Small Wars Journal

Ukraine Demining Conference – American University in Kyiv – May 19, 2023

Fri, 08/18/2023 - 12:56pm

Ukraine Demining Conference – American University in Kyiv – May 19, 2023

Note: The first Demining conference by the American University in Kyiv was held in May with some 500 participants from all sectors Ukraine society as well as the international community.  There 8 expert panel members , 4 from Ukraine, and 4 international experts. The American University Kyiv is powered by Arizona State University and is the 1st American style university in Ukraine with the mission to transform advanced education in Ukraine.   The American University in Kyiv plans to have a second conference at West Point to bring the key decision makers from Ukraine, who need resources, to the United States, to be introduced to those who have the resources, from various US military units as well as US government agencies.   

Dan Rice – Introductory remarks


Welcome Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, ladies and gentleman, thank you for joining us today in Kyiv for the 1st De-Mining Conference sponsored by the American University Kyiv. 

As can be seen in the composition of the panel, this is a multifaceted, public and private sector issue. This is the beginning of a dialogue about a critical dimension of the economic future of Ukraine and the wellbeing of the Ukrainian people.

“Demining” is an inadequate description of the issue. The challenge is to not only removing mines and unexploded ordnance, but reintegrating contaminated and inaccessible territory and infrastructure into the economy and society. We need to remove the fear to return.

The ministries and agencies represented here, along with the local police, fire brigades, Territorial Defense Forces and private citizens have been engaged in this task since the beginning of the conflict. However, there has yet to be an appropriate and adequate level of understanding and support from the international community, including the United States.

Ukraine is uniquely different from other nations facing the challenge of demining and reestablishing the integrity of their territory. The state institutions are functioning, the population is educated and motivated, the societal capability to meet this challenge exists. What is needed are the resources.

Ukraine is winning and will win this war. … We must begin now to mobilize the vast resources of the American people to win the peace. The mobilization of resources can not be limited to public funds. They are necessary, but far from sufficient. The American private sector must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine in seizing this opportunity to create a robust economic and social future that will be the foundation for peace, strength, security, and democracy.

Any dialogue about a complex issue begins with understanding the problem. A coordinated response to the problem begins with mutual understanding of the problem and mutual understanding of the interests and capabilities of those attempting to solve the problem. The American University of Kyiv offers its good offices in the facilitation of this understanding.

Furthermore, we will facilitate the mobilization of resources, especially those of the United States. We are beginning this public private sector dialogue here in Kyiv. This is the logical and appropriate venue. However, once we have clear definition of the problem and mutual understanding here in Kyiv, the venue must shift to where the resources can be found.

 One of the first initiatives of the American University of Kyiv will be to co-host a conference on this issue at West Point, New York on the campus of the United States Military Academy in August of this year.

Now…Lets begin the process of understanding.

About the Author(s)

Dan is the President American University Kyiv and Co-President Thayer Leadership and a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  He served his commitment as an Airborne-Ranger qualified Field Artillery officer. In 2004, he voluntarily re-commissioned in the Infantry to serve in Iraq for 13 months.  He has been awarded the Purple Heart, Ranger Tab, Airborne Badge and cited for ‘courage on the field of battle” by his Brigade Commander. 


Dan has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Small Wars Journal, and Chief Executive magazine. In 2013, he published and co-authored his first book, West Point Leadership: Profiles of Courage, which features 200 of West Point graduates who have helped shape our nation, including the authorized biographies of over 100 living graduates.. The book received 3 literary awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association plus an award from the Military Society Writers of America (MSWA). Dan has appeared frequently on various news networks including CNN, FOX News, FOX & Friends, Bloomberg TV, NBC, MSNBC, and The Today Show.


Ed.D., ABD, Leadership, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education (graduation expected 2023)

MS.Ed., Leadership & Learning, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, 2020

M.S., Integrated Marketing Communications, Medill Graduate School, Northwestern University, 2018

M.B.A., Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, 2000

B.S., National Security, United States Military Academy, 1988

Full bio here: