George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Advisory Board

The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution relies on the support and guidance from alumni and partners serving on the S-CAR Advisory Board. This group of volunteer leaders are an important bridge between the academy and broader community.

Jim Moran, former U.S. Representative for Virginia's 8th District joins S-CAR graduate students at a Board hosted event at Point of View.

Jim Moran, former U.S. Representative for Virginia's 8th District joins S-CAR graduate students at a Board hosted event at Point of View. Mr. Moran was recognized with the first John W. McDonald, U.S. Ambassador, ret. Award.

Board Members

Robert Harris, MS ’96, PhD ’03, Chair

Dr. Robert Harris is an expert conflict management professional with over 25 years’ experience designing and implementing organizational change and employee engagement initiatives; conducting interpersonal, group, and organizational interventions to resolve sensitive and complex workplace conflicts; and developing and teaching conflict management and dispute resolution courses. 

He currently serves as the Internal Ombudsman in the Office of the Chairman at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In this role, he works to improve individual and organizational issues by helping resolve individual employee concerns; working with management to resolve issues within their areas, and raising systemic issues with the chairman and senior leadership. Dr. Harris also manages the FDIC’s Workplace Excellence Program and Labor Management Forum. Both initiatives seek to further improve the FDIC’s workplace environment. 

Prior to joining the FDIC, Dr. Harris served as the Conflict Management Services Manager at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  He directed an agency-wide conflict management program to enhance organizational effectiveness, improve conflict management and cooperative problem solving competence, reduce employee distractions, and increase employee engagement at all levels.  He also managed or developed numerous employee advisory councils including TSA’s National Advisory Council (NAC) and NAC Network. 

Before TSA, Dr. Harris specialized in developing and implementing conflict resolution programs for educators and youth. He worked for nearly a decade developing and coordinating an integrated conflict resolution system in Fairfax County Public Schools (Fairfax County, Virginia). His international experience includes working with educators and youth from Bosnia, Central Asia, Cyprus, Georgia/Abkhazia, Indonesia, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and South Korea. His curriculum materials have been translated into Russian, Indonesian, Arabic, and Korean. 

Dr. Harris earned his doctoral degree from George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.  His research focused on peer mediator modeling and disputant learning.

Rebecca Cataldi, MS '10, Vice Chair

Rebecca Cataldi is a conflict resolution specialist and trainer, and serves as Senior Program Officer at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD), where her work has focused on facilitating conflict resolution and countering violent extremism (CVE)  initiatives in Yemen, engaging madrasa and interfaith leaders in Pakistan, supporting reconciliation efforts among Syrians, developing peacebuilding and CVE curricular materials, and furthering other initiatives to counter violent extremism. 

Ms. Cataldi is a summa cum-laude graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution.  She has served as a conflict resolution trainer for the U. S. Department of State’s Speaker/Specialist Program, the Luminari youth program, and the Arlington County Jail through Offender Aid and Restoration, and as a facilitator of Western-Muslim World dialogue with the Soliya Connect Program. She is the founder of the American-Islamic Friendship Project and has engaged in cultural exchange, interfaith, educational, peacebuilding, and other initiatives in more than 50 countries, including Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Chile, Australia, and the United States.

Alan Gropman

Dr. Alan L. Gropman taught at the National Defense University for 20 years. He is an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution teaching Grand Strategy in Peace and War, and is a member of the School’s Advisory Board, and former chair. He is the distinguished professor emeritus for National Security Policy at the National Defense University. He served for 27 years in the United States Air Force and accumulated more than 4,000 flying hours including two combat flying tours in Vietnam. He was director of Military History Instruction at the United States Air Force Academy and vice dean of faculty at the National War College. He served several tours in various headquarters, including the Pentagon. He taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University for 8 years in the Strategic Studies Program. He has written four books and more than 350 book reviews, anthology chapters, OP-ED essays, articles in refereed journals, and currently a monthly article on Think Tank outputs for more than six years. He has taught six courses for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute.

Alan can be reached at and 703-569-1549.

