Dear Ms. Davis,
Your e-mail message of October 3rd, 2007 has just caught up to me in
where I now
spend most of my time.
As you will know, I am no longer a member of the Council of Upeace and
have not been able to be
active in its affairs for the past year or so when my activities have
been severely limited due to
illness. Accordingly I am not familiar with the circumstances of the
recent change that has
occurred in the role and status of Professor Ronnie de Camino Delozo.
However, I can say that
during my own early period as Rector and then as President of the
Council of Upeace, I developed a
very high regard for Professor de Camino, his personal and professional
qualities and his
important contributions to the academic programs of Upeace. Indeed he
was one of the most
consistent and effective contributors to maintaining the very limited
academic program of Upeace
during its most difficult time and to the transition that made possible
its impressive progress
While I have not been able to discuss this matter with them, I am sure
that the new leadership of
Upeace will give the views and proposals in your message full and
Transparency and accountability are extremely important in maintaining
the relationship of trust
and mutual interest that must exist between management, faculty and
students, although there can
always be legitimate differences as to how this can best be achieved.
While I can no longer be involved in this process, I have every
confidence that it will produce a
solution that will help to ensure the continued progress of Upeace
during this challenging period
that will be so critical to its future.
With my very best wishes.
Maurice Strong's Office ( )
Tel: 86-10-8532-3379, 8532-3375 , Fax: 86-10-6532-5540
2-16-1, Tayuan Diplomatic Office Building, Chaoyang District,
Friday, October 26, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Copy of the cover letter:
University for Peace
P.O. Box 138-6100
October 3, 2007
Sub: Petition for Transparency and Accountability at the University for Peace
Greetings. As you may be aware, members of the University for Peace (UPEACE) student and alumni community have initiated an open petition to request the UPEACE administration and the UPEACE Council Members to take certain actions towards ensuring transparency and accountability in all workings of UPEACE.
We request your attention to our petition, attached herewith, which has been signed by 273 signatories, including 167 members of the UPEACE faculty, staff, students and alumni community.
Please also find attached testimonials written by UPEACE faculty, staff, students and alumni signifying their personal and professional experiences with Prof. (Dr.) Ronnie de Camino Velozo. We believe that the loss of Prof. de Camino's full-time or resident faculty status at UPEACE shall greatly impact the quality and integrity of UPEACE programmes.
We hope that you will find our requested actions to be in the spirit of peaceful, open and accountable participation of all UPEACE members in the development of UPEACE, and shall call for an open meeting to discuss these actions, inviting the participation of representatives of faculty, staff, field personnel, students and alumni.
Signatories of the Petition for Transparency and Accountability at UPEACE
Response from Mr. John Maresca, UPEACE Rector:
I acknowledge receipt of the documents you sent me with your e-mail message of October 2, 2007.
I will study these documents carefully, and will give the ideas and suggestions they contain full
With best regards, John Maresca
Response from Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, Vice-Chair of the UPEACE Council and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General:
Dear Rebecca Davis,
I am glad to acknowledge receipt of your message and I
will give it my full attention as requested. Transparency
and accoutability are absolutely essential indeed.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
We, the undersigned, request the Council Members and Management of the University for Peace (UPEACE) take the following immediate actions with regard to transparency and accountability of decision-making processes at UPEACE:
1. Institute a task force composed of elected representatives from faculty, staff, students, alumni, administration, field personnel, and members of the University Council and the International Academic Council, to urgently investigate the reasons for and the impacts of the decided cost-cutting initiatives, as well as to propose alternative measures that do not require the termination/non-renewal of contracts of faculty members whose contributions are integral to the quality of UPEACE's academic programmes.
2. Make available to all members of UPEACE and its concerned partner institutions a precise report containing the review and proposed measures of the above instituted task force, in a period agreed upon by faculty, staff, students, alumni, field personnel, administration and council members.
3. Create two permanent positions in the University Council: one each for the elected representatives of UPEACE students and alumni.
4. Establish oversight and review mechanisms that are open, accessible, acceptable and permanent, and involve the participation of representatives from faculty, staff, students, alumni, field personnel, administration and council members, to ensure transparency and accountability in all decision making processes regarding academic and non-academic programmes at UPEACE.
We thank the Council Members and the Management of UPEACE for their attention to our requests and expect that these actions will encourage and inspire peace, equity and justice in all workings of UPEACE.
Nosotros, los abajo firmantes, respetuosamente solicitamos a los Miembros del Consejo y a la Administración de la Universidad para la Paz (UPAZ) tomar, con la mayor brevedad posible, las siguientes acciones con respecto a los mecanismos de transparencia y rendición de cuentas de los procesos de toma de decisiones a lo interno de la UPAZ:
1. Constituir una comisión compuesta por representantes electos del cuerpo académico, el personal en general, los egresados, los estudiantes, el personal destacado en el campo así como los miembros del Consejo Universitario y del Consejo Académico Internacional, con el fin de investigar, a la mayor brevedad, las razones y los impactos de las iniciativas que se han decidido en cuanto a reducción de costos, así como proponer medidas alternativas que no requieran la terminación o no-renovación de contratos de miembros del cuerpo académico cuyas contribuciones son fundamentales para la calidad de los programas académicos de la Universidad para la Paz
2. Poner a disposición de todos los miembros de la Universidad para la Paz y de sus instituciones relacionadas un reporte preciso que incluya los resultados de la investigación llevada a cabo por la comisión mencionada en el párrafo anterior con respecto a la revisión de las medidas adoptadas y la propuesta de medidas alternativas. El periodo de tiempo para presentar el reporte debe ser acordado por los representantes del personal académico, el personal en general, los estudiantes, el personal destacado en el campo, la administración y los miembros de los consejos.
3. Crear dos posiciones permanentes en el Consejo Universitario, una que sea ocupada por un representante electo de entre los egresados y otra que sea ocupada por un representante electo a partir del estudiantado de la Universidad para la Paz.
