Donald F. McHenry served as Ambassador and United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of the Cabinet of President Jimmy Carter from September 1979 to January 1981. At the time of his appointment, Ambassador McHenry was Ambassador and United States Deputy Representative to the United Nations Security Council, a position to which he was appointed in March 1977.
Ambassador McHenry was Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University from 1981 to 2014. Upon his retirement, the University established the Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development.
Ambassador McHenry has studied, taught and worked primarily in the fields of foreign policy and international law and organization. He joined the U.S. Department of State and served eight years in various positions. In 1966 he received the Department’s Superior Honor Award. In 1971, while on leave from the Department, he was Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution and an International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1973, after leaving the Department of State, he joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as a project director in Humanitarian Policy Studies. He served as a member of President Carter’s transition staff at the Department of State before joining the United States Mission to the United Nations.
During his career, Ambassador McHenry represented the United States in a number of international fora and was principal U.S. negotiator on independence for Namibia. While at Georgetown, he undertook a number of governmental assignments, including Special Envoy of President Clinton for Nigeria, member of a Congressional Task on the United Nations (2005), and member of the United Nations Panel of Eminent Persons on Algeria (1998). In addition, at the request of the President of Senegal, he chaired an international panel that reviewed the electoral code and processes of Senegal.
Ambassador McHenry has taught at Southern Illinois, Howard, American and Georgetown universities. He is the author of Micronesia: Trust Betrayed: (Carnegie Endowment, 1975) and articles published in professional journals and newspapers.
Ambassador McHenry holds a number of board and trustee positions in non-governmental organizations, including Chairman of the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Fund, and Director of the Institute for International Education, the American Ditchley Foundation, the American Assembly, and the Coca Cola Africa Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Association of Black American Ambassadors, and the Global Leadership Forum.
Ambassador McHenry is a former director of the Coca Cola Company, Fleet Boston Financial, AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, International Paper, Columbia Pictures, and the Council on Foreign Relations; and the boards of trustees of the Ford Foundation, the Brookings Institution, the Peterson Institute of International Economics, the Johnson Foundation, the National Institute of Dispute Resolution, Mount Holyoke College, UNA-USA, and the World Peace Foundation. He is Trustee Emeritus of Columbia University and the Mayo Foundation; and, is Chairman Emeritus of Africare. He was a founder and President of the IRC Group, an international consulting firm.
Ambassador McHenry was born in St. Louis, Missouri and grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. He holds degrees from Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University and also studied at Georgetown. He has been awarded honorary degrees from sixteen universities, including Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Illinois State, Princeton, and Southern Illinois.