The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, has been invited by the Folke Bernadotte Academy, based in Sando, Sweden, to be a resource person on their inaugural training course entitled ‘Facilitation of Dialogue Processes and Mediation Efforts’, which runs from the 19-25 March in Sando.
The course is intended for actors engaged in the transformation of conflicts in the international arena, and the purpose is to contribute to the development of capacities to transform conflict by peaceful means. The course brings together 23 senior level participants from: the Armenian, Jordanian, Nigerian and Swedish Foreign Ministries; IDEA International; UNDPA (Africa I and Africa II, America’s and Europe Division and Asia and Pacific Division); OAS; International Alert; Maarif Institute for Culture and Humanity, Indonesia; UNDP Somalia; Company of Apostils of Peace, Burundi; Human Security Initiative Organisation, Sudan; the International Centre on Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance, Philippines; Swisspeace; and, the EU Council Secretariat. Mr Gounden’s presentation, which took place on 19 March, focused on ‘Dialogue, Mediation and Leadership in the African context’.
Mr Gounden is an experienced international conflict resolution and leadership trainer, having been an active trainer in the field since 1990. He has conducted trainings for, among others, the South African Department of Foreign Affairs; the Organization of African Unity (OAU); the United Nations (UN), and the SADC Parliamentary Forum, and was a consultant to the Commonwealth Gender and Youth Division where he has trained parliamentarians, women and youth groups from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
From Sweden, Mr Gounden travesl to Norway on the 20th, where he will be joined by Kwezi Mngqibisa, ACCORD’s Peace and Security Programme Manager. Mr Gounden and Mr Mngqibisa will be in Norway from at the invitation of the South African Ambassador to Norway, H.E. Ambassador Coovadia. Their programme in Oslo and Bergen includes a variety of public presentations on topics such as ‘Conflict Resolution in Africa: Lessons Learnt and Challenges’ (Gounden); ‘South Africa’s Challenges and Successes vis-à-vis Political Development in Africa’ (Mngqibisa); ‘Africa: Destination for Conflict Resolution or Investment?’ (Gounden); and ‘The African Union and Conflict Management: Lessons Learnt’ (Mngqibisa), as well as meetings with civil society, staff and students from the University of Bergen and staff from the Chr Michelesen Institute. On the 23rd Mr Gounden and Mr Mngqibisa, accompanied by Ambassador Coovadia (who is also the South African Ambassador to Iceland) will travel to Reykjavik, Iceland, where they will meet with President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President of Iceland. Other meetings will also be held with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government and business officials; and the staff and students of the University of Iceland. Mr Gounden will also present a public lecture on the topic ‘Africa: Destination for Conflict Resolution or Investment?’ at the University of Iceland on 24 March. Media interviews are planned in both Norway and Iceland. Mr Gounden and Mr Mngqibisa return to South Africa, via Oslo on 26 March.
Since 1995 ACCORD has run the Training for Peace (TfP) in Southern Africa programme, which is funded by the Government of Norway.