4. Establecer mecanismos de revisión y supervisión que sean abiertos, accesibles, aceptables y permanentes y que involucren la participación de representantes del cuerpo académico, el personal, los estudiantes, los egresados, el personal destacado en el campo, la administración y los miembros del Consejo con el fin de asegurar la transparencia y la rendición de cuentas en todos los procesos de toma de decisiones con respecto a los programas académicos y no académicos de la Universidad para la Paz.
Agradecemos a los Miembros del Consejo y a la Administración de la Universidad para la Paz por la atención brindada a esta solicitud y esperamos que estas acciones promuevan e inspiren paz, equidad y justicia en todo el quehacer de la Universidad para la Paz.
"Will you (Maresca) protect academic freedom, avoiding any attempt by any method to censor the content of courses or what Faculty may say or write in public? Will you refuse to defend
 See Peter Danchin (Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law), “Is the war in Iraq Justified Under International Law?” http://www.monitor.upeace.org/archive.cfm?id_article=16
Peter Danchin was visiting professor in International Law at UPEACE
In July 2007, Prof. Ronnie de Camino Velozo, full-time/resident Professor in the Environment, Security and Peace department at University for Peace, sent out a letter to the UPEACE management, staff, faculty, and field personnel, in response to the cost-cutting decisions announced at UPEACE (see announcement letter below). Among these decisions, was the non-renewal of Prof. Camino's full-time/resident faculty contract. For most UPEACE students and alumni Prof. Camino's letter was the first instance of knowing about the announced cost-cutting decisions at UPEACE; the management had neither consulted/involved the students prior to taking the decisions for termination/change of faculty contracts, nor had it informed the students in a formal manner about these decisions. After one month of wait, during which Prof. Camino received no response to his letter, he sent out another letter to the UPEACE community, dated August 10, 2007.
Until today - August 25, 2007 - the UPEACE management has not made clear what criteria were used or who - among the faculty, staff, students, alumni, field personnel, university partners (such as American University, which is the UPEACE's partner for the Dual Masters NRSD programme) - were involved/consulted for taking these faculty contract termination decisions. The exact (unedited) text of the UPEACE Management's letter, sent out by Dr. Georges Tsai (Ex-Rector), and Prof. Camino's two letters, which explain clearly the nature of events at UPEACE, are available below.
Letter from Dr. Georges Tsai, Ex-Rector, Announcing the Cost-Cutting Decisions (July 2007)
Last week, the financial situation of the University was reviewed by the Council. It was agreed that based on the projected income and planned expenditures for 2007-08, it was necessary to identify cost-cutting measures in order to protect the integrity of our core academic programmes and to maintain operations at both headquarters and regional offices at an acceptable level.
It is never easy to announce cost-cutting initiatives, but this is something organizations, whether publicly or privately supported, have to do from time to time. We have reached the point where we need to reduce our costs in order to protect our ability to continue to offer the high quality programmes our students and other stakeholders are entitled to receive from us.
Regretfully, I have therefore to announce the following measures:
Professor Simon Stander has informed me that he did not wish to renew his contract for next year. His position will remain vacant during at least the next academic year.
Professor Tom Deligiannis has indicated that he wanted, for family reasons, to pursue his career in Canada at the end of the current academic year. His position will also remain vacant for an indeterminate period.
Dr. Ronnie de Camino's current contract will be renewed until the end of October 2007. Effective 1 November 2007, he will continue to be a member of the University under an arrangement that will allow him to teach courses and undertake other activities of interest to him and to UPEACE.
Dr. Anouk Guine's contract will not be renewed for 2007-08. The Gender and Peacebuilding Programme will rely on a combination of courses provided by other Departments and visiting professors to teach the programme. The University will intensify its efforts to seek funding for this programme.
The position of Director, Finance and Personnel, Geneva Office, will be terminated at the end of August and therefore P. Krishnamurthy's current contract will not be renewed. However, he has generously offered to continue to support the Geneva Office on a voluntary basis as Senior Advisor to Ameena Payne, Executive Director of the Office, until the end of March 2008.
Under an agreement soon to be signed with the IUCN, the two organizations will share the services of Narinder Kakar and our New York office will occupy space provided free of charge to UPEACE.
Dr. Tony Karbo, Dr. Aileen Toohey, and Balazs Kovacs will be asked to teach some courses of our regular MA programmes. Some colleagues who were asked to handle additional tasks during the transition period will revert to their previous responsibilities.
The measures identified above will generate a net saving of approximately USD 310,000 in 2007-08, which should increase to USD 390,000 in 2008-09.
In addition the following measures will also be implemented:
Several members of the senior management staff have agreed, on a voluntary basis, to make a loan to the University representing the equivalent of 10% of their monthly remuneration. This arrangement will be reviewed after six months (i.e. in March) to determine whether the loans can be reimbursed. This will produce an infusion of cash of USD 24,000 over the six-month period, which will temporarily ease the usually tight cash-flow position we have at the end of each calendar year.
During at least one year term vacant positions will not be filled and no new positions will be opened. Exceptional cases will be carefully analyzed by the Rector.
No salaries increases associated with cost of living will be considered during the next financial year.
Strict control of the temporary assignments associated with consultant or visiting professor contracts will be implemented.
On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank those of our colleagues who will be leaving us next year for their contribution to our programmes and the proper management of the University. They will be missed and we wish them all the best.
First Letter by Prof. Ronnie de Camino Velozo, dated July 16, 2007
Dear Friends of the Field personnel, staff, Faculty.
Members of Management and Council of the University
You will have received an e-mail from the Vice-Rector and Acting Rector of this University, Mr. Georges Tsai, referring to the cost reduction measures that the University is implementing.
This letter is a response to these measures.
First, it is a new experience for me to be considered personally as a “cost reduction measure” designed to maintain the integrity of the academic programmes. I cannot understand the way that organizations (specially UPEACE) have to go through to justify their cost cutting process, at least not in the same way that is so frequently the case in the private sector. I also cannot understand how it is possible to continue offering high quality programmes in the face of such cuts.
Second, I was informed Monday the 9th of July, by Vice-Rector Tsai, that my contract will not be renewed the 31st August (Afterwards I was told that my contract would be extended until the end of October.). I am really sad that I was informed at such short notice of the non renewal of my contract. I believe that an academic with more than 12 years of services to the University deserves a better treatment. It is possible to argue that with a one year contract the University is fully acting within its rights technically, but the University for Peace especially should treat its faculty, indeed all its employees, with much greater respect and decency.
