MARO Project Workshops & Conferences

The MARO Project hosts workshops, seminars, and conferences as part of its efforts to deepen discussions on military responses to mass atrocities. Below is a list of events either hosted by the MARO Project, or which included MARO staff presentations:

Learning from Air Operations in Libya Conference: The MARO Project supported the conference Learning from Air Operations in Libya, a Naval War College conference co-sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense and the National Defense University, held from June 20-21, 2012 at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. This unprecedented learning effort of senior political and military leaders of the 2011 Libya intervention aimed to analyze how the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution’s “civilian protection” mandate was translated into military operations and to evaluate how the USG and international community learn from military operations.

Seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School: The MARO Project hosted on April 27, 2011 Professor Susan Benesch, Director of the World Policy Institute’s Dangerous Speech on the Path to Genocide Project and Professor at American University’s School of International Service. Prof. Benesch spoke about her work on inflammatory public speech, which is a key part of the social process that catalyzes mass violence, as in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Kenya in 2007, or the Ivory Coast and Libya recently. In collaboration with Dr. Francis Deng, the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Prof. Benesch is working to refine international law on dangerous speech, and to identify best practices for limiting the violent effects of such speech.

Seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School: The MARO Project, with the National Security and Human Rights Program, hosted on March 31, 2011 Clifford H. Bernath, Senior Advisor for Rule of Law and International Humanitarian Policy for the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (OUSD-Policy) at the Pentagon. Along with serving as a member of the senior leadership team of the Special Coordinator for Rule of Law International Humanitarian Policy, Mr. Bernath is in charge of developing the Department’s policies and capacities regarding MAPRO – Mass Atrocities Prevention and Response Operations. Mr. Bernath presented on his work at OUSD-Policy as leader in developing the Department’s new office devoted to MAPRO and the importance of this office and MAPRO and MARO concepts to the future of the U.S. Defense Department.

MARO Workshop in Gettysburg: The MARO Project hosted a workshop (Dec. 8-9, 2010) in Gettysburg, PA which further explored and analyzed the role of the military in preventing and halting genocides and mass atrocities worldwide. Speakers at the workshop included MARO Project Faculty Director Sarah Sewall as well as representatives from the U.S. Departments of Defense and State and research institutions. The event brought together over 100 participants from the government, military, NGOs, INGOs, academia, research institutions, and the private sector. Working groups examined issues of MARO Policy, Operations, Intelligence, Logistics, Comprehensive Engagement, and Moral/Ethical/Legal Issues. For further information, please see the workshop flyer and

Panel Discussion at Harvard Kennedy School: The MARO Project hosted a panel discussion on May 12, 2010 on the newly released Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook, the culmination of the MARO Project's efforts over the past two and a half years to develop concepts and tools to address the concrete and practical challenges of using military force to halt ongoing mass atrocities.

MARO Handbook Launch Event: The MARO Project launched Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook on May 5, 2010 at an event in Washington, D.C. The event, which was co-sponsored by the US Institute of Peace (USIP) and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, drew a wide and diverse attendance, including representatives of US and foreign governments and militaries, academics, think-tanks and NGOs. Opening remarks were provided by former PKSOI Director COL John Kardos (Ret), and speakers included: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans Janine Davidson, MARO Project Founder and Faculty Director Sarah Sewall, MARO Project Director Sally Chin, PKSOI Professor COL William Flavin (Ret), and Lyston Lea of the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, U.S. Department of State. USIP Senior Program Officer Lawrence Woocher moderated. For more information on the MARO Handbook launch events, please visit here.

Panel Discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School: The MARO Project co-Sponsored “Crisis in the Congo: Conflict Minerals, Sexual Violence, and War” on March 31, 2010, a panel discussion featuring John Prendergast(ENOUGH), Michael VanRooyen M.D. (Harvard Humanitarian Initiative), and Susan Bartels M.D. (Harvard Humanitarian Initiative). The panel discussed the social and political effects of sexual violence and conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Discussion at the Harvard Kennedy School: The MARO Project hosted Dr. Siobhan Wills, lecturer in the Law Department of University College Cork and Fulbright Scholar and visiting fellow at the Harvard Law School's Human Rights Program, on March 10, 2010. She discussed her book, Protecting Civilians: The Obligations of Peacekeepers.

Tabletop Exercise Planning Meeting at the Harvard Kennedy School: The Carr Center hosted a meeting of MARO Team members, Core Planners, and military exercise experts in order to further progress on developing a table top exercise that will be used to demonstrate to military planners and others the complex decisions and trade-offs that MARO situations create. The meeting was held on December 7, 2009 at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, MA.

Seminar at the Harvard Kennedy School: Sarah Sewall, Sally Chin, COL William Flavin (ret.) (Chief of Doctrine, Concepts, Education and Training Division, Peace Keeping and Stability Operations Institute), and COL Dwight Raymond (ret.) (PKSOI MARO Representative) discussed the unique issues involved in military planning for a mass atrocity response operation at a MARO Brown Bag Seminar. Approximately 20 students, fellows, and members of the public attended the discussion held on October 19, 2009 at the Harvard Kennedy School.

MARO Project Meeting with UN and NGOs: This one-day MARO event, held on April 28, 2009 in New York City, was designed to give members of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and NGOs communities the opportunity to learn about and comment on the APF and other MARO Project products. Also discussed was whether the APF could be adapted in some form for NGOs working in the field. Discussed at length was the importance of humanitarian space when aid groups working in the same zone of conflict as military forces are operational and the question of the impartiality of aid organizations when deployed. Currently, the Project is looking at opportunities to continue working with both the U.N. and NGOs.

MARO Project Meeting with the USG: The MARO Project convened this meeting on December 2, 2008 in Washington, D.C. to introduce the Project to civilian officials and received feedback on its potential as an interagency tool. Approximately 40 attendees discussed problems that develop in interagency cooperation as well as difficulties in working new ideas such a MARO into bureaucracy. A civilian-friendly version of the APF was discussed as a way to allow deployed civilians an optic into how the U.S. military would plan for a MARO mission. Former Ambassador John Menzies was the keynote speaker and discussed his experience as an ambassador in the Balkans during the 1990s and the importance of holding leaders of mass atrocities accountable for their actions.

MARO Project Meeting with the U.S. Military: The MARO Project sponsored, two-day event in September 2008 in Washington, D.C. was designed to provide the military officials in attendance with background on the MARO Project and, in the context of two panel discussions, examine the draft APF from both operational and policy perspectives. In attendance were the Core Planning Group and 40 U.S COL level uniformed and civilian officials from the Department of Defense. On the first day General Gordon Sullivan (ret) was the keynote speaker where he discussed the importance of planning before a crisis humanitarian disaster occurred. On the second day, the group reviewed the findings from each panel. From their suggestions, modifications were made to the Annotated Planning Framework. Mia Farrow was the lunch speaker and discussed issues pertaining to Sudan.