The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, accompanied by Hayden Allen (General Manager: Corporate Affairs, ACCORD) and Sunitha Singh (General Manager: Finance and Administration, ACCORD) traveled to New York and Washington between the 8th and 14th of July 2009. While in New York Mr. Gounden had a series of meetings with various United Nations (UN) departments as ACCORD works closely with many UN agencies such as the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UNDPKO) on ACCORD’s Peacekeeping programme and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) on land mediation in Burundi.
Mr. Gounden also met with Advocate Fink Haysom who is the Political Advisor to the UN Secretary General and a long time ACCORD associate and with Mr. Christopher Coleman who is the Head of the UN ‘s Mediation Support Unit with whom ACCORD is working with on the African Union’s Mediation Support project. A meeting was also held at the International Peace Institute (IPI) with Edward Luck, who is the Senior Vice President and Director of Studies and from the Africa Programme Department Adonia Ayebare who is the Acting Director of the Africa Programme and Mashood Issaka, who is the Senior Programme Officer within the department. A meeting then followed with the interns from throughout Africa who are currently undergoing the internship programme at IPI.
L-R: Sunitha Singh (General Manager: Finance and Administration, ACCORD), Vasu Gounden (Founder and Executive Director, ACCORD), Dr. Margaret Vogt (Special Assistant to the UN Assistant Secretary General for Africa) and Comfort Lamptey (Gender Adviser, UNDPKO)
In New York and Washington Mr. Gounden also held discussions with representatives from the International Senior Lawyers Programme, which is based in the US and with whom ACCORD collaborates with on conducting trade negotiation trainings on the Continent.
L-R: Robert Kapp (Hogan & Hartson) and Vasu Gounden in an ISLP related discussion
In Washington Mr. Gounden had a series of meetings with USAID and Fiduciary Trust International related to the drawdown of the endowment funds which USAID awarded ACCORD in 1998. As part of the grant agreement the endowment is invested in the US stock market and is managed by Fiduciary Investment Management International. While the endowment was originally earmarked to be an evergreen endowment fund, at USAID’s request the endowment has now been converted into a drawdown endowment. The meetings that were held were to facilitate the necessary arrangements ahead of the drawdown of the funds. ACCORD Trustee Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, who is the Chair of ACCORD’s EXCOM of the Board, which focuses on providing good governance oversight of the finances of the Institution and which meets twice a year in between ACCORD’s two annual Board meetings, led the discussions with Fiduciary Investment Management International.
L-R: Sunitha Singh; Vasu Gounden; William Leffingwell (Managing Director, Fiduciary Investment Management International) and Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu (ACCORD Trustee)
Professor Nkuhlu and South Africa’s Ambassador to the US, H.E. Ambassador Nhlapo, also led an ACCORD facilitated discussion for USAID Staff on the current situation in Africa.
With H.E. Ambassador Nhlapo (the South African Ambassador to the United States) outside the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington (USAID’s headquarters).