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Don McKinnon to launch Commonwealth memoir in London

Don McKinnon to launch Commonwealth memoir in London

Book presents his candid view of Commonwealth leaders and issues behind events

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Sir Don McKinnon, former Commonwealth Secretary-General, will launch his memoirs detailing his eight years at the helm of the intergovernmental organisation in London, UK, on 26 February 2013.

The event will be held at Marlborough House, headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Sir Don who served as Commonwealth Secretary-General from 2000-2008, presents a candid view of the events behind the scenes of some turbulent times in the history of the modern Commonwealth, which groups 54 countries from across the globe.

He shares his insights on players in the political ring within the Commonwealth, with the posturing, the plotting and the sparring for power and influence nationally and internationally. Sir Don unveils the political intrigues which have put the Commonwealth in the news.
He examines the descent of Zimbabwe into chaos through poor governance and disregard for the law, and the country's spiral into violence, deepening ethnic distrust and polarisation. He speaks with regret about the great hope of Zimbabwe for a future of promise to have taken a turn into hopelessness and despair among its people.

In the book, Sir Don also shares his thoughts about the situation in Fiji that has been plagued by coups and the impact these have been on socio-political and economic progress in the country and the region. The former New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also talks about his interactions with Pacific leaders, including the leaders of Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

The research and writing of the memoirs took five years since Sir Don left office as Commonwealth Secretary-General in March 2008.

"I spent a lot of time going through my notes, both personal notes and official briefs. And I thought long and hard about what to say and not to say in my book. At times, I thought it necessary to be diplomatically reticent on some comments as I felt it would be prudent not to put emphasis on certain issues at this stage," said Sir Don.

Is he keeping some details for a second book?

Sir Don said he's pleased with his labour of love and has no immediate plans for a sequel to his memoirs as he is busy with other projects.

Sir Don is Chairperson of Regional Facilities Auckland and Chair of the New Zealand-China Council to promote bilateral trade and investment. He also serves as the Commonwealth Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Maldives, handling peacebuilding efforts between the government and the opposition.

The global statesman has his diary filled with attendances at international conferences on peace and security, as well as audiences with political leaders past and present to help promote peace for development.

"If I can use my experience and knowledge to help make a difference, I can find time for that even if it means having to traverse the globe to start the dialogue for peace. It is a process that requires a lot of patience and determination. It is a journey with many junctions that lead you somewhere from the place you had started off from. The challenge is to steer the course to a favourable situation that will bring positive results for the greater good by building confidence and consensus along the way that involves all concerned parties," said Sir Don.


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