Third, I was also informed that I could continue teaching my classes at the University on a credit basis as a visiting professor until August 2008 and in the subsequent academic year 2008-2009.
Fourth, I was offered the tile “Distinguished Professor” during the continuation of my teaching duties. This last offer I regard as a joke in bad taste, or even more, a lack of respect. Such a condition does not exist in the University scales and should be granted only as a real distinction and in no case as a consolation prize to someone you are removing from his position.
For me, there is something much more basic in all this issues:
- A minimum of loyalty does incline me to recognize the successful efforts of the management of UPEACE in the revitalization period in bringing it from one MA program with three students to 10 MA programmes with more than 100 students. Though, UPEACE is still a small University by international standards. I applaud the success to which every body involved has contributed.
- But is also evident, that in the last three years, the efforts to overcome the financial difficulties have failed. More important than the creation of new programmes and activities, it is necessary to consolidate financially the existing programs.
- It is difficult to maintain the high standards demanded by the graduate programmes with a faculty that has no guarantee of a stable career or of increasing the visiting faculty. The University must have a minimum of resident faculty to keep quality standards. Programmes need to be solid, based on faculty that is doing research, and that acts in the name of the University in the Academic community. The promise of costs reduction this year that will be increased during next year is not the solution that the University requires.
- The Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit has a key criterion by which to measure the decent society: “ it is the one in which institutions do not humiliate the people”. I have brought this concept to my colleagues and students. I feel that the University has, by treating me and other colleagues the way they have, have failed to follow this all important principle.
I am not asking for a reconsideration of my situation. I am prepared to accept a contract until the end of October and will continue teaching as a visiting professor until August 2008, because as any human being, I have personal obligations and dependants like any other, and I have to continue with my day to day life. I would have expected at least an early warning from management since the evaluation of my classes and the evaluation of my Head of Department this year was particularly high. I would have never expected that I would be shot by a firing squad in the last academic position of my career.
Prof. Ronnie de Camino Velozo
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Estimados amigos del personal de campo, del staff, del cuerpo docente de la Universidad-.
Srs. de la gerencia y del Consejo Directivo de la Universidad.,
Uds. recibieron un correo del Vicerrector y Rector en ejercicio Sr. Gorges Tsai sobre medidas de reducción de costo.
Quiero tomar posición sobre el mencionado documento.
Primero es una nueva sensación ser personalmente considerado como una “ medida de reducción de costos” para mantener la integridad de los programas académicos de la Universidad. No entiendo eso de que las organizaciones deban hacer cortes de costos de tiempo en tiempo, por lo menos no lo entiendo en el sentido que lo pueda entender una empresa privada. Tampoco lo entiendo en relación a la posibilidad de seguir ofreciendo programas de alta calidad.
Segundo, se me aviso el día Lunes 9 de Julio, por parte del Vicerrector Georges Tsai, que mi contrato no sería renovado después del 31 de Agosto( posteriormente se me ofreció la extensión hasta fines de Octubre). Lamento realmente que se me hubiera avisado con tan poco tiempo esa no renovación. Creo que a un funcionario que ha servido por más de 12 años a esta Universidad, por simple respeto, se me debería haber avisado con más tiempo. Se puede argumentar que con contratos de 1 año, no hay obligaciones mayores para la Universidad. Pero una Universidad para la Paz debe tener un comportamiento más respetuoso para con su personal.
Adicionalmente se me comunicó, que podría seguir haciendo mis clases en base a la tarifa de los profesores visitantes hasta Agosto del 2008 y eventualmente durante el año académico 2008- 2009.
También se me ofreció la Condición de Profesor Distinguido en la continuación de mis labores. Esto último es algo así como una broma de mal gusto, o más aún, una falta de respeto. Tal condición no existe en el escalafón de la Universidad y debería ser otorgada por servicios distinguidos y en ningún caso como un premio de consuelo a quién se está sacando de su puesto.
Para mi hay algo mucho más básico en todo este asunto:
- Es de mínima nobleza reconocer los esfuerzos hechos durante la revitalización de la Universidad, de crecer desde un solo programa de Maestría con 3 alumnos hasta una Universidad pequeña con 8 programas de Maestría y más de cien alumnos. Todos lo reconocemos y aplaudimos
- Sin embargo, es evidente que desde hace casi tres años, los esfuerzos por superar las dificultades financieras de la Universidad han fracasado. Más que la creación de nuevos programas y actividades, lo que requiere la Universidad es la consolidación de lo existente.
- Es muy difícil mantener estándares altos de educación de postgrado con profesores que no tienen garantía de poder tener una carrera medianamente garantizada e incrementando la proporción de profesores visitantes. La Universidad debe tener un mínimo de facultad residente para mantener estándares de calidad. Los programas deben ser sólidos, basados en personal académico que investiga y que actúa en su medio académico. La promesa de reducción de costos este año y llevar más allá esto en años siguientes, no es la solución que esta Universidad requiere.
- Aprendí del filósofo israelita Avishai Margalit sobre lo que es una sociedad decente: aquella en la cuál las instituciones no humillan a las personas. He predicado ese principio a mis colegas y alumnos. Siento que la Universidad en el trato a mi persona y a otros colegas no ha cumplido con la máxima de la sociedad decente.
No estoy pidiendo ninguna reconsideración de mi situación. Estoy aceptando un contrato hasta Octubre y el seguir dictando clases hasta Agosto del 2008, puesto que como todo ser humano, tengo compromisos personales que cumplir y debo continuar con el día a día de mi vida. Habría esperado por lo menos un anuncio temprano de las autoridades, particularmente este año en que tanto mis estudiantes , como ni Jefe de Departamento me calificaron especialmente alto. Habría esperado por lo menos un aviso con más anticipación y no un fusilamiento
Prof. Ronnie de Camino Velozo
Second Letter by Prof. Ronnie de Camino Velozo, dated August 10, 2007
STATEMENT TO THE ADC ( for the records)
By Ronnie de Camino Velozo
1.- I am discontent about the passivity with which the last events at UPEACE have been taken by authorities and faculty. It seems as it were a unwritten commandment:
There is a certain reminiscence with the “ Inconvenient Truth”, there is a label of fatalism and conformism. I am also amazed about the lack of reaction to my hqstaff message referring to my removal. I must recognize that only the new Rector reacted to my communication. Nobody in the Council, non of the Authorities reacted. I also think that the letter of the students should be taken seriously and give the space to discuss the subjects that they are bringing to the table.