Sean Heravi, MS '19

Sean Heravi is an S-CAR alumnus and military veteran. He served previously as the student representative to the S-CAR Advisory Board before he graduated. His MS thesis titled: “Ayatollah Resilience: The Iranian Model for Regime Survival,” focuses on informal networks in Iran and their influence on authoritarian resilience. During his time at S-CAR, he honed an interest in power relations, state building, and religious conflicts after completing several courses on these topics and a yearlong seminar titled: “The Political Economy of Civil Wars.” He recently completed a month long intensive experiential learning course in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that incorporated ethnographic research and an analysis of political Islam at the local universities.

Sean holds a BA in Political Science from Penn State University and has held several internships relative to international security and conflict resolution, including a fellowship at the Center for Complex Operations within the National Defense University. His background is in terrorism and international security with a regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Before his academic pursuit, he completed four years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps as a member of 3rd Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Company (F.A.S.T. CO.) and was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Mary Jo Larson, PhD '01

Mary Jo Larson provides consulting services to international, multilateral, and private sector organizations.  Qualifications include a doctoral in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. Areas of expertise include strategy formulation, multi-stakeholder partnerships, board leadership, cross-cultural communication, experiential adult learning, corporate responsibility, energy and environmental negotiations, developmental evaluation and sustainability.  Relevant experiences include: Advisory Board Member, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University (2012-present); Member, Town of Cohasset’s Alternative Energy Committee (2014-present).

Facilitator of strategic leadership and learning for Global Corporate Governance Group of IFC/World Bank, USAID and various international NGOs. Assignments include transnational programs in over 35 countries / emerging economies.  (2005-present)

Senior advisor to Boards of Directors of public-private sector partnership of Health Policy Project (HPP) in Afghanistan (2013-14); senior advisor for strategic planning of multi-stakeholder youth leadership and conservation program in West Bank (2005-2006); senior project director and interim chief of party for EDC in Kabul, Afghanistan to facilitate strategic planning among Afghan Ministries, USAID and UN Habitat for university and provincial women’s literacy, leadership and enterprise development partnership (2004).

Director, Global Women’s Leadership program funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Advanced regional leadership and capacity building to enhance performance and impact of key personnel in local clinics and health organizations, including candidates in Afghanistan and the Middle East (2001-2004).

Former Peace Corps volunteer (1972-74).  Later served as Peace Corps education sector specialist to advance environmental education (1991-93) and then as chief of programming and training for the Asia Pacific Region of Peace Corps (1994-1997).

Working with multi-disciplinary teams, co-authored Culture Matters (Peace Corps); Advancing Women’s Leadership (funded by Gates Foundation); Corporate Governance Board Leadership Training Resources; Governing Banks; and Resolving Corporate Governance Disputes (three funded by IFC/World Bank).

Lead author of “Cape Wind: Offshore Renewable Energy Conflict,” chapter in edited book published by Springer (May 2015); “Board Evaluation: Insights from India,” an IFC/World Bank publication (upcoming 2015); and Peace Corps’ “Student Friendly Schools,” a program that prepares volunteers and their counterparts to address gender-based violence (2012).

Other affiliations include: Completed Advanced Mediator program organized by MIT and Consensus Building Institute (CBI); Advisor for Peacebuilding Evaluation Project of Alliance for Peacebuilding; board member, Peace and Conflict Review at the University for Peace established by the United Nations in Costa Rica; lead facilitator for international Climate Change and Vulnerability conference at The Peace Palace of The Hague; and visiting faculty teaching “Environmental Conflict Resolution Strategies,” Columbia University (NYC).

Christel McDonald

Christel McDonald, is an international peace builder whose dedication, global networks and strategic guidance have enabled invaluable contributions to the Advisory Board and to scholarship at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR). Christel is a true reflection of the integrity, competence and generosity of spirit exhibited by Ambassador McDonald and celebrated by this community through this annual award.

