axworthy & landmine

e-dition - December 5, 2007

Youth Engaged at UW Landmines Action Week

By Naniece Ibrahim

Currently The University of Winnipeg has a landmine on campus.  It rests in President and Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy’s office. Defused and mounted on a display board, it sits as a reminder of the danger and destruction of a crude weapon that can dramatically change the lives of civilians by maiming or killing them years after a conflict is over.

“Visitors observe the mine with a mixture of curiosity and revulsion," said Dr. Axworthy. “The crude weapon with its pineapple-shaped steel outer shell mounted on a sharp wooden stake was a presentation given to me by a group of deminers in Bosnia 10 years ago.”

This deadly weapon and the need to rid the world of its danger was the catalyst for The University of Winnipeg Global College’s Landmines Action Week held Nov. 26-30 on campus.  The week included several events including a stirring photo exhibit by Tony Hauser consisting of 16 life-size portraits of Cambodian children who have suffered the effects of land mines, a fundraising dinner and the  No More Landmines Youth Symposium.

paul faucetteNew Generation Recognizes Importance of Landmine Issues
Keynote  speakers included Dr. Axworthy, co-author of the Ottawa Treaty; journalist Chris Cobb who observed demining in Mozambique; Landmines Action Ambassador Paul Faucette (pictured far right); Michelle Hassen, Humanitarian Issues Program Coordinator at The Canadian Red Cross Society; author Maria Almudevar-van Santen; and landmine survivor Vanna Min (pictured below), who shared her experience which captured the attention of her audience.

“Hundreds of young people from both high schools and universities became re-engaged in the importance of landmine issues and the possibility of using the Ottawa Process to tackle global issues such as climate change and small-arm reductions," expressed Axworthy.

Student Recommendations
At the end of the week at the No More Landmines Youth Symposium, students drafted recommendations that were presented to a symposium in Waterloo and in Ottawa by three representatives, Cameron Derksen Rights and Democracy student group (UWinnipeg), Nicole Jowett, Social Justice student group (The Collegiate), Claire Picard Canadian Landmines Foundation, Youth Champion (University of Manitoba).

“The reports of the student representatives were well received at the conferences and were referenced by Dr. Axworthy in his keynote presentation at a landmines fundraiser in Ottawa,” reports Derksen.

Support Wesley, a Mine-Sniffing Dog
Other tangible results of this week of action are numerous. Over $5,000 were raised at the Night of a Thousand Dinners for the Canadian Landmine Foundation through a combination of sales of  Almudevar-van Santen’s book Vanna’s Dance and ticket proceeds. Additionally, the University plans to raise funds to purchase a mine-sniffing dog, which will be named Wesley.  Wesley will be an important asset and tool in continuing the imperative work in aiding countries to eradicate the world of these odious weapons of war so that children can take a step without worrying if it is their last. This week also resulted in a new generation of activists aware of the importance of banning landmines.

If you require information on Wesley and how you can contribute towards his purchase, please contact Sherry Funk at Global College at 988.7105 or at s.funk@uwinnipeg.ca

landmine dogTAKE A STEP: YOU CAN MAKE AN IMPACT

The University of Winnipeg is planning to add a new member to the family by adopting a dog, Wesley, which will help demine areas in the world so children can take a step without worrying if it is their last.

Canine deminers are one of the most productive and safest ways of increasing the efficiency of demining.

TAKE A STEP and donate to purchase our hero, Wesley.

Did you know?

  • Canine deminers speed the work of demining 10X compared to the conventional method and are safer for all parties involved.
  • These incredible canine demining partners are remarkably adept at identifying the location of mines, without coming into direct contact with them.
  • These dogs help return the land to productive use.
  • The false alarm rate is low, the safety level is high, and the teams find mines before people get hurt.
  • Landmine detection dogs are especially effective where non-metallic or plastic encased mines have been laid, since they are difficult to find using conventional metal detector technology.
  • Mine detection dogs save lives.

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