2.- I would like to know which were the responsibilities of the Heads of Department about this situation. Where they consulted about the consequences of the “cost cutting measures”¨?, or simply were they informed? Where the decisions taken by the Vicerrectors unilaterally or by the Executive Committee of the Council? Did our authorities informed in advance to our partner institutions (like AU) about this “cost cutting measures”. It looks like we were in the kingdom of the “ unavoidable” and we simply accept, without any fight or discussion , what is considered unavoidable, like the sequence of days and nights, the globalization, the global warming, the financial crisis of UPEACE. We can not do nothing, thus we ignore it.
3.- Does the evaluations of students, the evaluations of the Heads of Departments, the running projects, like books to be published, networks to be coordinated, proposals of funding presented, , played any role in the decision of being a “ Cost Reduction ”? Or is the “cost cutting” measure a way to get read of “trouble makers”? Is a rare coincidence that both Anouk and Myself have publicly expressed our disagreement with the procedures to design the Rector. Simon also represented his discomfort, but resigned before being fired ( I am making the bold prejudice that I believe that he would have been also fired if he would have not resigned) I have been trying to transfer some of my dreams , projects and responsibilities to other dreamers and other organizations that permit their staff to dream, because I do not feel that the right environment exist at UPEACE for many initiatives in which I am involved.
4.- Cost cutting is synonym of failure and of losers ( using the
5.- Do our authorities think that transforming the University in a kind of
6.- Why the academic decisions are taken by the administration and not by Faculty?: the two fellowships for students of the
I am not asking, as I said in a previous communication, for any reconsideration of my situation. I will leave the University in October, and I only will continue with my classes and with the status of Professor, but coming only to teach . I need to gain time to arrange my migration situation. I need time to arrange the human aspects like migration , insurance, search for other opportunities, etc. But I have to go somewhere else, were I am respected as a person, were I can be able to put all my passion, all my energy, without any restriction.
I wish that the indecent behavior of the University never happen again against the dignity of any of my colleagues, that nobody else will be humiliated. Many young colleagues are already looking for other opportunities outside UPEACE. For sure their positions will be not replaced and the UPEACE community will receive the announcement of a new “cost cutting measure”: the replacement of their functions with new “visiting professors”. I remember with this situation, an anecdote about the “cosification of the University”(The University as a merchandise. In the same page of La Nacion were two economic advertisements, one selling a Truck and another selling a University, because education is now like a commodity). The cherry of the cake about the form in which I was treated, and the way our colleagues and other employees of the University could be treated in the future, was pretending that I would accept a designation of “Distinguished Professor”, while at the same time I am fired. It looks very much like granting the “Purple Heart” to the family of the soldier just killed in the battle.
I would like to dream , that this University be one day brave University, the kind of University that wants to change the world, the kind of University that takes positions ( and go out of the lie of being neutral). One of my many dreams is that in the year 2000…. something, Upeace receives the Peace Nobel Prize for being faithful with its mission. But such a Prize means commitment, taking risks, implying activism, the defense of human rights and the defense of nature, with no calculation and no fear to speak a language that is not politically correct( as is the case today).
For me is not the isolated fact that two professors have been dismissed and two others will be not replaced, but the real problem is that there is a lack of participation of students, staff and faculty on the University affairs, a lack of meaningful orientation, a lack of real leadership, a lack of permanent solutions.
Dear faculty peers, is not the moment for being afraid. The Millennium Development Goals speak about the “ freedom from fear”. I would like to provoke you to be free from fear and demand to the authorities and the Council to make a serious and participative analysis of this crisis and try to reach to a joint solution, in which the opinions of Faculty, Staff and Students are taken seriously.
Ronnie de Camino Velozo,
El Rodeo 10. 8. 2007
 My evaluations in the period 2006-2007 have been in 4.38 in ARRSD, 4.40 in the SJES, 4.15 in the Practicum and 4.54 in the Central American Field Trip. I am sure, by the comments of the students to me , that the evaluation of both Simon and Anouk were possibly higher.
 The evaluations that Rolain has made of my performance have been also quite satisfactory
 I finished a Project with WWF , COSUDE and other partners, I also finished another Project with LEAD and 2015 of PNUD
 There are two books in process, one is in the Publisher and the other is finishing the Edition, both of the WWF- COSUDE project
 I am the International coordinator of REDIPASA, the Iberoamerican Network for Research in Payment of Environmental Services, with 160.000 Euros for 4 years ( the project was won competing with many other proposals from Iberoamerica) .
 A Project profile for training in Local Leadership for Sustainable Development was presented to JICA.
 In addition I was granted the Merit Medal to Natural Resources by CATIE, I was named member of the Communications and Education Committee of IUCN and I was named in the Scientific Committee of the French Journal Bois et Forets des Tropiques ( is the third Journal in which I am in the Editorial Committee). I am also bringing every year students from the
 In the DEPS Department Carlos García was not replaced, Tom Deliginnis and Ronnie de Camino will be not replaced, weakening the Department because of the financial situation. In Gender, the only full time resident professor was Anouk Giunee, and she will not be replaced.
Article of Dr. Anouk Guiné in La Nación, dated August 20, 2007
More Conflicts at UPEACE
Questions regarding the new Rector of UPEACE and ties with Maurice Strong
By Anouk Guiné, French, Ph. D., dismissed professor (non-renewal of contract) of the Gender and Peace Building Programme at UPEACE
The recent appointment of Mr. John Maresca as Rector of the University for Peace (UPEACE) has been questioned by some of the university’s professors, students, alumni, administrative and technical personnel, as well as members of the international community and mass media. The reason? A past filled with actions incongruent with a university entrusted with disseminating knowledge on peace and social justice.
