Alan Doss joins Interpeace Governing Council
September 9, 2014
It is with great pleasure that Interpeace welcomes Mr. Alan Doss as the newest member of the Governing Council, the organization’s highest decision-making body. He is currently the Executive Director at the Kofi Annan Foundation, where he previously served as Senior Advisor. Mr. Doss brings an abundance of experience acquired during his service with the United Nations (UN), having worked in multiple positions including as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia, the Director of the UN Border Relief Operation (UNBRO) on the Thai-Cambodian border and as the Director of the UN Development Group (UNDG) set up by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Gaining experience on three continents, Mr. Doss’s wealth of knowledge is an immense benefit to reinforce Interpeace’s global mission.
Motivations for joining Interpeace
We recently had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Mr. Doss in Geneva. He provided us with deeper insights into his work and his motivations for joining Interpeace’s Governing Council. “Interpeace’s approach reflects some of the lessons I’ve learned more broadly in my experiences. The importance of working not only with governments and international mediators, but also at the local level is emphasized by Interpeace and I find that to be crucial.”
Past experience and Interpeace’s approach
Mr. Doss’s extensive service with the UN engaged him in an array of endeavors including peacekeeping, development and humanitarian assistance efforts. His rich background includes time spent as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Liberia. In the DRC he was Head of the UN peacekeeping mission there until June 2010 with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. Additionally, his work has exposed him to distinct regions of the world including Sierra Leone, Thailand and Niger. Shaped by his diverse work, Mr. Doss expressed that his understanding of what it takes to build peace coincides in many ways with Interpeace’s approach. “The work that Interpeace does is important because it engages with communities, promotes dialogue and does not come with preconceived solutions or answers. Interpeace finds a way to connect with communities on the ground during the peacebuilding process. This is important since many organizations tend to routinely deal with the same high-level actors.”
Reinforcing the need to engage a diverse range of actors
Mr. Doss went on to further explain the complexities of the peacebuilding process and how a more inclusive approach is necessary to establish sustainable peace. “Conflicts are never solved by one single answer. Peace is a puzzle, a puzzle with multiple components. I like the original thinking Interpeace brings in dealing with all sorts of actors who are perhaps important but left out at times. Interpeace finds a way to connect these actors in the peacebuilding process and that is important.”
Mr. Doss on the meaning of peace
Before we concluded our interview with Mr. Doss, he briefly explained what peace means to him. “You have to think about peace in terms of individuals and people, not just as a concept. During a disarmament programme in Sierra Leone, I spoke with a young girl who was carrying her child and had been a victim of the recent violence. She was only about thirteen or fourteen years old, and I still think about it often. If we can build a better future for her and her child, then that is what peace means to me.”
Mr. Doss was officially accepted to the board during the recent Interpeace Governing Council meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. Interpeace welcomes Mr. Doss and looks forward to his contributions to our global peacebuilding initiatives.