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)




from: RFPI (Naomi Fowler)naomi fowler at former RFPI studio

to: James Wallerstedt

Dear James,

Many thanks for your comments and advice. I hope you can forgive the brief response as we are inundated with enquiries and questions.

Let us assure you that the Upeace Council was corresponded with by RFPI despite the University for Peace' refusal to give us their names or details (you will see from a short search on their web site, these details are not made readily available and, as all know, clarity and accountability are the very last things on their agenda.)

Only one council member responded. No council resolution was ever presented by Upeace to RFPI sanctioning the extreme behaviour by the university towards RFPI despite repeated requests from RFPI's Board of Directors and the negotiating team.

I am afraid that this is not the first time and will not be the last time that Upeace has abused their diplomatic immunity in this way. This should be a straightforward property rights issue. The building was built and maintained by RFPI as a separate and independent entity from Upeace. It belongs to RFPI and their listeners and there is no intention on the part of Upeace to compensate the taking of RFPI's facilities. 

I think those putting pressure on the university should be asking a few pertinent questions about the lucrative training contracts they are brokering to train, among others, Latin American military personnel.

What does that have to do with Peace Education? Is it linked to the attempt to bring ILEA [International Law Enforcement Academy] or School of the Americas programs to Costa Rica? Does this explain the university's sudden hostile actions against RFPI and their apparent desire not only to get RFPI off the campus and away from asking difficult questions, but closed down for good and financially ruined?

There are some serious issues going on at Upaz that the UN is closing its eyes to, as far as we can see, and we are working to try to change that.  

I will ask our operations manager if she can forward you the Council members details. There are various people planning a University for Peace Watch web site where all those with grievances and concerns can post their thoughts and ideas as well as monitor them as an institution.  


Naomi Fowler
Program Director

Radio For Peace International

From: Naomi Fowler

To: James Wallerstedt

Dear James,  

I appreciate very much your insights, which really tie in with RFPI's experiences.  No, I haven't circulated your message except to RFPI people, to help them put together the jigsaw pieces of Upeace management.

I have found in all my dealings with Upeace that they have behaved in an utterly unprincipled way and that Van Haren is one of the worst, absolutely devoid of any sense of ethics or integrity. I have rarely met a person of such hypocrisy and blatant ambition.  

I have to go now, but I would like to try to put together something like a UPeaceWatch web site. I am sure that you, like myself, have little time to spare but let me know what you think. I think having it there will encourage others to come forward and talk too. I KNOW there are a lot more stories out there.  

Let's stay in touch,

From: Naomi Fowler

To: James Wallerstedt

Point taken James,  

but you have to admit, the University is their own worst enemy in all this. If they weren't so closed to public scrutiny there might be the opportunity to confirm whether or not any of the military training might be consistent with their mission statement.  

Again, I ask; why the sudden hostility towards RFPI if they have nothing to hide? Why?

I would like to point out too that according to their web site on the courses I mentioned to you, there were 'experts' from Colombia present. I don't know whether these experts were military people or not, but their program is clearly paramilitary, and I don't have to tell you about the military in Colombia and their appalling human rights violations against their own people.

Constructive engagement is one thing, but a glossing over of serious issues and the possibility that Upeace might be dealing with such people and affording them legitimacy is not consistent in my book with Peace Education. Frankly, I don't think the Colombian military would get involved with Upeace because they want to improve their human rights record. Among other things, they are joined at the hip to the Pentagon.

Anyway, a secretive organization like Upeace, that has repeatedly refused our request for the contact info of the Council Members as well as the supposed Council Resolution agreeing to their outrageous treatment of RFPI, is hiding something. Do you know anything about the Carbon Trading via the virtually defunct Earth Council? What about the African base they are setting up in Ethiopia? I have the five year plan if you are interested in seeing it.

Anyway, let's stay in touch.


From: Naomi Fowler

To: James Wallerstedt


I do agree that we need to be careful about this issue and not make unsubstantiated claims. That's why my article, which I think is appearing in the Tico Times this week, is clearly speculating and giving the University the chance to deny the speculations. It is all about money and lucrative contracts in my view, and I am sure there are alliances with the US government.

The way the UN behaved in relation to what the University did to RFPI was absolutely disgraceful. They 'investigated' via the UNDP Costa Rica office and then said that they couldn't mediate because they would be acting against their own entity and there was a conflict of interest. We then received a three to four line letter from the UN Radio department cancelling a contract we have had with them for 12 years with no explanation whatsoever and no response to the RFPI Board request for an explanation. There were powerful forces operating here.

I know people in the UN were very sympathetic to RFPI, but in the end, they were not the ones making the decisions.

This throws up some very serious questions about what responsibility the UN takes worldwide for the actions of its entities. In our experience, the answer is effectively none. They allowed the University to use their diplomatic immunity to do something not just unethical but, I believe, illegal, in taking our property and giving no compensation.

Whatever groups it is that Upeace is collaborating with wanted to close us down permanently, not just move us from the campus - which we would not have been adverse to as we did not want to be associated with or discredited by UPeace, anyway.

We will see how independent the Costa Rican courts are in due course.


From: Naomi Fowler

To: James Wallerstedt

Hi James,   

Sorry for the delay in replying to your email, thanks for keeping me in the loop and please keep me there.  

I am interested in doing what I can towards a goal of forcing some kind of accountability in Upeace management even though I feel extremely doubtful that this will be achieved.  

From what I understand about Upaz, they have support from very high up within the UN, the US government and the CIA [see related message]. They have been granted a mandate to expand (for example in Africa) and continue their current trends towards training military and involvement in military affairs under the guise of 'peace.'  This is not just a problem of the Upaz management in Costa Rica in my view, it's much worse than that. It is part of a US foreign policy strategy.

I find the 'Friends of UPeace' title you are proposing a bit difficult, although I see the point of it. Just so you know, I can't claim to have much interest in helping this organization recover its path. I think it's gone beyond that. Although we may have different agendas to some degree (and I salute your positive attitude) I think we can certainly do something about the situation.

I agree that publicity is the way forward. RFPI lost its battle because we signed an agreement saying we would not go public while we were 'negotiating' a settlement with them. Of course, it was effectively just a gagging order, which worked well.   It was frustrating for me because the RFPI Board of Directors was naive and didn't listen to me at the crucial moment of signing the gag order, RFPI's death warrant. The media lost interest and Upeace just sat it out. Clever.

I don't believe they will ever give RFPI compensation, as their policy to close us down was intended to be permanent, not just to get us off the campus.

Interestingly, after sitting on my article called "Peace-Washing," the Tico Times published it this week, apparently in their Perspectives column. I'm surprised they did, as it's a very strong article. Maybe it's time to ask them to publish yours again. Call them and ask to speak to the editor.

There are various plans to revive RFPI but I think it will prove very difficult now. I myself can't get over to Costa Rica for the moment as there are no funds to pay for my trip and a modest salary. I have worked for years in unstable jobs like this and I can't go on doing it forever. I'm staying in Europe for the time being working on my own projects but will always find the time to consult and help out.






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