Aug. 20, 2003 – One of the territory's best-known international figures has been tapped by the Organization of American States to represent the OAS in efforts to promote dialogue among political and social elements in Haiti as a prelude to the holding of elections there.
The appointment of retired U.S. Ambassador Terence Todman as OAS Special Envoy to Promote Dialogue in Haiti was announced this week by Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the organization.
Todman's assignment is "to explore ways to promote increased dialogue between the government of Haiti and civil society and the Convergence Democratique," according to an OAS release. The objective of that dialogue is the formation of a Provisional Electoral Council that the OAS regards as indispensable to the holding of free, fair and credible elections in Haiti.
The Convergence Democratique is a 15-party coalition that stands in opposition to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party.
Gaviria said Todman will seek to serve as a catalyst for security- and confidence-building measures and to foster the establishment of the electoral council. And he said that the Virgin Islander's career as a diplomat makes him ideally suited to the task.
Luigi Einaudi, OAS assistant secretary general, emphasized that the special envoy's efforts will build upon past OAS endeavors with regard to Haiti. The OAS Special Mission for Strengthening Democracy in Haiti will collaborate with Todman in support of OAS mandates.
Todman said he intends to work for a consensual democratic solution to the formation of the electoral council. He is to submit an evaluation that will form part of the September Report of the Secretary General as called for in a resolution adopted in June at the OAS 2003 General Assembly in Santiago, Chile.
A native of St. Thomas, Todman retired from the U.S. Senior Foreign Service in 1993 with the title of Career Ambassador. In 41 years of diplomatic service, his postings included service as assistant secretary of State for inter-American affairs and as U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Denmark, Spain, Costa Rica, Guinea and the Republic of Chad.
He currently is the president of Todman & Associates Inc., a special adviser to the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, an associate of Global Business Access Ltd., and a consultant to various U.S. and Argentine companies.
He serves on the board of directors of several organizations including the National Endowment for Democracy, a private not-for-profit entity created in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through non-governmental efforts. He is a former trustee of the University of the Virgin Islands.
Todman is a graduate of Inter-American University in Puerto Rico and of Syracuse University. He was been awarded several honorary doctoral degrees. Before joining the Department of State, he served in the U.S. Army as a commissioned officer in post-war Japan. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of the U.S. Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
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