Home SHARE News Current Spotlight on People Who SHARE: Ambassador John McDonald
Spotlight on People Who SHARE: Ambassador John McDonald

When speaking with Ambassador John McDonald, Chairman and CEO of The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD), there are many things to be impressed by: his forty year career as a diplomat, his work with the United Nations, his dedication to transforming global social conflict. What also makes an impression is his conviction that world peace is not just possible, but probable.

“My life has been dedicated to it,” Ambassador McDonald said from his office in Arlington, VA. “I believe we will have a world government by the end of the century.”

This is encouraging news from an experienced civil servant who has facilitated many peace-building efforts around the globe. At SHAREcircle (SHARE), we are indebted to Ambassador McDonald and his hands-on approach to creating positive change. He helped guide the foundation of our organization and, as a member of the SHARE Board of Directors and Board of Trustees for Angola University, continues to contribute much to our mission.

Guerra Freitas, Founder and CEO of SHARE, offers Ambassador McDonald much praise and gratitude. “SHAREcircle would not have been incorporated when it was if not for Ambassador McDonald,” said Mr. Freitas. “When I came to the U.S. in 1998, thanks to Dr. Patricia Deer and her willingness to sponsor me, I had already begun work on the foundation of SHARE. But, I faced challenges making the vision a reality. Dr. Deer suggested I call Ambassador John and he did not only agree to speak with me, but he also spent time mailing me all the critical legal documents necessary to educate myself on how to incorporate SHARE. He then invited me to join him in Virginia and gave me access to all other necessary documents at IMTD headquarters. Ambassador John’s support and guidance have been crucial to our success. I cannot emphasize enough how much his kindness and wisdom have meant to me personally, and to SHARE.”

When Guerra later broached the idea of creating the first university in Central Angola, Ambassador McDonald again offered his assistance. “I thought it was a noble idea and I wanted to help in any way I could,” he said. “It will change the outlook for the region. It will connect them to the rest of their country and to the rest of the world. Education will transform everything, so they have an amazing driving force to work, study and graduate.”

Guerra elaborated on how Ambassador John became involved. “When the community in Bié asked SHAREcircle for help establishing a university in Kuito, I knew that I needed to discuss the idea with my mentor, Ambassador John,” he said. Guerra led a delegation to Washington, D.C. to begin talks about the university with Ambassador Josefina Diakité, the Angolan Ambassador to the U.S., and Ambassador McDonald, who also hosted SHARE’s delegation at IMTD.

“Ambassador John invited Professor Brian Polkinghorn, Executive Director of the Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University, to be part of the meeting. His contributions to the discussions were invaluable,” noted Guerra. “Thanks to Ambassador McDonald, Dr. Polkinghorn is now an important part of our SHARE and AU boards.”

Ambassador McDonald has made other significant connections for SHARE. He brought Professor Ibrahim Gambari, United Nations Under-Secretary General/Special Advisor on Africa, and Dr. R. J. Murapa, Former Vice Chancellor of Africa University in Zimbabwe, to the SHARE board. Both leaders contribute much in their roles on the AU Board of Trustees.

“Whatever we have been able to accomplish so far is possible because of the committed group of leaders we have onboard,” said Guerra. “They give generously of their time and resources to advance our organization’s vision and mission.”

How can the rest of us create positive change in the world? For the average person, “the best way to help is to make financial contributions to organizations you can trust,” said Ambassador McDonald. “Guerra has been able to prove that every bit of money he gets is directed to Angola. The money goes to helping people on the ground without corruption. He guarantees that nothing is diverted, and that is rare.”

It’s inspiring to learn about a visionary like Ambassador McDonald and the meaningful work he is doing in the world. It’s also encouraging to be reminded that there is something we all can do, be it contributing our time or money to an organization like SHARE, or getting the word out to others so that they can take part in peace building. People helping people. It’s a simple concept, more doable than you might think, and full of tremendous potential.

Read more about Ambassador McDonald at http://www.imtd.org/meet-the-staff/ambassador-john-w-mcdonald-chairman-and-ceo/ and find out more about his organization, The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, at www.imtd.org.