Ken Rutherford (political scientist)

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Kenneth R. Rutherford
Ken Rutherford in Burundi May 2010.jpg
Kenneth Rutherford on a visit to Burundi, May 2010.
Born (1962-08-25) August 25, 1962 (age 57)
Alma materUniversity of Colorado at Boulder, B.A., M.B.A.
Georgetown University, Ph.D. (Political Science)
OccupationDirector, professor
EmployerJames Madison University Center for International Stabilization and Recovery
Known forAdvocacy for landmine survivors, work on the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, work the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, work on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, work to limit small arms and light weapons, work on peer support for trauma survivors
AwardsAs co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network, he was a renowned leader in the Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition that spearheaded the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, Nobel Peace Prize (1997)
2013-2014 Human Security Award (Center for Unconventional Security Affairs)
Leadership in International Rehabilitation Award (Center for International Rehabilitation, 1999)
Survivors' Assistance Award (Marshall Legacy Institute, 2005)
Everyday Hero Award (United Airlines, 2002)
Adopt-A-Minefield Humanitarian Award (2002)

Kenneth R. Rutherford (born August 25, 1962) is co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network and a researcher in the field of political science.

International work[edit]

While studying political science at the University of Colorado in the mid-1980s, Rutherford decided to work in international development. Since graduating in 1985, he has worked for international aid agencies in Bosnia, Kenya, Mauritania, Senegal and Somalia, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Jordan.

Rutherford began his international career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania (1987–1989). During this period he was contracted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist in refugee camps on the border between Mauritania and Senegal.

He returned to the US to earn his MBA at the University of Colorado, then in 1993 went to work for the International Rescue Committee in Kenya and Somalia, where he was injured by a landmine.

Together with Jerry White he co-founded Landmine Survivors Network in 1995[1] which later became Survivor Corps. He and White accompanied Princess Diana on her last humanitarian mission to visit landmine survivors in Bosnia-Herzegovina in August 1997, only three weeks before her death.[2] Rutherford was a prominent leader in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines which won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. In 2000, he earned his doctorate in Political Science from Georgetown University.

He was Associate Professor of Political Science at Missouri State University from 2002 until 2010. In 2005, Rutherford went to Jordan on a Fulbright Fellowship where he taught international politics at the University of Jordan in Amman.

In 2008 Rutherford played a key role in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. He was a board member of Survivor Corps until it closed in September 2010.[3]

In February 2010, Rutherford became Director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR), which includes the Mine Action Information Center, at James Madison University. In his capacity as CISR Director, he oversees and participates in post-conflict missions and projects in numerous countries worldwide, including Burundi, Iraq, Tajikistan and Vietnam.

He currently serves on the board of directors of Legacies of War, Friendship Industries, the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Roundtable and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation.

Landmine accident[edit]

On December 16, 1993, while working for the International Rescue Committee in Somalia, Rutherford's vehicle struck a landmine, injuring him severely. After a medical evacuation during which he nearly bled to death, one leg was amputated to save his life and the second one amputated several years later. He has since spoken to the United States Congress against landmines.[4] "It was an experience that fundamentally altered my life for the good," Rutherford said. "It crystallized my vision of what I believe I was put on this Earth to do."[5]



Ken Rutherford has published more than 40 articles in numerous academic and policy journals, including the Journal of International Law and Policy, World Politics,[6] Journal of International Politics,[7] International Journal of World Peace,[8] Alternatives,[9] Non-Proliferation Review,[10] Harvard International Review,[11] The Journal of ERW and Mine Action,[12][13][14][15] Journal of Transnational Associations,[16] Pain Medicine,[17] International Journal on Grey Literature,[18] and Security Dialogue.[19] He has contributed book reviews to Armed Forces and Society,[20] and National Security Studies Journal.[21]


Rutherford is the author of Humanitarianism Under Fire: The US and UN Intervention in Somalia, (2008) and Disarming States: The International Movement to Ban Landmines (2011). He has co-edited two books: Reframing the Agenda: The Impact of NGO and Middle Power Cooperation in International Security Policy (2003) and Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and War's Hidden Legacy (2004).

