The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited by the United Nations’ ‘Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People’, to be a resource person at the United Nations’ ‘Public Forum in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace’, which was held at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa on 11 May.
Prior to the Public Forum, the United Nations ‘African Meeting on the Question of Palestine’ was held on from 9-10 May. Prior commitments prevented Mr. Gounden from attending the African Meeting.
The aim of the two-day African meeting was to discuss: the situation in the occupied palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; international efforts at achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace; Africa’s support for Palestinian statehood; and, the continent’s contribution to the Middle East peace process.
The Public Forum provided NGO’s, representatives from the academic community, and the media, with an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern – in particular, solidarity with the Palestinian people, as well as the relationship between African civil society and international efforts to support a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The meeting focused on two broad areas: i) civil society in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and ii) ‘Joining Forces’: African civil society and worldwide initiatives to support a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In 2004 Mr. Gounden traveled twice to Palestine as part of a project jointly hosted by the South African Representative Office and Sida, based in Palestine, to present workshops on South Africa’s negotiation process. In May 2006 a visiting delegation from the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce visited ACCORD House, when they visited KwaZulu Natal as part of a study tour of South Africa to look at South Africa’s economic development and investment strategies.
In 1996 ACCORD was recognized by the United Nations as a model for peace, and in 2005 Vasu Gounden was the first member of an African NGO to address the United Nations Security Council.