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Ambassador John W. McDonald gives a lecture at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management

On Thursday, July 7, 2016, retired Ambassador John W. McDonald, CEO of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD), welcomed an invitation from Professor John L. Davies of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM) to lecture at the University of Maryland, College Park. Addressing a group of public policy students, Ambassador McDonald spoke of his involvement with the United Nations Population Fund and the challenges in its formation.

Ambassador McDonald expounded on UN Volunteers, the UN Environment Program, the establishment of the International Day of Peace, and he encouraged students to continue their focus on conflict management. The development of Multi-Track diplomacy came from an expansion of the definition of Track II diplomacy, also known as informal or non-governmental diplomacy. This expansion became the Multi-Track model used by IMTD today. Ambassador McDonald explained how this systems-based approach to peacebuilding was successful in the case of the conflict in Kashmir. Ultimately, after a five-year commitment, the process led to the creation of a Peace Bus, linking Indian Kashmir with the Azad Kashmir region in Pakistan.

Of particular interest to the students included the work of IMTD with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Government in Exile and its Central Tibetan Administration, which is developing its own diplomatic corps to face the challenges of the future. Ambassador McDonald concluded by encouraging the students to employ the Multi-Track model in their approach to conflict resolution and to always remember his mantra: "The only way to solve a conflict at any level of society is to sit down face to face and talk about it.”