Fluent in German, English, Italian, Dutch, French and Afrikaan, Christel McDonald is an accomplished conflict resolution scholar and historical researcher. Raised in Hamburg, her international career began in Brussels where she worked for the Council of Ministers of the European Community. Her expertise, competence and commitment led to significant coordinator and ‘harmonizer’ positions with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and – her favorite – the Multi Track Diplomacy Institute (MTDI), among many others. Christel has also served as President of the DC Chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, which recognizes and honors exceptional academic achievement in the arts and sciences.

Over many decades, in consultation and partnership with Ambassador McDonald, Christel has contributed strategic guidance and support to the S-CAR Advisory Board. She has been a distinguished member of the Advisory Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee, a vital member of its Point of View Committee and a generous mentor and supporter of scholarships for S-CAR graduate students. Most recently, Christel contributed to the inclusive quality of the Resilience Roundtable, an event designed to engage GMU alumni, students, faculty and diverse colleagues in candid discussions of practitioner challenges in building the human capacity to respond, adapt effectively (bounce back) and be strengthened when addressing experiences of conflict, adversity and crisis.

For her exemplary contributions to the mission of S-CAR, particularly to the professional development of promising S-CAR graduate students and alumni, the Advisory Board voted unanimously to honor Christel with the Ambassador John McDonald Award.

Robert Nealon

Robert B. Nealon is the senior partner of Nealon & Associates, P.C. He has earned the top AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell. He has practiced with this firm, in various incarnations, for over 30 years, and has maintained offices at the 119 North Henry Street building since 1984. Mr. Nealon practices primarily in the areas of corporate law and litigation, commercial litigation, government relations, financial institution law, real estate law, and tax law. In the course of his career, Mr. Nealon has represented hundreds of companies and served as general corporate counsel to many nationwide and international companies, commercial development and high technology asset companies, financial institutions, and a wide variety of small businesses. In addition to the JD he received in 1982 from the University of Bridgeport magna cum laude, Mr. Nealon holds a MBA in finance from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a ML in taxation from Georgetown University. Mr. Nealon is a member of the Virginia and New York state bars, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and U.S. District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; and the District of Columbia. Additionally, he has litigated in the Delaware Court of Chancery to pursue matters in corporate litigation and has been qualified as an expert in Delaware corporate law as well.

Mr. Nealon has formerly served as chair of the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board and as chair of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Advisory Board at George Mason University.

Richard O'Brien

Richard O’Brien is the author of the upcoming In Case of Genocide – Break Glass: How we end Genocidal Indifference, 2015 on which he draws from his experience as director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide (CPG) to tell stories of lifesaving early warning actions. The book includes a comprehensive ‘Genocide Prevention Manual’ that genocide scholars are calling the most advanced in the field. As director of the CPG, O’Brien oversaw the creation of three generations of early warning methodology, several early warning crisis procedures, testified as an expert in Congressional sub-Committee and presented at the United Nations, U.S government agencies, on national TV and radio. He served as senior editor for more than twenty-five human rights reports primarily in Africa and Asia.

Successful early warning crisis procedures O’Brien presided over include several preventative actions in: 2001 for an ongoing massacre in Sulawesi, Indonesia, 2002 for a man-induced famine in Nuba, Sudan, 2002/2003 two ongoing massacres in Bunia and Bukavu, in eastern D.R. Congo, 2003 to stop the winter dismantling of Chechen refugee camps, 2004 to highlight the danger of a India-Pakistan accidental nuclear confrontation, 2004 for ongoing LRA massacres of Acholi in Northern Uganda and in 2004 to detail massacres in Darfur, Sudan and calling it genocide.

O’Brien taught International Human Rights, Conflict in the Modern World and World Ideologies at the University of South Florida. He chaired the Democratic Party in Manatee County, Florida, founded several caucuses, lobbied for statewide and local human rights and served on the Florida Democratic Executive Committee. In 2012, he ran a close campaign for mayor of Bradenton, Florida. He has owned several small companies and real estate interests. He is married to Ani O’Brien and they are the parents of twins, Annalise and John.

