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Award for Heroism recipient to form polar security center

Fairbanks, Alaska—USAID Award for Heroism recipient Harry Bader has returned home to put his international experience to work in the polar regions.

Bader received the 2011 heroism award for his work in Afghanistan as the co-leader of a joint military/civilian counterinsurgency cell. He returned to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in January to help establish an academic and research program focused on security in the polar regions. Bader will work to develop a program that integrates academic, civilian, and military entities in efforts to promote the use of science in security planning and operations. The program will address strategic interests in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as the natural resources that deliver essential ecological, social and economic services.

UAF’s location and research and academic programs make it the ideal place to tackle the complicated security issues that spring up with changes in the polar regions, said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers. “Bader’s expertise provides the catalyst to develop a center that will serve Alaska and the nation.”

Mark Myers, UAF vice chancellor for research, added, “Bader’s work on arctic environmental security will be transformational and is destined to have a lasting impact on the circumpolar North.”

Bader first joined UAF’s faculty in 1990. From 2009-2011, he served with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Civilian Response in eastern Afghanistan, where he was the co-leader of the Natural Resources Counterinsurgency Cell. The cell worked to deny the enemy access to human and financial capital derived from the exploitation of natural resources.

The U.S. State Department’s USAID Award for Heroism is given to one USAID employee each year for individual acts of valor and courage under dangerous circumstances at great risk to personal safety. It is one of the highest civilian awards granted by the U.S. government. This year’s citation reads that Bader, as a member of the Civilian Response Corps, “…distinguished himself while embedded with U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, serving a unique and critical role to counterinsurgency operations while under enemy fire.”

Bader received his J.D. at Harvard University Law School and is now finishing a doctorate degree in forestry from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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