George Mason University
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George Mason University

In Memoriam: U.S. Ambassador (ret.) John W. McDonald

June 5, 2019

U.S. Ambassador (ret.) John W. McDonald and emeritus senior advisor at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) died May 17 at the age of 97 in Arlington, Virginia.

U.S. Ambassador (ret.) John W. McDonald and emeritus senior advisor at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) died May 17 at the age of 97 in Arlington, Virginia.

McDonald retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987, after a 40-year diplomatic career that included 20 years in Western Europe and the Middle East, and 16 years working on United Nations economic and social affairs.

He wrote numerous books and articles on negotiation and conflict resolution. He was appointed ambassador twice by President Jimmy Carter and twice by President Ronald Reagan to represent the United States at various UN World Conferences.

In 1992, McDonald co-founded the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) in Washington, D.C., which focuses on national and international ethnic conflicts. That same year, McDonald was invited to become Distinguished Visiting Professor at Mason’s then Institute (now School) for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, the academic center for which he had been a senior advisor and advisory board member since its first tentative inception in 1982.

"In addition to all of John’s many and impressive accomplishments, what stand out for me is the way he—and (his wife) Christel—mentored so many of our  students over the years, as interns in IMTD and as guests in their home," said  Kevin Avruch, dean of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. "They were particularly generous to foreign students, providing support, advice, and a warm cup of tea when needed.

"If you add to this John’s many years on ICAR’s and then S-CAR’s Advisory Board, you have a portrait of a stalwart supporter."

In addition to teaching at Mason, McDonald taught law and political science at several institutes and universities and served in prestigious international appointments. He was also recognized as a Parent of the Field of Peace and Conflict Studies

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 7, at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church in Arlington, Virginia. More information is available here.

 

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