Book chapters and contributions[edit]

Rutherford has contributed chapters to Negotiating Sovereignty and Human Rights,[22] Global Society in Transition: An International Politics Reader,[23] Civil Society in the Information Age,[24] The Landmine Action Smart Book,[25] Primary Care of Landmine Injuries in Africa: A Basic Text for Health Workers,[26] Landmine Monitor Report 2000,[27] and To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines.[28] Rutherford also contributed to the chapter on Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1998 Report for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Office.[29]

Awards, honors and public appearances[edit]

The organization he was associated with, International Campaign to Ban Landmines, shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. Rutherford was co-recipient of the 1999 Leadership in International Rehabilitation Award presented by the Center for International Rehabilitation and has been inducted into the University of Colorado Heritage Center's "Hall of Excellence," a permanent exhibit at the University of Colorado. He has received the Marshall Legacy Institute's 2005 Survivors' Assistance Award, the 2002 United Airlines Everyday Hero Award, and the 2002 Adopt-A-Minefield Humanitarian Award, presented by Paul McCartney and Lady Heather Mills.[30] Rutherford is also the 2013–2014 recipient of the Human Security Award from the Center for Unconventional Security Affairs (CUSA) at the University of California-Irvine.

As an advocate for people with disabilities affected by landmines, he has presented in more than 30 countries, testifying before U.S. Congress and the U.N. (New York City and Geneva). He has also appeared on Dateline, Nightline, The View and National Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. His personal story of recovering from his accident to pursue his dreams of marrying his fiancée, having children and becoming a professor has been profiled by The Oprah Winfrey Show, Reader's Digest[31] and the BBC.[32]

In June 2013, he was included among the "one hundred most influential people in armed violence reduction" by the London-based organization Action on Armed Violence.[33][34]


