Ambassador John W. McDonald
Ambassador John W. McDonald is a lawyer, diplomat, international civil servant, development expert and peacebuilder who is concerned about world social, economic, and ethnic problems. He had a 40-year career in the U.S. foreign service from 1947-1987 and is now an advisor to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He spent twenty years of his diplomatic career in Western Europe and the Middle East and worked for another 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 and helps the United Nations achieve its MDGs on clean drinking water and sanitation. He is UNEP’s North American Representative to the International Environmental Governance Advisory Group. He is most well-known for secretly, and on his own personal initiative, brokering a successful and sustainable peace agreement in Cyprus without approval or backing and before the Department of State even knew he was doing so.
Before his retirement from the Department of State, Ambassador McDonald was the Coordinator for Multilateral Affairs at the State Department Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs. In the late seventies he was the Deputy Director General of the International Labor Organization. He has a J.D. from the University of Illinois and has taught at prestigious universities across the country and world, most recently around the District of Columbia. Throughout the later 20th century Ambassador McDonald was the chief envoy in a huge number of U.S. and international delegations to the U.N. on subjects including culture, economic development, technology, social affairs, ethnic fighting, environmental affairs, and peace policy.
John brings with him a career of seven decades and work experience in 110 countries.
Dr. Virgil Hawkins
Dr. Virgil Hawkins studies and has spent his career working in the sectors of poverty alleviation, health improvement systems, and conflict response in Africa. In conflict, Virgil pays the most attention to what he calls “stealth conflicts”— conflicts that are marginalized and ignored by outside actors, including media agencies. His research looks at the ways in which actors respond (or fail to respond) to these and other conflicts.
Virgil teaches classes on conflict response, media, and poverty and health at the Osaka University School of International Public Policy. He spent six years living and working throughout sub-Saharan Africa and maintains important media contacts across the continent.
Dr. Hawkins is the author of Stealth Conflicts: How the World's Worst Violence is Ignored (Ashgate, 2008), a book that traces information flows from conflict zones to the end-reader and tries to understand why the world’s worst wars are often the least reported.
Dr. Steven Livingston
Dr. Steven Livingston is the Founding Director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics (IDDP) and lead Professor of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University. He also serves as a Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, a Professor of Media and Politics at Harvard University, and a visiting faculty member at various European universities.
Livingston’s principal research centers on digitally enabled collective action – or governance– in areas of limited statehood, places where the state is weak and ineffectual. He also continues to research questions relating to news coverage of political conflict. Lastly, he works in research and development in information communication technology.
His interests have led to extended stays in Northern Ireland, Russia, Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, and East and Central Africa. He went to Iraq twice in 2008 and once in 2009. At the invitation of the Canadian government and NATO, he was in Afghanistan in 2009 and again in 2010. He has advised a wide range of governments, the U.N. and NGOs on matters relating to governance, capacity building, media and media relations, technology, and public opinion dynamics.
Among other publications, Livingston has written Clarifying the CNN Effect (Harvard University Press, 1996), The Terrorism Spectacle (Westview Press, 1994), When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (W. Lance Bennett and Regina Lawrence, co-authors) (University of Chicago Press, 2007), and Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood (with Gregor Walter-Drop) (Oxford University Press, 2013). In 2011, he published Africa’s New Emerging InfoSystems: New Pathways to Security and Stability (NDU Press, 2011). A follow-up study, Africa’s Information Revolution: Implications for Crime, Policing, and Citizen Security was published in 2013.
Matthew R. Bishop
Matthew R. Bishop is the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of World Report News. Matt is an online media entrepreneur who also founded and directed the predecessor to World Report News from 2011 to 2016.
In addition to his work as a news entrepreneur, Matt has worked as the editor at various niche news magazines specializing in armed conflict prevention, emergency response, and disaster preparedness. He occassionally serves the United States as a federal disaster responder on an as-needed basis as crises arise.
Matt’s academic focus centers around the ways in which language, information, and communication result in or modify grand-scheme social and political movements, violent and nonviolent alike. His undergraduate thesis, A Comparative Analysis of the Radical Press in the American and French Revolutions, explored how radical writers used language either to deter or support violent pro-revolutionary mass actions. His graduate thesis, Iraqi Civilian Death in American Mass Media: The Causes and Consequences of Silence, introduced the theory of “passive dehumanization” to the field of media and conflict studies. His findings provided journalists, editors, and media executives with guidelines to use for publishing more proactive and conscious world news. Today, he continues to explore academic questions at the intersection of communications, politics, and morality.