Dr Odeen Ishmael Dies at 71


Retired Guyanese Diplomat Dr Odeen Ishmael, CCH, has died.

The Guyana Chronicle reported that relatives confirmed that Ishmael passed away on Saturday afternoon at his home in Florida. He would have celebrated his 71st birthday on January 29.

Dr Ishmael, a recipient of the Cacique Crown of Honour, retired from the diplomatic service in June 2014 having served as Guyana’s ambassador to Kuwait, a post which he was appointed to in January 2011. In 2012, he was appointed non-resident ambassador to Qatar.

Prior to this, Dr Ishmael served as Guyana’s ambassador to the United States of America (1993-2003), and later , he served as ambassador to Venezuela (2003-2011).

During his assignment in the US, Dr Ishmael was serving concurrently as Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS).

According to the Chronicle, the outstanding son of Guyana came from humble beginnings. According to his biography on his website, he worked as a teacher in his youthful days here in Guyana and in the Bahamas. In the 1980s , he was appointed a headmaster in the school system.

Later, as a member of the Ministry of Education’s Social Studies Curriculum Committee, along with a team, the group drafted and tested the Social Studies syllabus for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) in the mid-1970s.

His stint in the foreign service began when he worked as an information officer in the then Ministry of External Affairs of Guyana.

Dr Ishmael also authored several books and notable articles including some on education, Guyanese history and international political issues which have been published in newspapers and journals in Guyana, the Caribbean, North America and Latin America.

His published books include Problems of the Transition of Education in the Third World, Towards Education Reform in Guyana, Amerindian Legends of Guyana, The Democracy Perspective in the Americas, The Magic Pot – Nansi stories from The Caribbean, The Guyana story- from earliest times to Independence,The Trail of Diplomacy – the Guyana-Venezuela Border Issue – Volume One to Volume Three.

Dr Ishmael leaves to mourn his wife and two children, according to the Chronicle report.