Guyanese diplomat Dr Odeen Ishmael, who retired in June 2014, died on Saturday at the age of 71 in Florida, where he resided. His family confirmed that Dr Ishmael died at 15:00h at home.
Dr Ishmael, who was awarded the Cacique Crown of Honour (CCH) in 1997 for his outstanding work in diplomacy, served as Guyana’s ambassador to Kuwait, Venezuela and the United States. He was also the non-resident ambassador to Qatar.
Ishmael served seven years as Ambassador to Venezuela and was Guyana’s Ambassador to the US from 1993 to 2003. For several years, he also served as Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS), having attained the post of Chairman of the OAS Permanent Council from in 1994 and 2003.
He also wrote several journals and newspaper articles that have reached a wide audience including Guyana, the Caribbean, Latin America and North America. One of his many writings, “The Trail of Diplomacy” released in 1998 focused on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy. Some of his other works include The Democracy Perspective in the Americas, Problems of the Transition of Education in the Third World, Towards Education Reform in Guyana, Amerindian Legends of Guyana and The Magic Pot: Nansi Stories from the Caribbean.
He also edited the book, Cheddi Jagan: My Struggle for Guyana’s Freedom, and “has written the foreword to From Bondage to Deliverance: Indentured Labour in Mauritius and British Guiana, a book authored by the Indian historian, Dr Saroja Sundararajan, and published in New Delhi in 2006,” his webpage noted.
He also received the prestigious King Legacy Award for International Service from the International Committee to Commemorate the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr in January 2002. Significantly, the US Congress paid a special tribute to him by a joint resolution in October 2003 just before he completed his service in the United States.
Prior to an illustrious career in diplomacy, he was also a teacher. Dr Ishmael leaves to mourn his two children, Safraz Waseem Ishmael and Nadeeza Ishmael and his wife Evangeline Ishmael.