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Donald C. Johnson ‘70, JD ‘74

February 01, 2001

Don Johnson majored in political science and Spanish while at Lewis & Clark. Originally, he intended to pursue a legal career but became intrigued by international affairs while studying international law and foreign policy with Professor Carlin Capper-Johnson. On a whim, he took the Foreign Service Exam—and passed. Initially, he thought he would serve just a few years before pursuing his interest in law. But now, 26 years later, he is still dedicated to foreign affairs and the work of the U.S. Foreign Service.

Don has served in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. He has also worked on the National Security Council staff at the White House. While in Honduras, he received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for helping defend the U.S. embassy against mob attack. From 1993 to 1996, he served as U.S. ambassador to Mongolia, a country undergoing profound political and economic change. After serving in Mongolia, he headed an international mission in Moldova.

In 1997, Don accepted an urgent assignment to become the U.S. representative on a three-member international commission that was charged with creating plans and procedures for the voluntary “decommissioning” of weapons held by Ireland’s paramilitary groups. Don was team leader for the very first voluntary decommissioning of weapons in Northern Ireland in December 1998.