The Senate and Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal will in April 2016 confer an honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences on ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director, Vasu Gounden. Mr Gounden is one of three individuals that will have honorary degrees conferred in 2016 for their unique and outstanding contributions that have had a profound impact on society locally and at a global level. The awards, which will be conferred at the 2016 graduation ceremonies, will be made in two categories:
- Category 1 – Distinguished services in the advancement of one or more of the branches of learning recognised by the University, and
- Category 2 – A personal record of distinguished service and/or achievement in some other 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) which is deemed appropriate for the University to recognize.
Mr Gounden is receiving his Honorary Degree in Category 2 (Doctor of Social Science).
The other two awardees are Dr Robert Gallo (Doctor of Science) in Category 1, for his pioneering work in the field of viruses (especially his co-discovery of HIV-AIDS), the establishment of the Global Virus Network and his work to find solutions to ending the AIDS epidemic. Ms Patricia Horn will be awarded Doctor of Social Science in Category 2 for her work over the last three decades organising women in the informal economy and helping them to build a collective voice to demand their rights, including the establishment of StreetNet International which has 52 affiliates from 46 countries.
As the Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD Mr Gounden has brokered peace in trouble torn countries like Burundi, Madagascar, DRC, Somalia and South Sudan and has a formidable reputation in the realm of Conflict Resolution. ACCORD, under his guidance, is contributing to policy and conflict management capacity in the United Nations, the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities and National Governments. He 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 being 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.
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.
ACCORD warmly congratulates Dr Gounden, Dr Gallo and Ms Horn on their Honorary Degrees.