Let us see: Mr. Maresca is tied to multinational corporations plagued with a dark history of violation of human rights that, nevertheless, are generally and unfortunately legitimized by the United Nations. This past is in direct conflict with the mission of UPEACE. For example, as Dr. Levine explains clearly in "A dissenting voice: Part II. Chronic stress in the system" (Journal of Genocide Research, 2004), Mr. Maresca worked during the 1990s decade for U.S. geo-strategic objectives that were aimed at the control of oil resources by the largest North American companies in Central Asia. And we already know what happened in those regions then. There is more. Since 1999, the Business Humanitarian Forum (BHF), an institution directed by Mr. Maresca in Geneva, has in its board of advisors members that have also repeatedly violated the international norms of human rights. How can there be no reaction when, in his first meeting with UPEACE personnel, Mr. Maresca celebrated the sales figures of the Wal-Mart Company (U.S.) as an example of his faith in the private sector? Anyone who knows the overbearing manner in which Wal-Mart has always exploited its employees would not find this a cause for celebration.
Until when shall UPEACE continue to be managed by the followers of Maurice Strong (the Ex-Rector of UPEACE, and Ex-President of the Earth Council and the Council of UPEACE) and of his employee Mr. Krishnamurthy Panchapakesan (the financial and human resources advisor in both organizations)? They are the ones who sold the lands donated by the Costa Rican government to the Earth Council.
Loss. This policy of disrespect for the most elementary human rights has established its beach-head at UPEACE. A process of dismissal of resident faculty has begun in July 2007. By some strange coincidence, the professors – such as Dr. Ronnie de Camino Velozo (Chile) - who most actively questioned the appointment of Mr. Maresca, were dismissed. Besides, how is it explained that Spanish-speaking professors were dismissed just when the Government of Costa Rica managed to persuade UPEACE to focus in the future on Latin American programmes in Spanish? UPEACE did not calculate the very high costs that these dismissals imply: loss of academic quality; loss of its image before the traditional allies of UPEACE; loss of image before the main academic partner of UPEACE: American University; loss of credibility with its donors… and this list is long.
The programme of Gender and Peace Building at UPEACE is now seriously affected. The university dismissed the only resident woman professor that this programme had. Let us look chronologically at additional facts that should worry us. In 2001, the United Nations expressed its hope that UPEACE shall take "the leadership in the integration of Gender Studies at the global level". Was this fulfilled? In 2003, thanks to the report "International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010", the members of the General Assembly were told that "the subjects related to gender are central to the objectives of UPEACE and are integrated in all the programmes of UPEACE".
This is not the case. Today, contrary to what is said in the official discourse of UPEACE, the gender perspective is not integrated in its programmes in a systematic way. Nevertheless, a few months ago, the Ex-Rector, i.e. G. Tsai announced informally that the Gender Programme "could disappear" and be replaced by a policy of ‘gender mainstreaming’ in the other programmes. We already know that this will not occur because of the lack of political will. It is painful to think that this is happening in an entity that supposedly defends social justice, democracy, transparency, protection of the environment, education for peace, freedom and academic excellence.
The question is: how to reconcile the respect for human rights in a university whose institutional culture is becoming more like that of a private company that has no qualms in dispensing its own personnel by ‘firing squad’ whenever its feels necessary, and like that of an organization with a secret agenda and a discourse of double standards? The university’s students and alumni have initiated a petition on these issues, which can be accessed online at:
Let us hope that Dr Sanguinetti, former President of Uruguay, member of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, and the present Chair of the UPEACE Council, will be able to heal and consolidate this institution - an institution that we want to believe in and want to strengthen.
Articulo de Dr. Anouk Guiné in La Nación (the original article in Spanish)
Más conflictos en la UPAZ
Cuestionamientos sobre nuevo rector de la UPAZ y vínculos con Maurice Strong
Anouk Guiné. Francesa, Ph. D., profesora despedida del Programa de Género y Construcción de la Paz
El reciente nombramiento de John Maresca como rector de la Universidad para la Paz (UPAZ) ha sido cuestionado por algunos profesores, estudiantes, exestudiantes, parte del personal administrativo y técnico, la comunidad internacional y algunos medios de comunicación. ¿La razón? Un pasado lleno de gestos y actos no congruentes con una universidad destinada a impartir conocimientos sobre la paz y la justicia social.
Veamos: El señor Maresca está ligado a corporaciones multinacionales plagadas con oscuros antecedentes de violación de derechos humanos que, sin embargo, son generalmente legitimadas –es lamentable decirlo– por Naciones Unidas. Esto colisiona con la misión de la UPAZ. Por ejemplo, como mostró el doctor Levine en “A dissenting voice: Part II. Chronic stress in the system” (Journal of Genocide Research , 2004), el señor Maresca trabajó en la década de 1990 para los objetivos geoestratégicos de EE. UU. dirigidos a un control del petróleo por las más grandes empresas norteamericanas en Asia Central. Y ya sabemos qué ocurrió en esas regiones entonces.
Hay más. Desde 1999, Business Humanitarian Forum, institución dirigida por el señor Maresca, tiene en su consejo de asesores a miembros que también violaron reiteradamente normas internacionales de derechos humanos. ¿Cómo no reaccionar cuando, en su primera reunión con el personal de la UPAZ, el señor Maresca celebró el volumen de negocios de la empresa Wal Mart como ejemplo de su fe en el sector privado? Quien conoce la manera prepotente con que Wal Mart explota desde siempre a sus empleados no lo celebraría de esa manera.
¿Hasta cuando la UPAZ seguirá siendo manejada por los seguidores de Maurice Strong (exrector de la UPAZ, expresidente del Consejo de la Tierra y del Consejo de la UPAZ) y de su empleado Krishnamurthy Panchapakesan (consejero financiero y de recursos humanos en ambas organizaciones)? Son quienes vendieron los terrenos del Estado costarricense que fueron donados al Consejo de la Tierra.
