"Minister Cowen to Establish Academic Fellowship in Memory of late Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh"
Brian Cowen T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs, in an address to the final plenary session of the 3-day Conference on Conflict Prevention held this week in Dublin Castle, announced his intention to establish an academic fellowship dedicated to the memory of late Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh.
Making the announcement, the Minister remarked as follows: "In many ways, the emphasis being placed by the EU on conflict prevention is Anna's legacy to Europe. During her time as President of the Council of EU Foreign Ministers and subsequently, she proved to be a strong advocate of EU engagement in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, as well as a keen supporter of links with NGOs and civil society in this context.
With the agreement of her family and the Swedish authorities, I am happy to announce my intention to establish an academic post graduate-level fellowship here in Ireland to be dedicated to the memory of Anna Lindh and which will focus on the role of the EU in conflict prevention and conflict resolution¡¨.
Minister Cowen also called upon representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations to "make common cause with the EU in preventive engagement against conflict".
Noting that the term "preventive engagement" derives from the recently adopted European Security Strategy, and having been presented with a copy of ¡¥Dublin Action Agenda¡¦ policy recommendations by NGO and civil society representatives, Minister Cowen commented as follows:
"I do not ask that [NGOs] make your principles and objectives subordinate to those of the EU, even though I believe that upon close inspection, there is much common ground between us. I do not expect you always to agree to like everything we do ¡V there will always be a healthy dynamic tension between EU Governments and NGOs. What I do propose is that as stakeholders with shared interest in global peace and stability, you should commence and sustain a dialogue between us."
The final plenary session of the Conference also heard contributions from Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, South African Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Minster Leonardo Simao of Mozambique, Chair-in-Office of the African Union. Panel-led exchanges will take place later this morning under the chairmanship of Mr. Dermot Gallagher, Secretary-General of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The panel will comprise:
- Mr. Danilo Turk, UN Assistant Secretary General - Mr. Paul Van Tongeren, Director, European Centre for Conflict Prevention (Dutch NGO) - Ms. Maria McLoughlin, Director for Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management, DG Relex, European Commission - Mr. Justin Kilcullen, Director, Trocaire (Irish NGO) - Mr. Paul Eavis, Director, Saferworld (UK NGO)
Notes for Editors:
1. The Minister's announcement of an academic fellowship dedicated to the memory of the late Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was made following consultations with the Lindh family and with the Swedish authorities. To be funded out of the Department of Foreign Affairs¡¦ Training Fellowship scheme, it is expected to be offered at Masters degree level in partnership with an Irish academic institution for an initial period of five years. The central aim of the academic fellowship will be to encourage research into and better public knowledge of the role of the EU in conflict prevention and conflict resolution. Further details will be announced shortly.
2. The establishment of the fellowship is also consistent with the status of conflict prevention as a key theme of the Irish EU Presidency, while dedication to the memory of FM Lindh reflects the fact that the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts was adopted in 2001 under the previous Swedish EU Presidency.
3. The final plenary session of the Irish EU Presidency-sponsored Conference is taking place at the Conference Centre at Dublin Castle. Attendance comprises some 200 representatives NGO and civil society representatives as well as officials from Member States and acceding States. During the course of the plenary session, Minister Cowen and his colleagues from South Africa and Mozambique are being presented with copies of the 'Dublin Action Agenda', a policy recommendations paper finalised in discussions over the previous two days by the representatives of NGOs and civil society.
4. Informal conclusions from this Conference will help inform the Irish Presidency¡¦s subsequent report on conflict prevention issues which is due for submission to the June 2004 European Council.