University for Peace Community Liason Group

- a concerned citizens initiative -

(Our group is independent of and has no formal approval from the University for Peace)

 


(our proposed university letterhead)
University for Peace

The United Nations-mandated Graduate School of International Service

liberty . equality . justice


 

This website is dedicated toward helping address long-standing management issues at the United Nations' University for Peace, and helping lead it toward higher standards of integrity and performance.  Here, you may read our Mission Statement, our Suggested Actions, our personal experience, and learn how you may get involved.

Please note that, prior to deciding to create this website or air any of these matters in a public form, over six months passed; during which period senior University administrators refused to discuss, in any manner, with any of our group's four founders (including Bill White) any of the matters raised on this website, in any form or venue.  It was only after this disappointing experience, and with the encouragement of many concerned community members; that the decision was made, reluctantly, to create this forum.

A recent item re: University for Peace Council President Maurice Strong has just been added, from the October, 2005 issue of the RFPI newsletter.  This cites Strong's recent forced resignation from the UN system, in his final role there  (involving negotiations with North Korea), due to financial conflicts of interest.  This is just the latest in a decades-long history of questionable ethics and financial dealings involving Maurice Strong, which our research has recovered.

 

 

group successes to date...

  • Paramilitary training, begun during the Summer of 2003, under a four-year contract, has been cancelled.  This training, initiated by the current administration, in our view; seriously threatened the unique status, reputation and global potential of UPeace. Our group placed pressure, through the UPeace Council, to review these programs.
  • Since our group began writing to University stakeholders re: management problems, key personnel changes have been announced.
  • The June, 2004 meeting of the UPeace Council saw agreement upon new and much-needed Quality Control measures for all academic programming; improved management controls, and the new policy of publicize Council deliberations.  All this marks real improvement re: increased institutional accountablility and transparency, which our group has advocated.
  • Senior management at UPeace is evincing a more open and tolerant spirit toward constructive criticism and the need for institutional improvements, yet much remains to be done.  There is still concern of back-tracking once scrutiny is relieved; of installing lucrative paramilitary training at the new Toronto campus, of leaving new transparancy and accountability measures half-done, and refusing to address serious issues raised on this website.  We believe in the higher potential of the University for Peace, and believe our efforts of constructive criticism have helped to propel it toward its best desiny. 
 

proposed actions (click here for full list)...

  • Publish to the University's website, on a regular basis: a) planning documents, including institutional goals, program objectives and status reports; b) minutes of UPeace Executive Council and Council meetings; c) the University's audited financial statements.
  • Hold meetings, open to the public, at least on a quarterly basis - at all UPeace campuses - wherein senior management will update the public regarding University plans and entertain questions, thus ending the community isolation that has long characterized the University.
  • Insure that the leadership of the UPeace Council and the University's top management are comprised of individuals whose management style is cooperative, whose backgrounds are free of ethical concerns, and who have appropriate skills.
  • Investigate issues raised via materials posted to this website and find mutually-agreeable solution to key matters, thus honoring the spirit of the University's Charter, as well as respect for principles of decency, honesty and integrity.
  • Publish to the UPeace website a signed letter indicating: a) that management recognizes that our world is already full of military, police and "intelligence" academies, and that the University for Peace was not meant to become another one of them; b) management agrees that the ingress of any proposed new paramilitary training - like the last instance, which saw the controversial shut-down of an allied radio station and much community protest and concern - must be accompanied by increased transparency, scrutiny and oversight, to protect the University's reputation and potential; c) that management recognizes that the UPeace Charter was meant to foster creative alternatives to the further militarization of our planet and to "peace via greater security" models (versus "peace via greater justice").  We hope that an accompanying statement will affirm a new institutional committment to pro-actively advocate conditions necessary for global peace, in line with the founding documents and developing priorities of the UN system.  We believe that the University was intended, by its Charter, to help foster creative solutions to international problems, resulting in higher levels of international justice and inter-cultural understanding, greater respect for human rights and the environment, and the ongoing conversion of global military expenditures toward more constructive ends. Please see the following links for background, related to these recommendations: UPeace paramilitary training contractUS Southern Command Latin America plans, RFPI TicoTimes articles, JW-RFPI correspondence, Letter to University Founders.
 
         


 

Read about our Founders and their Disturbing UPeace Experiences...

 


 

James Latham

James is the Founder and Director of Radio for Peace International. RFPI has been one of the most respected, long-established, progressive radio stations in the world; carrying a variety of programming compatible with the expressed Mission Statement of the University for Peace. Along with their original programming, for many years, RFPI has rebroadcast Pacifica Radio and UN Radio programs on shortwave, throughout the Americas.

In 2003, after sixteen years occupancy on the UPeace campus in Costa Rica, in buildings built via the contributions of their own listeners, RFPI was evicted by the University for Peace administration. Despite an agreement formally granting RFPI permission to build on University grounds, and an agreement providing for reimbursement if ever asked to leave, University administrators refused to offer RFPI any compensation whatsoever for lost facilities, effectively taking them off the air (RFPI is today available only over the internet).

