New director for conflict resolution centre

25 November 2003

After 11 years at the helm of the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Laurie Nathan will be leaving to become a Visiting Fellow with the Crisis States Programme at the London School of Economics, after which he will return to the CCR as a senior research associate.

Speaking at a function to bid farewell to Nathan, Dr Wallace Mgoqi, manager of the City of Cape Town, said that it was due to Nathan's political acumen and pursuit of excellence that the CCR had become one of the leading conflict resolution organisations in Africa.

"The CCR is widely recognised for its pioneering programmes on conflict resolution and human rights for school teachers and pupils, prison warders and gangsters, police personnel, refugees and foreign affairs and defence officials. The recognition is evident in, for example, the CCR's partnerships with as many as eight United Nations agencies in 2001." Mgoqi has known Nathan since the 1970s when they were both students at UCT's Law Faculty.

Nathan has also acquired a national and international profile as a leading practitioner in the field of peacemaking.

In 2000, the provincial government of the Western Cape appointed him as the mediator in a violent transport conflict and in 2001 the Carter Centre appointed him to its International Council for Conflict Resolution, a body of internationally recognised experts and world leaders who have shown dedication in mediating conflict and promoting peace.

It was earlier this year that Nathan was asked by the South African President's office to participate in a civic peace mission to Iraq.

"As a result of his expertise, he has served as an advisor to seven southern African ministers and deputy ministers, the executive secretary of SADC, the governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as well as being involved in the drafting of three white papers and six Acts of Parliament in South Africa," said Mgoqi.

Taking over from Nathan is Dr Adekeye Adebajo, who comes to the centre from the International Peace Academy in New York.

Here, Adebajo managed a US$3.2-million (more than R20-million) programme involving projects on developing regional security mechanisms and peace building in Africa, as well as enhancing the capacity of African conflict management institutions.

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