helped MLI and the MDDC celebrate the progress being made in freeing BiH of the humanitarian dangers & destabilizing effects of landmines, while highlighting the challenges that remain.

With strong support from the American Chamber of Commerce and the United States Embassy in Bosnia Herzegovina, and with generous contributions from local businesses, governments and caring individuals, the event raised over $100,000 to support three landmine-related projects in Bosnia Herzegovina:  (1) Mine Risk Education, (2) Survivors’ Assistance (a group of young landmine survivors will receive medical assistance and prosthetic limbs); and (3) Landmine Clearance (mine-contaminated land near Olovo will be cleared).  The US State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal & Abatement and the Embassy of the State of Kuwait served as PLATINUM Sponsors, and the many BRONZE Sponsors included two US-based businesses, Brother & Sister Food Services, and EJA Trucking.  Recognizing the enormous impact that these projects will have on the lives of those living in landmine-threatened communities throughout BiH, the U.S. State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement has generously offered to match the funding for landmine clearance.  The combined funds raised at the MANMADE Dinner will be used by the ITF Enhancing Human Security to implement the lifesaving and life-enhancing projects.

The MANMADE Dinner successfully generated funding for these projects, which will help prevent injuries to people who live in mine contaminated communities in BiH and help those who have been injured by mines.  Unfortunately, BiH is still considered to be one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world, and deaths & injuries to innocent civilians in recent months are tragic reminders that landmines continue to threaten our population 17 years after the war.  Mines and explosive remnants of war continue to have a significant impact, inhibiting social, economic, and agricultural development, and preventing the free movement and communication of people living in communities divided by minefields.   Therefore, for nearly ten years, MLI has partnered with the MDDC, a leader in Mine Detection Dog (MDD) training, mine clearance operations, and Mine Risk Education (MRE) activities, and has donated twenty-four MDDs to “sniff out” landmines and save lives in BiH.  In just the past year, the life-saving MDDs that were donated by MLI and trained by the MDDC have safely and effectively cleared 300,000 square meters of land that can now be returned to the people of BiH and will be used for schools, roads, and agriculture.

The MANMADE Dinner drew the attention of the local community, the international community, and donors to the issue of mine action in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The evening was a great success and featured inspirational speeches, delicious food, and excellent entertainment.  Esteemed guests included the Charge d’ Affairs from the US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Jonathan Moore; the Deputy Minister of Civil Affairs, Mrs. Denisa Sarajlić Maglić; General (retired) Gordon Sullivan; Mr. John Stevens from the U.S. State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA); Mrs. Đurđa Adlešič, Director of Croatia without Mines-Humanitarian Demining Trust Fund of Croatia; Mr. Muhamed Ibrahimovic, Minister of Defense in BiH, and many others.

General (Ret.) Gordon Sullivan remarked during the Dinner, “Tonight we celebrate the progress that has been made.  We applaud the work of demining and other mine-action organizations (BHMAC, Office of Civil Protection, the Army, Pro Vita, STOP Mines, UNDP, Eco Sport, LSN, ITF and many others).  We honor the bravery and accomplishments of those courageous men and women who have risked their lives and limbs to make Bosnia Herzegovina a better and safer place for others.  We are very proud of the dog teams that daily risk limbs and paws to help accelerate the rate of landmine clearance.  MLI has been pleased to provide 24 highly trained, lifesaving dogs (most trained by the MDDC in Konjic) to “sniff out” landmines and return land to safe & productive use.  We are very proud of the dogs and their local handlers that daily risk limbs and paws to help accelerate the rate of landmine clearance.”

MLI and the MDDC are so grateful to everyone who so generously contributed to the success of the MANMADE Dinner including the US Embassy in BiH, the American Chamber of Commerce in BiH, and the many sponsors and donors.  For more information or to take part in the 2013 MANMADE Dinner, please contact info@marshall-legacy.org.