Pérdida. Esta política de irrespeto a los más elementales derechos humanos ha sentado ya su cabeza de playa en la UPAZ. Se ha iniciado un proceso de despido de personal docente. Extraña coincidencia: se despide a los profesores –entre los cuales el doctor Ronnie de Camino Velozo (Chile)– que más activamente cuestionaron el nombramiento del señor Maresca. ¿Cómo explicar también los despidos de profesores que son hispanohablantes, justo cuando el Gobierno de Costa Rica logró que se elaboren en el futuro programas latinoamericanos en español? La UPAZ no calculó el altísimo costo que los despidos implican: Pérdida de calidad académica, pérdida de imagen ante aliados tradicionales de la UPAZ; pérdida de imagen ante el principal socio académico de la UPAZ: American University; pérdida de credibilidad con los donantes... y así la lista es larga.
El Programa de Género y Construcción de la Paz está ahora gravemente afectado. Se despidió a la única profesora residente que tenía. Hagamos una relación cronológica de hechos adicionales que nos debe preocupar. En el 2001, las NU esperaban que la UPAZ tomara “el liderato en integración de los estudios de género a nivel mundial”. ¿Se cumplió? En el 2003, gracias al informe “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010”, se comunicó a los miembros de la Asamblea General que “los asuntos relacionados con el género son centrales a los objetivos de la UPAZ y son integrados en todos los programas de la UPAZ”.
No está. Hoy, contrariamente a lo que se dice en el discurso oficial de la UPAZ, la perspectiva de género no está integrada a los programas de manera sistemática. Sin embargo, hace unos meses, el exrector a. í. Tsai anunció informalmente que el Programa de Género “podría desaparecer” y ser remplazado por una política de gender mainstreaming en los otros programas. Ya sabemos que esto no ocurrirá por falta de voluntad política.
Cuesta pensar que esto ocurra en un ente que defiende, se supone, justicia social, democracia, transparencia, protección del ambiente, educación para la paz, libertad y excelencia académica.
La pregunta es: ¿cómo reconciliar el respeto por los derechos humanos en una universidad cuya cultura institucional es cada vez más la de una empresa privada, que no duda en fusilar a su personal cuando lo cree necesario, y la de una organización con una agenda oculta y un doble discurso? Véase sobre este asunto la petición de los estudiantes:
Esperemos que el Dr. Sanguinetti, expresidente de Uruguay, miembro de la Comisión Mundial sobre la Dimensión Social de la Globalización y actual presidente del Consejo de la UPAZ, sepa sanar y consolidar esta institución, en la que queremos creer y que queremos fortalecer.
Article by Anouk Guine in La Tribuna Democratica, dated August 04, 2007
Nueva crisis en la Universidad para la Paz
Columnista huésped | Agosto 04, 2007 | 796 palabras
Por Anouk Guine, profesora, Programa de Genero y Construcción de la Paz, UPAZ
Dos profesores de la Universidad para la Paz no vieron su contrato de trabajo renovado para el año entrante, según anunció el Rector ad ínterin Tsai, el 9 de julio. Además, otro profesor renunció. Ninguno de ellos será reemplazado, incluido un cuarto profesor que deja el país por motivos personales. La decisión, de despedir por un lado, y de no sustituir el 25% de los docentes por otro, fue condicionada por la difícil “situación financiera” que enfrenta la Universidad. Por una extraña coincidencia, los primeros tres profesores fueron los que más activamente cuestionaron el reciente nombramiento del Sr. Maresca. No se dio ninguna explicación de los despidos desde el punto de vista de sus implicaciones académicas, ni se dieron explicaciones satisfactorias a estos profesores en particular. ¿Cómo explicar también los despidos de profesores que son hispanohablantes (lo cual rara vez es el caso en la UPAZ), justo cuando el Gobierno de Costa Rica logró que se elaboren en el futuro programas latinoamericanos en español? Ruth Dreyfuss hizo mención particular a este tema en su discurso durante la graduación, como uno de los principales cambios que se está emprendiendo en la UPAZ. Con su inesperada “estrategia”, la dirección de la Universidad logró reforzar el nivel jerárquico superior (directores de departamento, director de programas académicos, vice rector y rector), a expensas del nivel docente. Esta nueva composición afectará la calidad académica de la universidad, debilitando al mismo tiempo sus programas. Despedir y no sustituir los profesores es más incomprensible cuando el próximo mes de agosto, se esperan más estudiantes que nunca en el campus. Eso significará, además de los problemas ya expuestos, más carga laboral para los profesores que se quedan, un área de investigación debilitada, ninguna posibilidad de aumento salarial y ninguna garantía de un empleo estable.
El Programa de Género gravemente afectado
Como resultado de esta situación, el Programa de Género y Construcción de la Paz (www.upeace.org/academic/masters/GPB.cfm) se queda sin profesora residente, dejando a los estudiantes sin guía académica, y debilitando a su vez el programa. Preciso que era el único programa de la UPAZ con una sola profesora residente. A pesar del mandato que tiene la UPAZ de comprometerse en este campo, los estudios de género no parecen ser una prioridad para esta universidad. En el 2001, después de reunirse con el Consejo Académico de la UPAZ en Nueva York, K. Annan declaró que esperaba que la UPAZ tomara el liderato en integración de los estudios de género a nivel mundial. En el 2003, K. Annan transmitió a los miembros de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas, el informe de la UNESCO “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010” (Ver: http://www3.unesco.org/iycp/kits/Resolutions%20UN/A_58_182.pdf). El documento dice que “los asuntos relacionados con el género son centrales a los objetivos de la UPAZ y son integrados en todos los programas de la UPAZ”. Hoy día, la perspectiva de género no es central a los objetivos de la universidad, y no está integrada a los programas de manera sistemática. Sin embargo, hace unos meses, el Rector a.i. Tsai anunció informalmente que el Programa de Género podría desaparecer y ser remplazado por una política de “gender mainstreaming” a través de una especialización de género que se ofrecería en los otros programas. Me parece un grave error ya que de ser así, se elimina toda posibilidad de formar a verdaderos especialistas de género. Hoy día y más que nunca, hay una necesidad urgente de salvar este programa y de dotarlo de profesores residentes que tengan la capacidad y la determinación de poner la perspectiva de género al centro de la misión de la UPAZ.
