The Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Vasu Gounden, was invited by the Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace (WISCOMP), based in New Delhi, to be a resource person at their International Symposium on Dialogue Process, which was held from 15-17 March 2008.
ACCORD’s current five year vision (2007-2012) is encouraging and consolidating dialogue towards the prevention, management and transformation of conflict.
The symposium aimed to bring together about 40 scholars and practitioners from different parts of the world to reflect upon the possibilities and limits of dialogue as an important element of democratic process. It also looked at lessons learnt from a variety of dialogue processes from around the world. Mr Gounden was a speaker in the session that focused on “Dialogue Processes: Global Perspectives”, speaking on perspectives from South Africa. He also chaired a session which focused on Dialogue Processes in South Asia, which focused on Nepal and Sri Lanka. One of the panelists in this session was Tyrol Ferdinands, a Managing Trustee from the Sri Lanka-based Initiative for Political and Conflict Transformation (INPACT), who visited ACCORD in August 2007.
In April 2007 ACCORD hosted two separate visits from parties from both sides to the conflict in Sri Lanka. In February 2006 Mr Gounden was invited by The Foundation for Co-existence, based in Colombo, to be a presenter at their symposium entitled: ‘Peace Negotiations in Sri Lanka’. This was followed in April 2006 by Mr Gounden being a resource person at a seminar entitled ‘Envisioning New Trajectories for Peace in Sri Lanka’, which was held in Zurich, Switzerland and which was hosted by the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD), Switzerland, in collaboration with the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies, Sri Lanka. In April 2005 ACCORD hosted a visiting delegation from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were being hosted by the South African government on a study tour of South Africa.
Mr Gounden is an international mediator, trainer and researcher in the field of conflict resolution with over eighteen years experience. Having founded ACCORD in 1992, he has worked with former President Nelson Mandela in facilitating the role of civil society in the peace process in Burundi, and served as an advisor on strategy to former President Masire on the InterCongolese Dialogue Peace Process. 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 2000 he was elected by the World Economic Forum as one of their Global Leaders for Tomorrow.