Papers and Articles

IMTD-CARE 1995-2002

OP NR. 23
By John W. McDonald, Ambassador (ret.)
This occasional paper describes in brief the eight years history of IMTD’s working relationship with CARE International.In 1995, Ambassador McDonald was invited to Atlanta, Georgia, CARE’s International Headquarters, to speak to its leadership about IMTD. Over the following years, IMTD trained CARE leadership for East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya and Dares Salaam, Tanzania.  The training continued for West African CARE officials in Sierra Leone, Asian officials in Sri Lanka, and middle east officials in Jordan. There were additional trainings for Latin America in Guatemala, and for CARE officials in Atlanta. This occasional paper describes those trainings in some detail and reflects CARE’s growth and understanding of conflict resolution.

A Positive Approach to Peace, Track-by-Track Case Studies

OP NR. 22 ( May 2014)
By John W. McDonald. Ambassador (ret.)
On May 26, 1992 Dr. Louise Diamond and I co-founded the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) as a non-profit, non-governmental organization, based in Washington, D.C. I became Chairman and CEO, while Dr. Diamond became Chief of Training, and later Vice President. The Institute was created to spread the concept of multi-track diplomacy across the world.

The purpose of this Occasional Paper is to update Louise Diamond’s and my book, first published in December 1991, and titled Multi-Track Diplomacy: A Systems Approach to Peace. That book laid out the principals of our nine track approach. This Occasional Paper, published 23 years later,and based on my personal perspective, describes individual projects or case studies, track by track, we have carried out during this period.


OP NR. 21
BY Dr. Dilip Kulkarni.
Mr. Dilip Kulkarni, a Maryland businessman and PhD candidate from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, telephoned Ambassador John W. McDonald in the Spring of 2012 and asked if he could interview him for his doctoral thesis. This occasional paper recounts that two-hour interview in which Ambassador McDonald reflects on his life, gives his personal definition of mediation, expands on the influence of culture in conflict resolution, and provides a look into the future of what might become of international conflict.

Water for Life – The Untold Story

OP NR. 20 (2011)
By John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
In 1977 the UN World Conference on Water took place in Uruguay. I read the 100 recommendations for national and international action and one recommendation jumped off the page. It urged the creation of a UN decade focused on drinking water and sanitation. I decided to make this recommendation a reality. On Nov 10, 1980, the General Assembly unanimously adopted my resolution calling for the creation of the UN decade for Drinking Water and Sanitation. Thanks to the action of thousands of people, the decade brought access to safe drinking water to 1.1 billion people for the first time in their lives. In addition, 769,000 across the world got access to sanitary facilities.

Political Forgiveness and International Affairs

OP NR. 19 (2007)
By Dr. Eileen R. Borris
After discussing the healing power of forgiveness, Dr. Borris introduce us to the difficulties of changing one’s perceptions of the others in order to recognize the humanness in them, despite the crimes committed. This paper considers the path towards cohabitation of victims and former enemies in a time when revenge cannot be the answer. Political acts which portray symbolic forgiving gestures, together with the work of all institutions, are essential in the promotion of dialogue and truth speaking. Dr Borris explains us how political exponents and institutions are not always capable of answering the need for reconciliation and help us understand the other possible ways towards political forgiveness.

People Power: Country Studies and Lessons Learned from National Non-Violent Movements 2003-2005

OP NR. 18 (2007)
By Vladislav Michalcik and Ceara Riggs
This Occasional Paper is a follow-up to Occasional Paper #14, examining various non-violent civil society movements around the globe in the years from 2003-2005. We examine the characteristics that contributed to the successful revolutions and why those that were unsuccessful failed to develop to their full potential. The countries examined include Ukraine, Lebanon, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Cyprus, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, Togo, and Hungary. Ultimately, we conclude that international support is necessary in facilitating a country’s transition, but political solidarity and support for the indigenous movement is of central importance to the success or failure of the movement.