Cuesta pensar que esto pueda ocurrir en una universidad que se dice “de la Paz”, y que defiende, se supone, los derechos humanos, la democracia, el respeto mutuo, la diversidad, la educación para la paz y la libertad académica. La pregunta es cómo se logra reconciliar el respeto por los derechos humanos en una Universidad cuya cultura institucional es cada vez más la de una empresa privada que no duda, cuando lo cree necesario, en fusilar a su personal. Al tener la idea de crear esta Universidad en 1980, don Rodrigo Carazo no sospechaba que algún día se llegaría a denunciar, tanto de parte de profesores como de estudiantes y exalumnos, la manera en que esta institución maneja su misión de paz intra y extra muros. Esperemos que el Dr. Julio Maria Sanguinetti, expresidente de Uruguay, miembro de la Comisión Mundial sobre la Dimensión Social de la Globalización, y próximo Presidente del Consejo de la UPAZ, sepa sanar y consolidar esta institución en la cual queremos creer. Petición de los estudiantes:
Columnista huésped | Agosto 04, 2007
Below are also the responses of Mr. William F. Martin, President of the UPEACE Council, and Mr. John Maresca, Rector-Elect of UPEACE, to the Open Letter of Concern from the students.
Open letter of concern to the Council of the University for Peace
Members of the Council
The University for Peace
The undersigned, students of the 2007 class of the University for Peace, are hereby expressing our concerns about the selection of Mr. John J. Maresca as the new Rector of UPEACE.
We would like to clarify that this letter does not reflect a “radical” anti-corporate or anti-United States stance on our part, neither is it meant to discredit Mr. Maresca’s accomplishments in his diplomatic career, nor his views that ethical business practices can contribute to humanitarian causes. Also, our concerns are not expressed with the intent of supporting any particular alternate candidate for the position.
Our concerns are rather directed at Mr. Maresca’s alleged and largely publicized close involvement, throughout his career, with geopolitical and industrial interests that have in the past carried out, and continue presently to undertake, actions that are not in line with the promotion of peace and human rights throughout the world, and particularly in countries in the Global South. His alleged involvement with these interests, as it will be further detailed, may seriously harm UPEACE’s credibility and legitimacy as an "international institution of higher education for peace”, whose mission further calls upon it to “help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations".
We are also concerned about Mr. Maresca’s seeming lack of academic credentials and background in managing an academic institution that would befit the leadership of a higher education institution such as UPEACE in its unique mandate of peace education as “the best tool for achieving this supreme good for humankind”.
Furthermore, we are uneasy about issues of transparency in the selection process, which excluded the participation of adequate faculty and student representation and, according to statements published in Costa Rican media, the justification for the selection was not properly communicated to some members of the UPEACE Council.
Now, we would like to bring to the Council’s attention the specific elements of Mr. Maresca’s background which seem to conflict with UPEACE’s mission:
i. Unocal and geopolitical interests in the Caspian and
Mr. Maresca was Vice President of International Relations of Unocal between 1997 and 1999. In February of 1998, he testified before the U.S. Congress about Unocal’s interest in building a Central Asian oil and gas pipeline across
ii. Unocal and human rights violations in
Mr. Maresca states in his CV that he created a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program at Unocal, became an industry leader in the field, and that he made the company aware of the importance of maintaining a positive record of responsibility. However, Unocal was sued for its alleged complicity with the
Nonetheless, according to the media articles, Unocal’s spokespersons continuously denied that any human rights violations occurred during the construction of the pipeline. The U.S. State Department and Unocal’s own consultants though, it was reported, had acknowledged that the
iii. Membership in the BHF and apparent “bluewashing” by businesses that actively oppose corporate accountability.
As an academic institution with a mandate to promote fundamental social values including positive peace, respect for human rights, environmental justice and gender mainstreaming, UPEACE’s credibility and legitimacy in these fields is essential.
For this reason, it is worrisome that when in 1999 Mr. Maresca first established the Business Humanitarian Forum (BHF), many international human rights and social justice organizations protested against the participation of UN institutions like the UNHCR and UNICEF in the Forum, because they believed their involvement would allow corporations violating or overtly opposing human rights standards to earn a positive image while maintaining their harmful practices (a practice they dubbed ‘bluewashing’). Although those protests were dismissed as “radical” or “isolationist”, today there are indications that the concerns of human rights organizations may have been real. A quick internet search can reveal much about the human rights track record of many BHF member companies.
Another profound cause for concern are news reports that several members of the BHF advisory board have actively campaigned against international standards and mechanisms that can hold business accountable for human rights issues, allegedly claiming that the existence of institutions like the BHF and the Global Compact make those standards unnecessary. A briefing published in 2004 by the UN Observer indicates that the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the US Council for International Business (USCIB) were among the most vocal opponents against the Norms for Business and Human Rights unanimously proposed by a Sub-commission of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Mr. Robin Aram, then Vice President of Shell, is singled out in the briefing as the person leading these efforts. Today, three positions in the BHF Board are held by Mr.
Mr. Thomas Niles, who former president of the USCIB and BHF Boardmember, is also named in a Toronto Star article as a leading opponent of the Alien Torts Claim Act (ATCA), the only U.S. legislation that can hold U.S. companies accountable for their complicity in human rights violations in other countries. Coincidentally, it was under ATCA litigation that Unocal settled to compensate Burmese victims of human rights violations allegedly in relation to the construction of the Yadana pipeline. At the moment, suit is also being brought against Shell, under this legislation for human rights violations in
In view of all the circumstances described above, we feel that UPEACE’s international credibility as the only UN-affiliated institution authorized to issue graduate degrees in Peace and Human Rights may be seriously compromised if Mr. Maresca were to become the head of this institution.
We respect the importance of diversity in education, and recognize that voluntary business approaches are one mechanism worth exploring in the promotion of human rights. However, UPEACE is responsible for maintaining its academic independence and this is unlikely if its foremost academic authority has such strong links to corporate and political interests that seemingly oppose international human rights standards.