Timothy Plum, MS '16

Tim Plum received his BIS degree in Social Science in 2013 from the University of Virginia and based on his capstone paper moved to George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, graduating with a master’s degree in 2016.

As a master’s student, Tim gained an appreciation for the conflict resolution field and continued his study of contemporary society in Northern Ireland, including a stint as the master’s representative on the Student Association board which led to full membership on the Advisory Board. In addition, Tim serves on S-CAR's Diversity Committee.

His work in the field led him to form the Network for Transformational Change through Education and Practice (NTCEP) non-profit in 2017. NTCEP has two central goals; to help student writing and communication skills and connecting students to practitioners in the conflict resolution, peace studies, social justice world.

Married for over 30 years to Amy, they have two sons Christopher and Michael.

Brian Polkinghorn, MS ’88

Brian is a distinguished professor of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution. Since 2000, he has been the program director in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and executive director of the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) at Salisbury University. Prior to 2000, he was the senior faculty member in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University. He has worked in the conflict intervention field since 1985 as a mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, trainer, researcher, academic program developer, conflict coach, dispute systems designer and ombudsman. His primary research and publications are in the areas of environmental disputes, graduate program developments in the English-speaking world, post conflict development projects, ADR court program assessment and, the evaluation of major government ADR programs. He has published over 40 articles, book chapters and edited books and been the principle investigator or recipient of more than 50 grants. He has practiced in more than a dozen countries primarily in the areas of environmental policy dispute intervention, labor-management. cross border cooperative enterprises, support of peace talks and civil society training.

He is currently facilitating dialogues between Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli parties on water rights/usage, waste to energy and collaborative agricultural in the Jordan River basin. He has also worked on the peace process in Nepal. Brian is an alumnus of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at Syracuse University (MA, MPhil, PhD 1994). He was also a fellow with the Program on Negotiation (PON), Harvard University Law School (1991-1992), a national fellow with the US Environmental Protection Agency (1991-1993), a United States Presidential Fellow (1991), the University System of Maryland Wilson Elkins professor, a Senior American Fulbright Scholar with the Evens Program in International Conflict and Mediation at Tel Aviv University (2010) and most recently appointed a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador (2015).

Edward Hart Rice

Edward Rice is a computer scientist by training, having studied at The Johns Hopkins University from 1966-1971. He later obtained a Master of Science in Computer Science from The American University (1982). He worked with hospital and medical systems at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; was involved in the competitive sourcing of computers to the Federal government for Honeywell Information Systems; support of the largest computer system in the Pentagon for the US Air Force and Office of the Secretary of Defense; and development of extensions to database management and operating system software for CACI, Inc.-Federal and the US Geological Survey (USGS). He designed and developed ultra-large database management facilities for the USGS Topographic Division, analyzed financial information flow for the USGS Water Resources Division, and created a real-time performance monitoring tool for Honeywell software. For Information Systems Consultants, he designed major operating system modifications to allow for high-performance transaction processing. Working for Honeywell and afterward, he started and directed the activities of a BSA Explorer Post that guided high school students in studying computer science, the leading group of its kind in Virginia (and possibly the United States).

Starting in 1984, Mr. Rice worked for the Linguistic Society of America, developing management systems for a network of Macintosh computers to allow their employees to manage membership, produce complex documents for print and online, and automated the distribution of their publications through US and numerous foreign postal systems. During the period 1984-1987 he volunteered time to various non-profit organizations that needed his specialized skills.

From 1986 to 1990, Mr. Rice was East Coast Coordinator for a large (2000+ members) grassroots organization called the Earthstewards Network which worked on “Track II diplomacy”: citizen efforts to encourage peaceful and productive relations between country-pairs or interest-pairs such as Irish Catholics and Protestants; Indian and Pakistani people of various faiths; and the United States and the Soviet Union. This required travel to other countries to establish relationships and plan for citizen exchanges, support of hosting for large numbers of foreigners when they came to the United States, and arranging their activities and logistical support while they were in the US. This included the Washington, DC-regional support for Soviet “youth” (late high-school and college students) who stayed in American homes during their visits to Northern Virginia, an historic first. While he was working on these projects, he became involved in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at GMU (later ICAR and then S-CAR).

