John was educated at Dartmouth College (BA) in the United States, and as a postgraduate at Oxford (PGCE) and Cambridge (MPhil, PhD).

After an academic career in international relations, he developed for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office a major programme of diplomatic training and parliamentary exchange for the twenty-seven new states and governments of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia emerging after 1989.

He founded the independent CPDS in 1993, and since then has designed and directed specialist courses for political leaders, government officials and civil society organisations from more than a hundred countries, and for a number of multilateral institutions and transnational corporations.

John has been particularly interested in helping people to prepare for leadership roles. With Jean Dunn and Penny Burtt (CEO of Asialink), he developed a programme of capacity-building for women leaders in Vanuatu. He has designed and led comprehensive programmes of assistance to ministers and officials in twelve EU Member States as they prepared for their Presidency of the Council of the European Union. And he has delivered workshops for the ambassadors and staff in New York of fifteen countries preparing for their membership and presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

John is a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. For twenty years 1999-2019, he was Rapporteur of the International Forum on Diplomatic Training. In 2009 he was made OBE by the British government, and in 2011 awarded the distinction Bene Merito by the Polish government, for his services to those countries.

In an earlier life, John was a professional ski instructor in Europe, and a commercial fisherman in Alaska. He is a keen sailor, and enjoys exploring the coastal waters on either side of the English Channel in his beloved Hallberg-Rassy.

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