For this reason, we ask that the Council to reconsider this matter, in the light of these concerns, and revoke the appointment of Mr. Maresca, in order to undertake the search for a more suitable candidate, who could lead UPEACE to the fulfillment of its mission with the highest levels of academic excellence and international credibility, as well as meet its financial needs.
We also ask that additional measures be undertaken to strengthen the transparency of the selection process, including adequate student and faculty representation, and the establishment of clear standards for the position. These standards should include suitable academic credentials and a strong alignment with the principles of the UN Charter, such as a proven commitment to justice and human rights standards.
We feel fortunate for having had the chance to study at UPEACE, and recognize that with this opportunity comes a profound duty to promote the values and mission of the University. Now, we are speaking up out of care for UPEACE’s mission and concern for the University’s continued legitimacy. We hope that the Council will reconsider its decision in view of these serious concerns and revoke Mr. Maresca’s appointment, in order to select a candidate who can best serve the University’s needs and its mandate.
Signatories (to the full contents of the letter)
Sergio Guillen, Francesca Dall’Acqua, Tanya Roberts-Davies, Jennifer Scharf , Shreya Jani, Karen Huggins, Anat Nir, Cecilia Sbernini, Brigit Glustein, Kimberly Rafuse, Loizos Loukadis, Joakim Daun, Candice O’Grady, Yusuf Alam, Jennifer Ribachonek, Julian Perez, Lauren Herzer, Taina Christiansen, Laila Said, Nora Mahmoud, Katherine Braggs, Joshua Cerretti, Marcel Fomotar, Bassey Archibong, Viviana Mourra, Sean Khalepari, Maryam d’Hellencourt
Signatories (with comments/reservations)
Signature: Mary E. Lind
Comments/Reservations: I endorse the Open Letter of Concern to the UPEACE Council and only take exception to one element: the appeal for the revoking of the appointment of Mr. Maresca. While I share all of the concerns detailed in the letter, I want to hear the perspectives of council members who made the appointment and reflect further on the complex set of interests and issues before standing behind such a request. In every other way I support and endorse the letter of concern.
Signature: Katharina Felgenhauer
Comments/Reservations: Acknowledging that UPEACE might possibly benefit from Mr. Maresca's longstanding experience, I refrain from asking the council to rescind his appointment immediately. Instead, I would like to urge the council to thoroughly clarify how the concerns addressed in this letter will be mitigated, given the representative and highly symbolic role Mr. Maresca would assume as rector of our university. I strongly request the council to decisively increase the level of transparency of their reasoning and decision-making processes.
Signature: Catalina Vaughan
Comments/Reservations: I fully endorse the letter, and before asking the Council to revoke a decision, I do want to hear the process and the real reasons or electing this candidate. If this is not expressed with weight, I also ask the revoking to occur.
Signature: Menadro Abanes
Comments/Reservations: I endorse the letter, however I am a bit uneasy about the defensive stance of the letter as “ ‘radical’ anti-corporate or anit-United States” I feel that I can take a stand without adopting any "ideological" position on this matter by being an advocate of transparency and accountability of the processes taken and actions done. Second, I am more agreeable to the idea that the Council (selection) will reconsider its appointment. Or it can point out their reasons and rationale of having Mr. Maresca as the best person among the candidates to lead UPEACE.
CC: UPEACE Council Chair-Elect Julio Ma. Sanguinetti
UPEACE Rector-Elect John J. Maresca
UPEACE President Emeritus Rodrigo A. Carazo
Response of Mr. John Maresca, Rector-Elect, to the above Open Letter of Concern
Response of Mr. John Maresca, Rector-Elect, to the above Open Letter of Concern
Dear Signatories of the ‘Open Letter’ dated
I received your ‘open letter’ with some surprise. Most of the issues it cites have not been raised with me previously, in spite of the long discussion I had with the faculty, and my availability for meetings at the campus in June. It might have been useful to ask me about these matters before writing your letter.
I would nonetheless be happy to discuss the issues you have raised with you or your representative when I am back at the campus in August. If you wish to have such a discussion, please contact my Assistant to arrange an appointment.
Response of Mr. William F. Martin, President of the UPEACE Council, to the above Open Letter of Concern
Dear Signatories of the Open Letter of Concern, of 13 July,
I have read your 13 July 2007 letter carefully, and while I take the points you have raised seriously, I believe that your concerns about Mr. Maresca’s election are unfounded. I know that you were all very busy with the final stages of the academic year, including the commencement ceremony, but I wish your concerns would have been mentioned at the time of the Council’s meeting at the campus, when student and faculty representatives where invited to speak to the Council, and when the Council’s members were mingling often and informally with members of the faculty and the student body.
I understand that the new Rector of the University has offered to meet with you or your representatives to discuss the issues you have raised with respect to his background. I think that is a useful and very forthcoming position, and I hope you will meet with him. I think you will find that he is open, friendly and understanding of your concerns.
On the process used for the election of the new Rector, I agree that there is room for improving it. As a matter of fact, the Council adopted at its recent Sixteenth Session a resolution stating that the University will develop a procedure for electing the Rector to be submitted for approval at the next session. However, it is important to stress that Mr. Maresca’s election was in keeping with all existing procedures established by the Rules and Procedures of the Council of the University. Furthermore, the Executive Committee, which had been mandated by the Council to conduct the process, adopted a very rigorous selection process. Nominations and expressions of interest were sought from around the world on the basis of a vacancy announcement that identified four key selection criteria: academic credentials, ability to raise funds, management abilities, and commitment to the goals of the United Nations and the University for Peace; there was a full discussion in the selection committee of each nominee; a short list of the best qualified candidates was agreed by consensus; the short-listed candidates were invited to meet with the selection committee for interviews; there was a full and open discussion in the selection committee of the qualifications of each of the candidates; and this discussion resulted in a unanimous opinion of the selection committee in favor of the candidate who, in the opinion of the Committee, in addition to his worldwide experience, knowledge and professionalism, exceeded all four key criteria referred to above. I believe we have found a dynamic and capable leader for the University who is able to address UPEACE's current priorities and challenges. I hope that, after reflection, you will agree.
William F. Martin,
President of the Council
Students Signatories of the Open Letter of Concern, of 13 July
University for Peace San José, Costa Rica