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ACCORD Executive Director receives honorary Doctorate from University of KwaZulu-Natal

Vasu Gounden has been honoured for his record of distinguished service for the advancement of democracy and social justice.

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ACCORD Founder and Executive Director Vasu Gounden (Left) after being awarded an honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences by the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Joining Dr Gounden for the picture were Professor Cheryl Potgieter (Centre) and Dr Zweli Mkhize (Right)

The Senate and Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has conferred an honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences on ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director, Vasu Gounden at a graduation ceremony on 11 April 2016. Dr Gounden is one of four individuals to have honorary degrees conferred in 2016 for their unique and outstanding contributions that have had a profound impact on society locally and globally.

Dr Gounden received his honorary Doctoral degree under a category that recognises and celebrates individuals who have displayed a personal record of distinguished service and/or achievement in a field of endeavour (e.g. the advancement of democracy and social justice, social service, community leadership, economic enterprise, public affairs, philanthropy, the performing and creative arts). Dr Gounden was invited to give the Keynote Address at the graduation and his speech is available here.

The university, on its website, notes that under his guidance ACCORD is contributing to policy and conflict management capacity in the United Nations, the African Union, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities and National Governments, and has developed into the largest Conflict Resolution organisation in Africa, making significant contributions to peace and security in Africa. The university states that he is being recognised for his distinctive service and significant contribution to Conflict Resolution and the discipline of Peace and Security globally; and that in conferring the honorary degree, the University of KwaZulu-Natal recognises him as a major contributor to the field of peace and security and honours him for his nobility of spirit to stand up for peace and justice for the most vulnerable of citizens.

As the Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD Dr Gounden has brokered peace in trouble torn countries like Burundi, Madagascar, DRC, Somalia and South Sudan. Over the last 24 years under his leadership ACCORD has trained over 20 000 stakeholders; prepared armed groups for negotiations; and contributed to mediation strategies and the content of peace agreements. It has supported peace initiatives in 31 countries and several mediation processes on the continent. ACCORD’s comprehensive peace model was officially recognised by the United Nations in 1996 as a viable model for Africa.

Dr Gounden is an alumnus of UKZN and has served the University in various capacities over the years from President of the SRC during the State of Emergency that prevailed in South Africa during the 1980s to three terms as a member of the Council of the University of Durban-Westville and also as a member of Senate and Convocation. His work in peace and security contributes directly to enhancing South Africa’s role in peace and security in Africa and promotes South Africa’s soft diplomacy role in global affairs. This contributes directly and indirectly to building a stable continent that has a direct impact on South Africa’s economic, social and political landscape.

ACCORD warmly congratulates Dr Gounden, as well as fellow recipients Dr Robert Gallo M.D. (Doctor of Sciences), Dr Michel Sidibé (Doctor of Administration) and Dr Patricia Horn (Doctor of Social Science), on their honorary Doctorates.

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