In 1991, starting with the birth of his first child, Mr. Rice stepped back from high-intensity, travel-oriented activities and became a full-time father to his two children. He did volunteer computer work for the Green Hedges School and supported each of their secondary and college careers. During this period, Mr. Rice and his brother-in-law assumed responsibility for real estate investments and planning that resulted from his late father’s business activities in New York City, Dallas, Phoenix, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and other locations. He remains an active and involved parent, but is now also an experienced investor in commercial real estate.

Mr. Rice was appointed to the Board of Visitors of James Madison University in 2014, and served a four-year term on that Board. He declined a reappointment to James Madison’s Board and was then appointed to serve on the George Mason University Board of Visitors, starting in July, 2018. He remains on excellent terms and in close contact with James Madison University, with Radford University (where his son is an undergraduate), and has ongoing interests at Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Yale, the University of Virginia, and other institutions of higher education.

Mr. Rice is a member of the Board of Directors of WETA and the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association, and is on the Advisory Board of the Mason School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. He has held Board positions for several homeowners associations and volunteer groups. He is involved through the Rice Family Foundation (of which he is co-President and a member of the Board) with many educational and other non-profits throughout the United States. He works with grassroots political organizations and with community organizers. He has been a member and officer of the culinary society “Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs” for 26 years.

Michael Shank, PhD '13

Dr. Michael Shank is the Communications Director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, a group of international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. Michael’s professional career includes leading press and/or policy shops at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Climate Nexus (clients included the United Nations, Vatican City, The White House, and Fortune 500 Companies), U.S. Congress, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Institute for Economics and PeaceBiodiversity NorthwestPuget Soundkeeper Alliance and more.

Michael’s academic career includes a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution and is focused on climate conflict. Michael is adjunct faculty at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, where he teaches graduate courses on Sustainable Development, Power and Politics and Climate and Security. Shank also serves as adjunct faculty and advisory board member at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, where he teaches graduate courses on Communicating Conflict.

Michael is a former columnist for the Washington Post and US News & World Report and a contributor to USA Today, CNN, The Guardian, TIME, Fast Company, Newsweek and more. Michael lives in Brandon, VT, where he chairs the Planning Commission and Energy Committee, serves on the boards of the Safer Society Foundation and Compass Music and Arts Foundation, created Brandon Films and Brandon Abroad, and runs a small animal sanctuary. Social: Twitter | YouTube | Instagram  Contact: michael.shank (@)

Mark D. Sickles

Mark Sickles has represented the 43rd House District – now including Franconia, Kingstowne, Huntington, Lorton, and Ft. Belvoir neighborhoods of South Fairfax County – since 2004. He currently serves on the Appropriations Committee, including its Higher Education, Transportation, and Health subcommittees, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee, and the Privileges and Elections Committee.  From 2011 to 2014, he served as chair of the House Democratic Caucus. As a part-time legislator, he works full-time for a national marine construction company based in Metropolitan New York.

He has two master’s degrees from Georgia Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University.  In civic life, he was appointed by Supervisor Joe Alexander and Supervisor Dana Kauffman to the Fairfax County Library Board, serving for 11 years and one term as chair. In his two years as chair (1998-2000), Mark oversaw the opening of a new library in Kingstowne and the development of a ten-year capital improvement plan that resulted in the renovation of the Richard Byrd and Martha Washington libraries and acquisition of over seven acres for the future development of a regional library on Beulah Street near Manchester Boulevard.  He also served as president of United Community Ministries – a social-service non-profit providing employment services, aid to the homeless, and high-quality daycare to low-income children – during a six-year term on its board.

He is currently on the Aerospace Advisory Council and the George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s (S-CAR) Advisory Board.  He is an active member of the Bioscience Caucus.  He was formerly a member of the Substance Abuse Services Council, and the Commission on Military and National Security Facilities.

