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Odeen Ishmael

Odeen Ishmael (January 29, 1948 – January 5, 2019) was a veteran Guyanese diplomat. He retired from the diplomatic service in June 2014.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

He last served as Guyana's ambassador to Kuwait, having been appointed to that post in January 2011. In 2012, he was appointed as non-resident ambassador to Qatar. Previously, he also served as ambassador to Venezuela (November 2003-January 2011) and to the United States (June 1993–October 2003) and as Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) (June 1993–October 2003). At the OAS he served for two periods as Chairman of the Permanent Council. In 2009, he was elected to a one-year term as Chairman of the Latin American Council, the political governing body of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA), headquartered in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1997, Ishmael received the Cacique's Crown of Honour, Guyana's third highest national honor, for his outstanding work in diplomacy. Back in 1974, he was awarded the Gandhi Centenary Gold Medal for academic achievement at the University of Guyana. In January 2002, in Washington DC, he was honored in the United States of America with the Martin Luther King Legacy Award for International Service. The US Congress, in a joint resolution, also paid a special tribute to him in October 2003 just before he completed his service in the United States.

Ishmael's commentaries on international affairs, in particular his analyses of South American integration issues, have been published worldwide. As an author, he has published books dealing with Guyanese history, culture and education; and political developments in Latin America and the Caribbean.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Ishmael traces his ancestry back to what are now the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He has two children: Safraz, a Georgetown University law school alumnus and a Physics alumnus of the University of Maryland, and currently an attorney attached to a law firm in Boston; and Nadeeza (alumnus of the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University-(MS in Bio-Technology), who, up to 2008, worked at a genetics company in Maryland [2] , then as a research biologist at Concordia University in Montreal from 2008 to 2016, is currently attached (from 2017) to the Michener Institute in Toronto, Canada. His wife, Evangeline, who holds a BS in Communication Studies, worked as a teacher for many years. He also has eight brothers and three sisters, which makes him the uncle of many children.

BIOGRAPHY

  • Name in full: Mohammed Ali Odeen Ishmael
  • Date of Birth: 29 January 1948
  • Current position: Ambassador Emeritus (Retired).

Previous diplomatic positions:

  • Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Guyana to State of Kuwait from January 2011 to June 2014 and Non-resident Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Guyana to the State of Qatar from April 2013 to June 2014 .
  • June 1993 to October 2003: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America and concurrently Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
  • October 2003 to January 2011: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Guyana to Venezuela.

Employment history before diplomatic appointment:

  • 1964-1970 – Primary school teacher, Ministry of Education of Guyana
  • 1970-1971: Information officer, Ministry of External Affairs of Guyana
  • 1971-1985: Secondary school teacher, Ministry of Education of Guyana
  • 1986-1993: Secondary school teacher and adult-education supervisor, Ministry of Education of The Bahamas.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography, Post-graduate Diploma in Education, PhD in Education.

Diplomatic representation:

  • November 1992 – Represented Guyana at the meeting of Information Ministers of the Caribbean Community in Kingston, Jamaica

OAS and UN

  • 1993-2003 – Represented Guyana at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, USA – Served as Chairman of the OAS Permanent Council in October-December 1994 and April-June 2003. Participated in all the OAS General Assemblies from 1994 to 2003 other specialized meetings of the OAS in various countries of the Americas.
  • July to September 1993 – Served as Vice-Chairman of the Permanent Council of the OAS
  • 1994 - Elected Chairman of the General Committee to prepare the OAS draft convention on the situation of persons with disabilities.
  • September 1994-December 1994 – Served as Chairman of the Permanent Council of the OAS.
  • 1996 - Elected Vice-Chairman of the OAS Working Group on Sustainable Development.
  • 1997 to 2001 – Head of Guyana's delegation to meetings of the Regional Negotiating Machinery of Caricom. Also as an OAS-trained trade negotiator, participated in the negotiations of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
  • 1999 - Member of Guyana's delegation to the summit of the World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999.
  • 1993-2003: Member of Guyana’s delegation to the UN General Assembly.
  • 2011-2013: Represented Guyana at meetings of the Alliance of Civilizations (organized by the UN and the OIC)

OIC:

  • 1997 – 2003: Head of Guyana's delegation to meetings of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
  • Member of Guyana’s delegation to the Summits of Heads of States of the OIC in Tehran (1997) and Qatar (2000).
  • 2012: Head of Guyana’s delegation to the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Djibouti.

Summit of the Americas:

  • Chief negotiator of Guyana at the Summits of the Americas in 1994 (Miami), 1998 (Santiago de Chile) and 2001 (Quebec City), and at the Summit of Sustainable Development in Bolivia (1996).
  • From 2001 to 2003: Served as Caricom’s representative on the executive committee of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) of the Summit of the Americas. He was also a leading negotiator in the process that led to the establishment of the Inter-American Democratic Charter in 2001.
  • Represented Guyana at various meetings of the Summit of Americas process in various countries of Latin America and the Caribbean from 1995 to 2003.

Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA)

  • 2003-January 2011: Head of Guyana’s delegation to SELA
  • 2004-2006: Elected vice chairman of SELA’s governing body, the Latin American Council.
  • 2009 – 2010: Elected as Chairman of SELA’s Latin American Council

UNASUR

  • 2003-2012: Participated in numerous high-level meetings of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Petro-Caribe.

Non-Aligned Movement

  • 2012: Head of Guyana’s delegation at the meeting held in Egypt of Foreign Ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Awards:

  • 1974: Gandhi Centenary Gold Medal for academic achievement at the University of Guyana
  • 1997 – The Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH), one of Guyana’s highest national awards, for work in diplomacy.
  • January 2002: Awarded, in the USA, the King Legacy Award for International Service from the International Committee to Commemorate the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • October 2003: Joint resolution of the US Congress paying tribute to his diplomatic work in the United States.

Political career:

  • 1972-1982: Served in the Central Committee and the leadership of the Progressive Youth Organization of Guyana.
  • 1980 to 1988: Member of the Central Committee of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of Guyana.
  • 1976-1992: Represented the PPP at numerous international conferences in South America, the Caribbean and Europe.

Publications:

Books

  • 1. Problems of the Transition of Education in the Third World (Published 1989)
  • 2. Towards Education Reform in Guyana (Published 1994)
  • 3. Amerindian Legends of Guyana (Published 1995)
  • 4. The Democracy Perspective in the Americas(Published 2009)
  • 5. The Magic Pot - Nansi Stories From The Caribbean (Published 2010)
  • 6. Guyana Legends – Folktales of the Indigenous Amerindians (Published 2011)
  • 7. The Guyana Story – From Earliest Times to Independence (Published 2013)
  • 8. The Trail of Diplomacy – A Documentary History of the Guyana-Venezuela Border Issue (Volume One)(Published 2014)
  • 9. The Trail of Diplomacy – A Documentary History of the Guyana-Venezuela Border Issue (Internet edition)
  • 10. The Campaign for Socialism and Democracy in Guyana (1965-1992) (Internet edition)
  • 11. From Autocracy to Democracy in Guyana (Internet edition)

Blog

Notes on diplomatic practice, compiled by Odeen Ishmael [1]

Commentaries and articles:

Numerous commentaries on Guyanese history, South American integration and Latin American and Caribbean issues, published widely in regional journals and newspapers.

Family:

  • Wife – Evangeline Ishmael
  • Son – Safraz Waseem Ishmael (Lawyer, residing in Boston, USA)
  • Daughter – Nadeeza Ishmael (Research Biologist, residing in Toronto, Canada)

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit