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Gounden to speak at Sub Saharan African Policy & Defence Relations Seminar

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The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, has been invited to be the key note speaker at the 4th Annual Sub Saharan African Policy & Defence Relations Seminar, which will be held in Cape Town from the 5-8 February. The seminar is hosted by the British Ministry of Defence.

 Attending the seminar will be all the British Defence Advisors in Sub Saharan Africa, members of the Policy and Defence Relations Department in the British Ministry of Defence, the Defence Diplomacy Section, Regional Conflict Advisors as well as representatives from British Peace Support Teams (BPST) in East and South Africa, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development (DFID) . The seminar provides the Ministry with an annual opportunity to review challenges facing Africa and its responses to them.

Mr. Gounden has been asked to provide the key note address on Tuesday, 6 February focusing on the topic of “South Africa as a reluctant regional leader”. The seminar will be opened by the His Excellency the Rt. Honourable Paul Boateng, the British High Commissioner to South Africa, and will be closed by Sir Emyr Jones-Parry, the United Kingdom Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

In 2006 ACCORD provided a presentation to the DFID South African Conflict Task Team on Leadership challenges facing Africa. The aim of the meeting/presentation was to assist DFID South Africa contribute towards an African Leadership agenda. The British Government has funded, and continues to fund, various programmes at ACCORD which include ACCORD’s Preventive Action programme and ACCORD’s Angola and Burundi country programmes.

From Cape Town Mr Gounden will travel to Tshwane where he will participate in the opening sessions of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ (UNDPKO) Women’s Constituencies Strategy Workshop, on 7 February. The UNDPKO is conducting the workshop in partnership with the South African Government, the Commonwealth Secretariat and ACCORD. Key speakers will include ACCORD Trustee Madam Graca Machel, H.E. Ambassador Jesse Duarte (Deputy Director-General Africa Multilateral, South African DFA); Ms Rachel Mayanja (Special Advisor of the UN Secretary General on Gender Issues and the advancement of women), Ms Florence Mugasha (Deputy Secretary-General, Commonwealth Secretariat), and H.E. Mrs Elisabeth Rehn (Former Minister of Defence, Finland).

In 1996 the United Nations recognized ACCORD as a model for conflict prevention and resolution in Africa, and 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. In 2006 ACCORD received the Tombouctou Award for its work in gender mainstreaming on the Continent.