Norwich Celebrates
International Education Week

Federal official discusses the dangers of abandoned weapons overseas

Richard Kidd

Mr. Richard Kidd, Director of the State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, addressed the Norwich community recently. His speech on the complexities of foreign diplomacy and ongoing efforts to clear land mines in South East Asia was part of International Education Week (IEW) observances at Norwich University.

IEW is a joint project between the Department of State and Department of Education to promote international education and exchange between the U.S. and other countries. Kidd oversees the State Department’s efforts to limit the threat of abandoned weapons. He has been active in humanitarian efforts to clear land mines, unexploded ordinance and other weaponry in more than thirty different countries.

During his speech, Kidd mentioned a planned trip by the University’s overseas service program, NU Visions Abroad. The group, led by Nicole DiDomenico, Director of Volunteer Programs at Norwich, is scheduled to go to Hue, Vietnam, next summer to work in schools and orphanages still affected by abandoned landmines.

"I commend those of you who are going," Kidd said. "I know you'll get a lot out of your experience."

A 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Kidd previously worked at the United Nations in the Mine Action Program in Afghanistan. As a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, he led the "Survey Action Center" and traveled to Vietnam to conduct studies of the impact of mines and abandoned ordnance.

Kidd said this was his first visit to Norwich in 20 years and jokingly concluded his speech by saying, "If any cadets ask me to run up the ski hill, the answer is no. I'm too old for that, now." After his speech, he sat in on an International Law class and fielded questions on various exchanges between the U.S. and other countries.

NU Visions Abroad is Norwich University's overseas service program. It began in the 2003/2004 school year when a handful of students, accompanied by a professor and one staff member, traveled to the Cook Islands to assist with tutoring students in English. The opportunity of traveling to and serving in another part of the world allows for the "intellectual transformation" experience we seek for our students.