Victims’ Issues, Multi-Track Diplomacy, and the International Criminal Court

OP NR. 17
By Adam Nester
In this paper, Adam Nester explores the nature of the International Criminal Court and the role of multi-track diplomacy within the system.

The Potential Application of Multi-Track Diplomacy to Conflict Resolution and Peace Building

OP NR. 16 (2005)
By Randall G. Cuthbert
The negotiated cease-fire of 1953 between North Korea and United Nations forces began what no one at the time could have conceived: a 50 year period of unresolved, festering hostility between North Korea and much of the world, marked by occasional bouts of violence and terrorism, and in recent years by one of the worst famine disasters the modern world has ever seen. All throughout this period, the diplomatic tools of civilized humankind were available but unused, passively promulgating human suffering on a massive scale.

Inside the Revolution of Roses

OP NR. 15 (2005)
By Irakli Z. Kakabadze
This paper looks at the development of Georgia’s Revolution of the Roses in 1995, analyzing the planting of the revolution’s seeds at the time of the November 2003 fraudulent elections placing Shevardnzdze in the presidential seat to the creation of the Civil Disobedience Committee.

Demos Kratos: New Expressions of People Power Across the Globe

OP NR. 14 (2004)
By Cheryl Duckworth and John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
This paper explores the trend of people power by which ordinary citizens are using peaceful means to bring about social, economic and political change, focusing specifically on occurrences in Nepal, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Hong Kong and Georgia from the 1990s to the present. The authors analyze the shared causes and characteristics of the case studies presented from the role undertaken by the military, IMTD and the international community. The paper explains that governments must contend with the “new reality” molded by people power in a principled, fair manner and truly listen to the needs of their constituencies. As was the case in Nepal, Indonesia and the other countries addressed, the people will simply leave behind leaders who will not do so.

The Track Not Taken: Personal Reflections on State Department Intransigence and Conflict Resolution

OP NR. 13 (2004)
By John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
Ambassador McDonald reflects on the obstacles he has encountered in giving Track Two, or Citizen Diplomacy equal recognition with traditional Track One as an essential tool in conflict intervention. He laments on the failure of US government to embrace Track Two in its diplomatic work, and contends that the US State Department is being “left behind intellectually and institutionally” other countries who have recognized the significance of expanding conflict resolution outside of formal government-to-government operations. The Ambassador addresses three key areas (“Three Deadly Sins”) wherein lies the potential for considerable improvement in US diplomatic strategies.

Markets and Peace: Common Visions, Common Bridges

OP NR. 12 (2004)
By David G. Alpher and Dr. Eileen R. Borris
In a world inundated with increasing levels of globalization, corporations have become key players in the world arena, impacting all areas of the social, political and economic fabric of the international community. This paper analyzes the relationship between the private sector and conflict, stating that “Business and peace are already linked, whether business realizes (and likes) it or not.” The paper contends that corporations must recognize this critical link and give it their due attention, while exploring the costs entailed by businesses and the greater international community if issues relating to peace and security are not incorporated in their strategic planning. The authors also dispel myths surrounding the connections between the private sector and the field of peacebuilding, offering insight into how non-governmental organizations, the private sector, citizens and politicians can engage in creating positive societal value. By optimizing external multipliers of business operations, engaging in social investment, stakeholder consultation, policy dialogue, advocacy and civic institution building, including collaborations with other companies, the authors contend that the private industry will benefit in the long-run. While many businesses are beginning to recognize that conflict resolution and peacebuilding are not solely political initiatives, there remains great potential for the private sector to embrace the field of conflict resolution as a powerful instrument fostering a company’s long-term growth. Likewise, practitioners in the field of conflict resolution must partner with businesses on these important endeavors.

The Impact of NGOs on Policy Makers

OP NR. 11 (2003)
By John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
My first assignment in the US Diplomatic corps took me to Berlin, Germany, as a young lawyer. I arrived on January 15, 1947, in the middle of the coldest winters in a hundred years, and was assigned to the Allied Control Council’s Four Power Secretariat. Made up of Soviet, British, French, and American representatives, this was Occupied Germany after World War II. I served eight years in Western Europe, four years in Washington DC, eight years in the Middle East, then back to Washington DC to attend the National War College. In 1967, I was assigned to the State Department’s Bureau for International (UN) Organizations Affairs… It was finally, at that point in my diplomatic career, that I first heard the term NGO. Download the PDF.

