Between 10 and 17 June 2011 the Executive Director of ACCORD, Mr. Vasu Gounden, accompanied by ACCORD's Senior Political Advisor, Mr. Aziz Pahad, and ACCORD's General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Hayden Allen, visited Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
In Finland Gounden was a Resource Person at a workshop on "States as Peacemakers – Different Approaches to Mediation and Mediation Support" hosted by the Finnish Institute for International Affairs and the Conflict Management Initiative (CMI). The aim of the seminar was to identify and analyse the kinds of profiles and approaches states and their governments can have in third-party interventions, especially in peace mediations. The Executive Director was asked to focus his presentation on a wider African perspective, in terms of the requirements of African conflicts for international peace mediation. The Executive Director also attended the Steering Committee Meeting for the Finnish-funded AU Mediation Project.
The visit to the Nordic countries involved a series of meetings with senior government, civil society and donor government representatives. With the exception of Denmark, all the countries visited are key ACCORD funders. There are also new liaison officers replacing current embassy staff at the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian Embassies in Pretoria, as well as at Head Office in their home countries. Hence the visit was to establish new relationships, consolidate existing relationships, share the work of ACCORD and to explore further funding opportunities. The delegation met with the African Divisions in all the countries visited and made presentations on the current environment on the Continent, which was met with much interest and discussion.