Rae McGrath announced as guest speaker at December's AGM
Rae McGrath is a specialist in conflict and emergency response. Having served for 18 years in the British Army as a military engineer he began working with NGO's, initially in Darfur Province of Sudan during the famine of the mid-1980's. He worked throughout Africa and Asia and established community-based landmine clearance programmes in Afghanistan in 1988.
He was the founder of the UK-based NGO Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and its CEO until 1996 when he left to return to field-based work. He is the author of many key reports and two books on the impact and effective response to landmines, cluster munitions and unexploded ordnance. McGrath has also run field programmes responding to natural emergencies, including Indonesia following the 2004 tsunami in Aceh, and in Java following the 2006 Bantul earthquake.
He is an active civil society campaigner and was a founder member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). Representing the campaign when it was awarded the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, he delivered the Nobel Lecture. McGrath played a major role in the Cluster Munition campaign which resulted in the treaty banning the weapons in 2008. Author of some of the key technical papers and a member of the coalition international steering committee, he held the position of International Spokesperson on Cluster Munitions for the Handicap International Network.
He was Senior Programme Manager for emergency response with Save the Children UK and led responses to conflicts, disasters and refugee emergencies in Ethiopia, West Sumatra, Somalia, Liberia, Libya and Jordan. In early 2013 he became Country Director for North Syria and Turkey for Mercy Corps and led the multi-national team that established high volume cross-border food aid to displaced and besieged civilians in North Syria, including eastern Aleppo City. The team also established innovative programmes in support of refugees in Turkey, including the complex Aegean coast.
For over fifteen years McGrath was an Associate and visiting lecturer to the Post War Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) at York University and was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University in 2014. In 2017 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Leeds Beckett University for his work in support of IHL and conflict response. In April 2017 McGrath returned to UK where he is working on a writing project. He also lectures widely on conflict and humanitarian issues.