K.C. Soares

K. C. Soares is a senior management consultant focusing on large systems change, community and non-profit organization development and institution building, human capacity building, and executive coaching.  She worked for over 18 years in the Organization of American States in social and income generating projects and was responsible for the OAS Center for Training and Development. She has worked in Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

In addition to serving on S-CAR Advisory Board, K. C. is also involved with credit unions and cooperatives and serves as Chair of the OAS Federal Credit Union.  She is the founding president of IODA-International Organization Development Association.  With S-CAR she is currently developing programs and projects – for faculty and students – with the School of Management, Federal University of Bahia.  She has taught at several other universities.

She holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English.

Emeritus Board Members

Frank Duggan

Frank Duggan passed away in November 2017. During his distinguished career, he served as President of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc, the organization of families of those who perished in the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. He has represented this group without charge for 20 years and was instrumental in their receiving some $2.7 billion in compensation from the government of Libya. He also served on the Board of the Cheney Cardiac Institute at George Washington Hospital in Washington DC, and as Chairman of the Head Injury Rehabilitation and Research Service in Rockville, Maryland.

From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Duggan served as a Board member and Chairman of the National Mediation Board (NMB), appointed by President Clinton and confirmed twice by the Senate. The NMB is an independent agency that performs a central role in facilitating harmonious labor-management relations within two of the nation's key transportation modes – the railroads and airlines. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Duggan was an attorney with the Washington law firm of Mullenholz, Brimsek and Belair. For ten years he represented the Association of American Railroads on Capitol Hill, and, from 1989-90, served on the Presidents Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. He has been Chairman of the Transportation Section of the Federal Bar Association and an officer of the Washington Foreign Law Society, as well as numerous Bar committees and law enforcement positions. He was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for twelve years, is a certified Police Firearms Instructor and active in the Fairfax Rod and Gun Club.

Mr. Duggan was a Presidential appointee at the Labor Department during the Ford and Reagan Administrations, serving as Assistant Secretary in the Reagan administration. He worked in the Senate on the Labor Committee and in the office of former Senator Charles Mathias (R-MD), and in the House for Rep. William Steiger (R-WI). He was also the Director of Operations of the Legal Services Program in the Office of Economic Opportunity, and Senior Legislative Manager of the US Department of the Treasury. After attending St. John's College and Law School in New York, Mr. Duggan received two graduate political science fellowships and a research grant from Harvard University.

John McDonald

In 2017, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and its Advisory Board established the Ambassador John W. McDonald Award to recognize outstanding service and leadership in peacebuilding. This Award is a lasting tribute Ambassador McDonald's profound legacy. Ambassador (ret.) John W. McDonald was a lawyer, diplomat, former international civil servant, development expert and peacebuilder, concerned about world social, economic and ethnic problems. He spent twenty years of his diplomatic career in Western Europe and the Middle East and worked for sixteen years on United Nations economic and social affairs. He served as chairman and co-founder (1992-2017) of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, in Washington D.C., which focuses on national and international ethnic conflicts, including the Millennium goals of clean drinking water and sanitation. He also was UNEP's North American Representative to the International Environmental Governance Advisory Group.

McDonald retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987, after a 40-year diplomatic career. In 1987-88, he became a professor of law at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He was a 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 February, 1992, he was named distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University's Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, in Fairfax, Virginia. Before his retirement from the State Department in 1987, McDonald joined in 1983 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. From 1978-83, he carried out a wide variety of assignments for the State Department in the area of multilateral diplomacy. He was president of the INTELSAT World Conference called to draft a treaty on privileges and immunities; leader of the U.S. Delegation to the UN World Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries, in Buenos Aires in 1978; secretary general of the 27th Colombo Plan Ministerial Meeting; head of the U.S. Delegation which negotiated a UN Treaty Against the Taking of Hostages; U.S. Coordinator for the UN Decade on Drinking Water and Sanitation; head of the U.S. Delegation to UNIDO III in New Delhi in 1980; chairman of the Federal Inter-Agency Committee for the UN's International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981; U.S. coordinator and head of the U.S. Delegation for the UN's World Assembly on Aging, in Vienna, in 1982. From 1974-78, he was deputy director general of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, a UN Agency, with responsibility for managing that agency's 3,200 person Secretariat, coming from 102 countries, with programs in 120 member nations, and an annual budget of $135 million.