Our group believes that there was some linkage between the RFPI eviction and the recent ingress of new police and paramilitary training at the University (ie: "Human Security").

Here, you may view the semi-dormant RFPI website, the website of the RFPI-related Institute for Progressive Communications and the Save RFPI website (established in a futile attempt to keep RFPI in their facilities).

You may read the transcript of an interview with Amy Goodman, given by James, which aired on her popular US-based radio program, Democracy Now.

A lawsuit, aimed at gaining compensation for lost facilities and drawing attention to the confiscation of RFPI's property, is presently working its way through the courts; however, the issue is complicated by the fact that the UPeace campus is on UN, not Costa Rican soil.

Related items you can read include two excellent articles written by RFPI's former Program Director, Naomi Fowler, which were published by the Costa Rican weekly, the Tico Times. Also, an interesting article written by a freelance journalist regarding the RFPI eviction, which was published by several European newspapers.

The new UPeace "Human Security" programming, which the University has represented as eminating exclusively from UN and European sources, disturbingly, highly resembles the controversial ILEA (International Law Enforcement Academy) proposal recently rejected by the governments of Panama and Costa Rica, and also closely follows along the lines of known priorities for the US Southern Command. You may read a disturbing article on these topics, recently published by the SF Chronicle, as well as a related, 2003 press release from the UPeace website. 
 

James Wallerstedt

James gave up an established career as a technology consultant to return to graduate school in 1995, and gain a masters degree in International Affairs from the University of California's School of Global Policy and Strategy.

Inspired to help the UN system and by the exciting nature of the University for Peace Charter, James relocated to Costa Rica in late 2002, after having met University for Peace Co-founder, Robert Muller, at the Institute for Peace and Justice in San Diego.

James volunteered at UPeace during 2002 and 2003, assisting the University with its new online degree programs and this role converted into a full-time staff position. However, James lost his job at UPeace after networking with others about a property scandal in the community involving top UPeace administrators (see this page for details) and for contacting former Costa Rican President, Rodrigo Carazo, to discuss the University's controversial new "paramilitary training program. The Costa Rican Asamblea Nacional (Congress) ultimately passed legislation banning this program from Costa Rican territory.

James was subsequently barred from entering the UPeace campus and his employment contract terminated, rather ironic for an institution meant to teach the rest of the world "tolerance," "peaceful co-existence," and "conflict resolution skills" on behalf of the UN system.

Here, you may read James' letter to the UPeace Council on these topics. James corresponded frequently with RFPI's former Program Director, Naomi Fowler regarding the linkage between RFPI's unceremonious (and unlawful) eviction from the UPeace campus and the ingress of this paramilitary and "security training". Here, you may read a followup letter James sent to several "Friends of the University" (Nov. 2003).

In April of 2004, James sent a letter regarding unresolved issues to both of the University's co-Founders; former UN Assistant Secretary-General, Robert Muller, and former Costa Rican President, Rodrigo Carazo. A critical message regarding the University's new paramilitary programming was sent to University Rector Martin Lees in May of 2004, following silence by University leadership on related concerns. You may read the last of his letters sent here.

No replies were ever received to these communications, nor to communications by RFPI nor former Costa Rican President and UPeace co-founder,Sr. Rodrigo Carazo. This led to the decision by our UPCLG founders to create this website as a public service. Subsequent UPCLG interviews were arranged and published by the two main Costa Rican newspapers, La Nacion (Spanish) and Tico Times (English). These actions resulted in the quiet termination of the UPeace paramilitary program in 2005, just one year into its planned initial four-year contract.

Don Snedeker

Don recently served as "Special Advisor for Marketing" at the University for Peace, (2002-2003).

He has been a resident of Costa Rica for over eighteen years, with more than a decade of experience working within the university environment in Latin America, both as an instructor and as an educational administrator. Don holds both an MBA and a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree.

He was deeply attached to the University for Peace Mission Statement and to his work at UPeace, where he had hoped to work for many years to come. While at UPeace, Don had the pleasure of sharing office space with University Co-founder and former UN Assistant Secretary- General, Robert Muller.

However, upon being dismissed after a year-and-a-half of dedicated service, Don was so disappointed by what he'd witnessed - and so frustrated by the difference between the status quo and what he felt UPeace could become - that he, on a voluntary basis, developed a detailed report, critical of management practice, and proposing program improvements.  This report was later sent to the University for Peace Council.

Today, Don serves as Chief Correspondent and coordinator for the monthly magazine of the US-Costa Rica Chamber of Commerce.

Along with an enthusiastic local group of professional educators and volunteers, Don is also helping to take forward the possibility of providing a new "peace education" component for all children enrolled in Costa Rican public schools; with the hope that this program may eventually serve as a model for the public education systems of other nations...

In his new job as a correspondent for "AmCham," Don recently conducted an interview with former President Oscar Arias, recipient of the Nobel Prize; and has also recently written about his group's peace education initiatives.

Don is currently focussing his writing and reporting on themes regarding Corporate Social Responsibility, sustainable development and free trade initiative agreements - in Costa Rica and the Americas.

 

 

 

home . mission statement . get involved