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International High School Students Get a Taste of Multi-Track Diplomacy with Ambassador McDonald


The Summer School Foreign Policy Immersion Program at Georgetown University attracted 47 high school students from across the U.S., Turkey, Canada, China, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, Colombia, and France. Retired Ambassador John W. McDonald came to Georgetown on July 22 to lecture to the group on Track II and Multi-Track diplomacy.  

Ambassador McDonald spoke at length about the concept of Track II diplomacy and its development into the nine-track model used by the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) today. He co-founded IMTD in 1992 and remains its CEO. Ambassador McDonald gave examples of the work of IMTD, including helping people in conflict areas such as Kashmir, a disputed region between India and Pakistan. Years of intense training in conflict resolution with the leaders of Kashmir and Jammu in India and Azad Kashmir in Pakistan and collaboration with both governments led to the establishment of “The People’s Bus”. This bus allows for occasional visits by Kashmiri families who were separated at the time of the creation of Pakistan in 1947 when India was partitioned into the two countries. The bus travels round-trip from Muzzafarabad to Srinagar, allowing families to reconnect even though they may live on opposite sides of the border. Ambassador McDonald continued with his 25-year work with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, India.

The students have visited several universities in the Washington, D.C. area to learn about programs in international relations. Also on the agenda, the students planned to come to the Arlington campus of George Mason University for an introduction to its extensive academic programs in the field at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, where Ambassador McDonald is a member of the Advisory Board.