From 1947-1974, Ambassador McDonald held various State Department assignments in Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Paris, Washington D.C., Ankara, Tehran, Karachi, and Cairo. Ambassador McDonald holds both a BA and a JD degree from the University of Illinois, and graduated from the National War College in 1967. He has written and co-edited ten books and numerous articles on negotiation and conflict resolution, and makes more than 100 speeches a year. He was appointed Ambassador twice by President Carter and twice by President Reagan to represent the United States at various UN World Conferences.

Lester Schoene, MS '92

Lester Schoene was a dedicated member of the S-CAR Advisory Board, with over ten years of service. In 2018, the S-CAR Advisory Board dedicated a bench to honor Lester's memory and his commitment to peacebuilding at our international retreat and research center, Point of View.

Lester Schoene was appointed the Reservist Ombuds for FEMA in February 2014. He joined FEMA in 2005 as one of the first DAE/Reservist ADR Advisors in the newly formed Alternative Dispute Resolution Cadre. He has been deployed to 15 Disasters in 6 Regions and to many special assignments for the ADR Cadre all totaling more than 900 days. In October 2011 he was appointed one of six full-time Deployable CORE ADR Advisors. Lester addressed with compassion, sensitivity, and creativity the concerns of scores of DAE’s, LEAP employees, and Reservists on behalf of the FEMA ADR Division as the Workforce Transformation has been implemented. He played an integral role in developing the Reservist Ombuds concept for the Agency. Lester came to FEMA with expertise in mediation, problem solving facilitation, conflict resolution training, and large and small organization management. Before joining FEMA, Lester had a private practice providing a range of conflict resolution services which included community, divorce, custody, commercial, and business cases. He also provided conflict resolution training for a variety of organizations including the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, and IBM. He is the author of Facing Racial and Cultural Conflict: Tools for Rebuilding Community, second edition 1994, with Marcelle E. DuPraw, for the Program for Community Problem Solving, Washington, D.C.

Before entering the field of conflict resolution, Lester spent 34 years in information systems development engineering and development and project management with Melpar, Inc. (now part of Raytheon, Inc.) and International Business Machines (IBM). Lester received his AB in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard and his MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. In the past he has served as a member and chairman of the Fairfax County Transportation Advisory Commission, board member and president of the Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Pine Ridge Civic Association, GMU Alumni Association, and Rotary Club of Annandale, VA.

James Scott, MPA '82

Jim Scott was a native Virginian, born in Galax and reared in Winchester. He received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in 1982, a M.P.A. from George Mason University. Elected to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to represent Providence District in 1971, Jim was reelected in 1975, '79, and '83. In 1986 he resigned from the Board to become Director of Community Affairs for the Fairfax Hospital System, later Inova Health System. In 1991, Jim was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 53rd District until his retirement in 2013. At various times he served on the Appropriations, Science & Technology, Corporations, Insurance and Banking, Priveleges and Elections, and Militia and Police Committees.

In 1991, Jim was named Fairfax County Citizen of the Year by the Federation of Citizens' Associations. In 1997 George Mason University awarded him the Wayne F. Anderson Award for Distinguished Public Service. In 2012 he was elected to the AHOME (Affordable Housing Opportunity Means Everyone) Hall of Fame. In 2014 Jim was recognized for his work in affordable housing by the Virginia Housing Coalition's Legislative Leadership Award. In addition to his service as a member of the Advisory Board of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Jim has served on the Board of Directors of AHOME, the Board of Fairfax Partnership for Youth, the Washington Area Housing Partnership, TYTRAN, Inc., and the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Jim passed away in April 2017, he is survived by his wife Nancy, a retired Fairfax County public school teacher, and two grown daughters.