Letter from our Chair
December 19, 2011
Over the past year, my second as Chairman of the Interpeace Governing Council, I am very pleased to have been able to contribute to Interpeace’s activities, both supporting specific ‘in country’ actions in the field and leading a dynamic team of fellow Governing Council members.
I would like to thank two outstanding council members for their service to the organization. Hishashi Owada and Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun both finished their second terms during the course of the year and we are indebted to both of them for their insights, advice and unwavering support during this time.
Over the last 12 months, I have witnessed first-hand that Interpeace is an organization fundamentally centered upon people, a unique approach I support wholeheartedly.
Every individual has an important role to play in the process of building lasting peace, including Interpeace local partners, national citizens, and our supporters worldwide.
I have been impressed by how Interpeace staff and local teams are able to serve as dynamic catalysts for peace. When I went to Rwanda to open a National Conference, I saw how our local partner, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), is able to set off a chain of positive reactions by bringing people from the diverse parts of a society together to engage in constructive dialogue. This in turn, enables people to overcome difficulties and build a better future for themselves. They also
give the people the tools they need to make positive change a reality.
The Interpeace approach is a powerful one that gives everyone a voice. I was proud to present the final report of Interpeace’s consultation and policy recommendation process in Liberia to the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The report involved over 10,800 Liberians from across the entire country – a challenging undertaking in itself. In response to this impressive achievement, President Johnson Sirleaf pledged to use it to help guide her government.
Most of the credit goes to all those individuals that participate directly and indirectly with our initiatives. They are the owners and leaders of the peace process, as they must be, for we recognize that true, lasting peace is only possible when people commit to resolving the underlying causes of violence and instability. By investing themselves in the process, people become determined to maintain the peace they have achieved. The fact that the overwhelming majority of people are willing to make such an investment has always inspired me. I saw that willingness in action in Rwanda, through the speed with which participants in the Rwanda National Conference took ownership of initiatives and their enthusiasm in pursuing solutions.
The work being implemented around the world would not be possible without the nations, organizations, and individuals who believe in our mission and approach. On the behalf of Interpeace, I wish to thank all of our donors for their generous support.
I share a common fundamental belief with Interpeace: despite the great diversity of views within societies, virtually everyone is united by the desire for peace. Interpeace works to enable people to translate that desire into reality. I have been thrilled and honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to this work, and I look forward to continuing my involvement and assistance in the years ahead.
John A. Kufuor
Chair of the Interpeace Governing Council, former President of Ghana (2001-2009), former Chairperson of the African Union (2007-2008) and ECOWAS (2003-2005)