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

OP NR. 10 (2003)
By Dr. Eileen R. Borris
In this paper, Dr. Borris illuminates the nature of forgiveness and examines it in fine detail—as well as common misconceptions about it, explaining forgiveness to be the central concept to true healing. She shows that the roots of violence, suffering and pain are in the unhealed unforgiven wounds that so many people carry with them, and examines the psychological mechanisms by which those wounds persist. Dr. Borris explores ancient philosophies and academic literature on the subject, while offering revealing examples of the power of forgiveness from our everyday lives to global society. Download the PDF.

The Need for Multi-Track Diplomacy

OP NR. 9 (2000)
By John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
Ambassador McDonald exposes three theories to explain the growing prevalence of intra-state ethnic violence in the world today—The Empire Theory; The existence of non-negotiable issues and; The lack of governance to incorporate institutional changes addressing the Post-Cold War shift from inter-state to intra-state conflict. The Ambassador highlights three stories in which Track Two, or Citizen Diplomacy, was used as an effective tool for conflict intervention in Russia, the Middle East and Northern Ireland. These stories demonstrate the sheer power of diplomacy operating outside of the official sphere. The paper also provides readers with an overview of the meaning behind multi-track diplomacy, as well as the twelve fundamental principles IMTD follows in its multi-track work.

Lessons on Partnership from the Peace and Development Learning Community

OP NR. 8 (1997)
By Kristin Clay and Nizar Rammal
This paper examines the ways in which IMTD, Action Pour Alternative Civil (APAC) and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) work in partnership with communities to address the link between peace and development in their program activities. The paper harnesses some of the separate learnings of each organization about community partnerships, and forms them into a common understanding of effective tools other non-governmental organizations may replicate in their collaborations with local communities. The author specifically reflects on a workshop held at Eastern Mennonite University’s Summer Peacebuilding Institute, IMTD’s work in Cyprus, and APAC’s work with youth in the Chouf mountains of Lebanon. Download the PDF.

Building Peace and Transforming Conflict: Multi-Track Diplomacy in Practice

OP NR. 7 (1996)
By James Notter and Lousie Diamond, Ph.D.
This paper describes the concepts, principles, and methodologies behind the work of IMTD. At the conceptual level, the authors provide the theoretical context for understanding IMTD’s work in three main arenas: Conflict transformation; Peacebuilding and Multi-track diplomacy. Within this conceptual framework the authors describe a set of twelve practice-oriented principles which guide IMTD’s conflict intervention strategies and highlight the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and the conflict habituated system. These principles are divided into four categories: IMTD’s entry into the system; Involvement with partners; Approaches to the work; and Overall goals. The paper concludes with specific descriptions of how IMTD has facilitated the transformation of conflicts through system development activities in Israel/Palestine, Cyprus, Liberia and other areas. Download the PDF.

From Iran, Catalonia, and Michigan to IMTD: An Introspective Journey Through the Field of Conflict Resolution

OP NR. 6 (1996)
By Shahram Ahmadzadegan, Sergi Farre, and Benjamin Kasoff
Three former Program Officers at IMTD provide an introspective analysis of how their personal experiences gave meaning to their conceptions of “peace” and “conflict,” and enriched their life paths in the field of peacemaking. Through synthesizing their diverse upbringings in Michigan, Barcelona and Tehran, the authors demonstrate that shared visions of tolerance, understanding and unity can emerge from. The authors expose readers to two approaches to conflict resolution—theory and practice—”from the heart” and “from the mind,” and organize such approaches along a continuum. While most academic literature in the field places these two variables at two extremes of a linear continuum, the authors transcend this apparent dichotomy through their use of a metaphorical model—The Arc of Peace, which permits a balanced, fluid exchange of energy and ideas from each variable. The authors also analyze the significant contributions IMTD has made to the field of conflict resolution through its innovative theoretical work and project initiatives, while addressing the challenges the organization faces, particularly in the area of gaining donor recognition and funding.

