In the mid-1990’s, the campaign for the international Mine Ban Treaty was drawing the attention of people worldwide. But little attention or help was being given to those suffering the traumatic injuries that landmines inflict on people.
Jerry White had been involved in other issues with global impact, such as nuclear disarmament, but the Mine Ban Treaty was personal. While spending his junior year abroad, in Israel in 1984, Jerry and his friends had been hiking in what turned out to be an unmarked minefield in the Golan Heights. Jerry stepped on a landmine and lost his right foot.
In 1993, while working for the International Rescue Committee in Somalia, Ken Rutherford’s jeep hit a mine, and he lost both legs.
A decade later, Jerry and Ken met—purely by chance: Ken was searching for better prosthetics, and someone told him to contact Jerry who knew a good prosthetist.
Until that time, neither had heard of or met any other American landmine survivor. Jerry and Ken realized that the care, rehabilitation and family support they had received were not the norm for landmine victims worldwide.
Traveling around the world to promote the Mine Ban Treaty, they saw that mine victims were in great need, yet receiving little help. In 1997, they founded Landmine Survivors Network (LSN) to help landmine victims make the difficult journey from victim to survivor to active citizen.
Their goal was to create a global initiative to link survivors to healthcare, rehabilitation, peer support, and social and economic integration.
Accompanied by Princess Diana, Ken and Jerry opened the first Landmine Survivors Network in Tuzla, Bosnia in 1997; this trip was significant for its importance to landmine survivors and because it was to be her last humanitarian mission. Diana’s presence, compassion and genuine kindness buoyed the spirits of survivors, and brought attention to the challenges victims of landmines face. She is fondly remembered in the region for her personal visits and comfort she gave families who had lost loved ones.
Since that trip, LSN has opened seven field offices (Bosnia & Herzegovina, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Jordan, Mozambique, and Vietnam), and has developed programs have reached out to survivors in 43 of the 87 most mine-affected countries around the world.
Kenneth Rutherford, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Political Science, Southwest Missouri State University
Member, LSN Board of Directors
Ken Rutherford is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southwest Missouri State University. He teaches international relations, international organization and American Citizenship and Democracy. On December 16, 1993, while working as a training officer in southwestern Somalia, he lost both his legs when his vehicle hit a landmine. Since his accident, he has traveled worldwide promoting a landmine ban raising awareness of the mass suffering caused by these weapons.
Dr. Rutherford has testified before Congress and published articles on the landmine issue in numerous academic and policy journals, including World Politics, International Journal of World Peace, Journal of International Politics, United Nations Landmines Journal, Nonproliferation Review, among others. He has worked for the Peace Corps (Mauritania), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Senegal), and International Rescue Committee (Kenya and Somalia).
He received his doctorate in Government from Georgetown University in 2000, and MBA from the University of Colorado in 1993. He is an advocate for people with disabilities and landmine victims; he has spoken before Congress, the United Nations and other international venues. Dr. Rutherford has appeared on network news programs including: Dateline, and Nightline, as well as National Public Radio. In 2001, he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show where he shared the story of his accident and his life since that time in an effort to raise awareness of landmine survivors worldwide.
Most recently, Dr. Rutherford was awarded a Fulbright Scholar and Research Fellowship by the U.S. Department of State, and was appointed to the faculty at the University of Jordan in Amman, where he is teaching courses in American Government, and is researching Jordan’s leadership role in human rights.
Dr. Rutherford and his wife, Kimberly, have three sons, Hayden, Campbell and Duncan, and one daughter, Lucie.
Visit Ken Rutherford's Web site at:
Jerry White, Executive Director and Co-founder, LSN
Member, LSN Board of Directors
Jerry White is Co-founder and Executive Director of Landmine Survivors Network, an international organization based in Washington, DC, with offices in six mine-affected countries. Created by and for survivors, LSN advocates for a ban on landmines, develops support programs around the world designed to promote comprehensive rehabilitation through an integrated system of peer support, sports and social and economic reintegration.
A graduate of Brown University, White was camping in Israel when he stepped on a landmine in 1984. He worked at the Brookings Institution and the Natural Resources Defense Council prior to becoming Assistant Director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, where he co-founded and edited the Risk Report, an award-winning database designed to track the spread of weapons of mass destruction. For the past 15 years, White has been a tireless advocate to stop the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as landmines, and to promote mass empowerment and survivors’ rights.
White has appeared and published extensively in the media; testified before Congress and the United Nations; and received several awards in recognition of his humanitarian and human rights leadership, including: The first International UNA Humanitarian Prize from Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills; The 2001 Paul G. Hearne/American Association of People with Disabilities Leadership Award; The 2000 Mohammed Amin Humanitarian Award; Brown University's 2000 William Rogers Alumni Award; The Center for International Rehabilitation's Leadership Award in 1999; and the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
White has an MBA from the University of Michigan and an Honorary Doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He resides in Maryland and Malta with his wife and four children.