Partners in Conflict and Partners in Peacebuilding Initiatives: Guyana-Venezuela

The Partners in Conflict/Partners in Peacebuilding projects have developed a close relationship over several years with both the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas and the University of Guyana. Four faculty from the University of Guyana have visited CIDCM and three have completed our training program in Multi-Track Diplomacy, along with one faculty member from the Universidad Central, which is currently hosting Prof. Edy Kaufman for a six-month Fulbright fellowship. Prof. Andrew Blum of CIDCM was also part of a Carter Center initiative to build capacity for peace in Guyana in 2003.
Prof. Davies traveled to the University of Guyana in 2004 to present in a major conference on Governance, Conflict Analysis and Conflict Resolution, and to bring together faculty from the two universities to plan how they might collaborate through multi-track diplomacy in addressing Venezuela's claims of sovereignty over the majority of Guyanese territory (see maps and source materials below). The claims prevent Guyana from developing substantial mineral and other natural resources in its territory west of the Essequibo River, and in off-shore territorial waters. Similar claims on Guyanese territory by Suriname, its neighbor to the east, covering the land east of the New River and disputed territorial waters off the mouth of the Corentyne River, where substantial oil deposits have been found but cannot be exploited because of the dispute (see maps and materials below).
We have based some of the simulation exercises we use in our training programs in multi-track diplomacy at the University of Maryland on the Guyana-Venezuela conflict, including once with the participation of two of our Guyanese partners, but little work has been done to move ahead with joint initiatives since then, primarily because the domestic tensions within each country have had to be given priority by our partners in both countries. We are currently looking for an appropriate opportunity when our partners will be able to return to the issue.