The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was recently invited to participate in the 2009 African Mediators Retreat, which was held in Zanzibar from 24-26 March 2009. The retreat was co-hosted by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre) and the Mwalimu Nyerere foundation.
The retreat offers an opportunity for senior mediators, high level decision makers and other key peace process actors working in Africa to share their experiences, identify challenges and reflect on their own and other’s practice in a discreet setting and informal atmosphere.
The African Mediator’s Retreat is part of the Oslo Forum, a series of pre-eminent, annual gatherings of conflict mediators that is regularly hosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the HD Centre.
Vasu Gounden has been involved in mediation work both in South Africa and on the Continent, including Somalia, working with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi and serving as an advisor on strategy to former President Masire on the InterCongolese Dialogue Peace Process. Mr. Gounden also worked with preparing rebel groups for the negotiation process in Burundi, facilitated by the South African Government. In September 2005 Mr. Gounden was the first member of an African NGO in the history of the United Nations Security Council to address the Council.