Trust and Conflict Transformation

OP NR. 5 (1995)
By James Notter
This paper is designed to provide a framework for understanding the role of trust in conflict resolution processes and interventions, both between conflicting parties and between parties and practitioners. The author addresses the ambiguities that surround trust’s role in conflict interventions, and provides practical tools for practitioners on how to interweave the essential element of trust into their work, specifically in the context of deep-rooted ethnic conflicts. The author looks at IMTD’s conflict transformation training program in Cyprus as a reflection of trust’s role in the field through the use of various “confidence-building measures.” Through introducing readers to the framework IMTD used in the Cyprus program that addressed basic human needs at the identity-group level, readers are exposed to the essentiality of using trust as a foundation for conflict intervention. Download the PDF.

Beyond Win/Win: The Heroic Journey of Conflict Transformation

OP NR. 4 (1996)
By Louise Diamond
When dealing with conflict-habituated systems, the win/win approach isn’t enough. What is needed is true conflict transformation. To transform conflict is to release the energy bound in the intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual patterns of thought and action that have built up over time, and to re-shape that energy into new and more positive patterns of relationship. Based on her experiences in Cyprus, Israel, and elsewhere, Dr. Diamond has developed Beyond Win/Win, a five-stage intellectual map, with related practical skills, for engaging successfully in the process of discovering peace. By exploring the five stages of the model we become like the heroes and heroines of our myths and legends: we touch the ideal, we accept the quest, we are tested, in that test we find our strength to overcome our worst terrors, and we emerge victorious and renewed. In this way we learn to transform the conflicts in our lives, empowering ourselves as creators of peace, as peacemakers in our homes, in our communities, and in the world.

Further Exploration of Track Two Diplomacy

OP NR. 3 (1999)
By John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
This paper was originally published as a chapter written by Ambassador McDonald in the book, Timing and De-Escalation of International Conflict, by Louis Kriesberg and Stuart J. Thorson. IMTD decided to re-print the chapter as part of its Occasional Paper Series due to the growing interest in the development of the theory underpinning IMTD’s work—multi-track diplomacy. While IMTD has since expanded its conflict transformation framework to nine tracks, this paper describes the expansion of the Track Two approach to five tracks. Track One and Two remain as originally designed, with Track Three exploring the positive role of business in peacebuilding; Track Four discussing the power of citizen to citizen exchange programs and the empowerment of private citizens to bring about peaceful change; and Track Five exploring the powerful role of the IMTD in impacting a peace process.

Guidelines for Newcomers to Track Two Diplomacy

OP NR. 2 (1993)
By John W. McDonald Ambassador (ret.)
This paper serves as a practical guide to aspiring third-party facilitators of ethnic or sectarian conflict through Track Two Diplomacy, i.e. conflict transformation activities outside the formal government power structure. Divided into four successive phases—Exploration of Subject and Self; Analysis and Involvement; Follow Through; and Disengagement and Aftermath—the paper offers a number of suggestions on how Track Two facilitators can play a pivotal role in reducing tension among parties, improving communication, laying a foundation for forgiveness and building the human infrastructure necessary for long-term peace. Download the PDF.

Peacemakers in a War Zone

OP NR. 1 (1993)
By Louise Diamond, Ph.D.
This paper examines the psychological and ethical challenges faced by peacemakers in the field and the effects on body, mind and spirit. The author examines the new elements and variables peacemakers introduce to a conflict system, challenging readers to take a more in-depth look into the shift in a conflict’s dynamics that peacemakers inevitably incite. The paper offers no prescriptions or answers, but rather seeks to delineate some of the critical questions and issues raised when people engaged in peacemaking or peacebuilding from outside the conflict system enter its physical, emotional, and spiritual space in an attempt to be of service. Download the PDF.