Inauguration of the Thirteenth Regular Session of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS
Washington, D.C., March 8, 2013
In the opening ceremony, the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, thanked the delegates of the member countries, noting that "your presence here today is in itself yet another indication of an already constituted hemispheric commitment to forge our collective security by strengthening cooperation to prevent, combat, and eradicate acts of terrorism and thereby generate ample opportunities in our region for prosperous and peaceful coexistence."
Albert R. Ramdin
Assistant Secretary General
Ambassador Albert Ramdin has a long and distinguished career in international relations, diplomacy and government negotiations in the Americas. A citizen of Suriname, Ambassador Ramdin began his career in the private sector and was soon appointed advisor on foreign trade by his government. In 1997, he became Suriname’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. Following his tenure as Ambassador, he was appointed Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM. After serving CARICOM from 1999-2001, he became senior political adviser of then OAS Secretary General Cesar Gaviria for three years.
Ambassador Ramdin was elected Assistant Secretary General of the OAS on June 7, 2005. He was unanimously re-elected to serve a second five-year term on March 24, 2010.
As Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Ambassador Ramdin pledged to ensure the fair and equal representation of all 34 countries represented at the hemispheric organization. Having responsibility for the guidance of the Permanent Council of the OAS, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin has managed the discussion of sensitive issues among countries by providing key advice, recommendations, proposals and solutions to potential conflicts. Assistant Secretary General Ramdin has also been instrumental in managing election-related conflicts in several countries, and has served as Chief of Mission to election observation teams.
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin has advocated for social and economic opportunities for youth as Chair of the OAS Interdepartmental Working Group on Youth. He has been influential in providing support to countries via OAS programs to strengthen sustainable development, increase productivity and innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises. He secured the upgrade of national identity systems to allow citizens to obtain basic identity documents.
Ambassador Ramdin spearheaded efforts for the creation of the OAS Private Sector Forum to promote dialogue between the public and private sectors of the Western Hemisphere, with a view to improving the conditions for investment, productivity, job creation, social cohesion, and to ensure the effective delivery of the benefits of democracy to the people of the Americas. In 2011, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin delivered on his pledge to Heads of Government from Central America and the Caribbean to strengthen trade relations between the two regions, in light of the global economic slowdown. For the first time in 2011, and subsequently in 2012 and 2013, he brought together top CEOs and Trade Ministers from Central America and the Caribbean to discuss opportunities and challenges to business between both regions, resulting in the establishment of annual meetings on policy issues, business, trade and investment. As a result, top business executives have agreed on measures to fully realize the potential for the development of Pan-Caribbean businesses.
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin has also ensured that Haiti remains a high priority on the OAS Agenda. He has provided active support and assistance to the people of Haiti and consecutive Haitian governments for over a decade and has led negotiations with Haiti’s leaders on behalf of the international community in times of conflict. In addition to directly supporting the democratic processes on the ground in Haiti, Ambassador Ramdin also spearheaded the establishment of the Haiti Task Force within the OAS in Washington, which coordinates all Haiti related activities and programs. ASG Ramdin was also instrumental in re-establishing the Group of Friends of Haiti in Washington, which brings together member states, permanent observers, international and financial institutions, to discuss developments and update programs.
In the area of security, Assistant Secretary Ramdin has worked closely with the United Nations and experts from the wider security community to build political awareness of an innovative model that would not only satisfy sub-regional security priorities, but also build capacity to combat the spread of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations. By linking a broader set of international security and development issues, he has raised the profile of the OAS within the global security community.
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin’s work in the Hemisphere has also served to revitalize OAS relations with other international and regional organizations, including the European Union, United Nations, CARICOM, SICA and others. By bringing together regional and international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector from different continents, he has facilitated dialogue to address emerging common needs and interests. He has advocated for more inclusive forms of government across the Americas and has promoted sharing the organization’s long-standing experience in peace-building and democratization with other regions of the world.
Within the OAS, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin advocated the journey of becoming “green.” The organization became more energy efficient, and ultimately reduced paper consumption by over 95 percent.
Having served in different capacities in the Hemisphere for most of his life, Assistant Secretary General Ramdin bases his actions on People, Peace and Prosperity. He believes secure, peaceful, and healthy democracies are enabled by sound economies. Because of this, he has worked hard to deliver programs and provide opportunities to countries across the hemisphere, with the hopes of generating employment, and ultimately improving the quality of life for citizens of all countries.