  1. ^ Jerry White, "Landmine Survivors Speak Out," UNIDIR Disarmament Forum; 1999:4.
  2. ^ Jerry White, I Will Not Be Broken, St. Martin's Press, New York, April 2008; ISBN 0-312-36895-X, pp. 15-16.
  3. ^ Chris Abraham, "Survivor Corps Née Landmine Survivors Network Closing." Posted on 08/09/2010.
  4. ^ "The Global Landmine Crisis," Hearing Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, May 13, 1994. STATEMENT OF KENNETH RUTHERFORD, RELIEF WORKER, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE.
  5. ^ ""Panel: U.S. Still Reviewing Ban on Landmines."". Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
  6. ^ Ken Rutherford, "The Evolving Arms Control Agenda: Implications of the Role of NGOs in Banning Antipersonnel Landmines," World Politics, Volume 53, Number 1, October 2000, pp. 74-114.
  7. ^ Ken Rutherford, "A Theoretical Examination of Disarming States: NGOs and Anti-Personnel Landmines," Journal of International Politics, Vol. 37, Number 4, (December 2000) pp.457-477.
  8. ^ Ken Rutherford and Richard Matthew, "Banning Landmines in the American Century," International Journal of World Peace, Volume XVI Number Two (June 1999) pp. 23-36.
  9. ^ Ken Rutherford and Richard Matthew, "The Evolutionary Dynamics of the Mine Ban Movement," Alternatives: Global and Local Politics. Volume 28, Number 1 (January–February 2003) pp. 29-56.
  10. ^ Ken Rutherford, “The Hague and Ottawa Conventions: A Model for Future Weapon Ban Regimes?” The Nonproliferation Review 6(3),Spring/Summer 1999, pp. 36-50.
  11. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Symbiotic Partnership International Organizations and Grassroots Assistance to Victims of Armed Conflict," Harvard International Review, June 9, 2008
  12. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Director's Message," Journal of ERW and Mine Action, Issue 14.3, Fall 2010
  13. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Peer-to-Peer Support Vital to Survivors," Journal of ERW and Mine Action, Issue 14.2, Summer 2010
  14. ^ Ken Rutherford, Tracey Begley and Nerina Cevra, "Connecting the Dots: The Ottawa Convention and the CCM," Journal of ERW and Mine Action, Issue 12.2, Winter 2008-2009.
  15. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Landmine Victim Assistance and Government Legal Obligation," Journal of Mine Action, Issue 6.1, Winter 2002, pp. 52-55.
  16. ^ Ken Rutherford, "The landmine ban and NGOs: the role of communications technologies," Journal of Transnational Associations, 2000;2(2000):60–73.
  17. ^ Lasch K, Lynch NT, Rutherford K, Sherman C, Webster D. "Psychological and Cultural Influences on Pain and Recovery from Landmine Injury." Pain Medicine, 2006;7:S213-S217.
  18. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Internet activism: NGOs and the Mine Ban Treaty," International Journal on Grey Literature, Vol. 1 Iss: 3, pp.99 - 106, 2000.
  19. ^ Stefan Brem and Ken Rutherford, "Walking Together or Divided Agenda?: Comparing Landmines and Small-Arms Campaigns," Security Dialogue, June 2001; vol. 32, 2: pp. 169-186.
  20. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Military-Civilian Interactions: Intervening in Humanitarian Crises by Thomas G. Weiss," Armed Forces and Society, Spring 2002 (volume 28, number 3), pp. 521-522.
  21. ^ Ken Rutherford, "Losing Mogadishu: Testing U.S. Policy in Somalia by Jonathan Stevenson," National Security Studies Journal, Volume II, Issue 3 (Summer 1996) pp. 133-134.
  22. ^ Chapter 11, "The Transnational Effort for Disability Rights: The Marriage of Disability Rights to Human Rights," in Negotiating sovereignty and human rights: actors and issues in contemporary human rights politics, Noha Shawki, Michaelene Cox eds., Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009, ISBN 0-7546-7719-2
  23. ^ "A Theoretical Examination of Disarming States: NGOs and Anti-Personnel Landmines," in Global Society in Transition: An International Politics Reader, Dan Nelson and Laura Neack, eds., New York and The Hague: Kluwer, 2002, pp. 271-294.
  24. ^ "Essential Partners: Landmines-Related NGOs and Information Technologies," in Civil Society in the Information Age, Peter Hajnal, ed., Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Press, 2002, pp. 95-107.
  25. ^ "Survivor Assistance," in The Landmine Action Smart Book, Mine Action Information Center at James Madison University, 2002, pp. 20-31.
  26. ^ Total p. 72, Primary Care of Landmine Injuries in Africa: A Basic Text for Health Workers, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (2000).
  27. ^ "State Legal Responsibilities Toward Landmine Survivors," Landmine Monitor Report 2000, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (August 2000) pp. 1078-1080.
  28. ^ Ken Rutherford and Jerry White, "The Role of the Landmine Survivors Network," To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement to Ban Landmines, Maxwell A. Cameron, Robert J. Lawson and Brian W. Tomlin, eds., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998 pp. 99-117;
  29. ^ Ken Rutherford and Sue Eitel, "Landmine Awareness in Bosnia: General Overview," in Report for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Office, U.S. Dept. of Defense, April 1998.
  30. ^ "Hope and Dignity: Landmine Survivors Network"
  31. ^ Perry Collin, "Love Story," Reader's Digest, 1995 Vol 147, no. 881, pp. 136-141.
  32. ^ ""Dr. Kenneth R. Rutherford, Associate Professor of Political Science"". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
  33. ^ Henry Dodd, "Top 100: The most influential people in armed violence reduction," June 28, 2013.
  34. ^ "Top 100: The most influential people in armed violence reduction."

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