Ambassador McDonald is a lawyer, diplomat, development expert and peacebuilder, concerned about world, social, economic and ethnic problems. He spent twenty years of his career in Western Europe and the Middle East, and worked for sixteen years on United Nations economic and social affairs. He is currently chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, in Washington D.C., which focuses on national and international ethnic conflicts.
McDonald retired from the Foreign Service in 1987, after 40 years as a diplomat. In 1987-88, he became a professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He was Senior Advisor to George Mason University's Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and taught and lectured at the Foreign Service Institute and the Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs. From December, 1988, to January, 1992, McDonald was President of the Iowa Peace Institute in Grinnell, Iowa and was a professor of Political Science at Grinnell College. In 1983, Ambassador McDonald joined the State Department's newly formed Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs as its Coordinator for Multilateral Affairs, and lectured and organized symposia on the art of negotiation, multilateral diplomacy, and international organizations. He has written or edited eight books on negotiation and conflict resolution.