John B. Donovan is retired as a communications adviser to senior corporate executives, domestic and foreign, and the founder of a discussion forum for diplomats and business leaders in New York.
John will be speaking about his experiences a half-century ago pertaining to the Cold War — in Cuba, Vietnam, Berlin, and Washington. He is the son of the late New York lawyer James Donovan, whose story has just been dramatized by Steven Spielberg in the film “Bridge of Spies,” recently nominated for six Oscars. In the climax of the movie, James Donovan, played by Tom Hanks, negotiates the exchange of Soviet master spy Rudolph Abel for the American pilot at the center of what was called the U-2 affair. John himself was detained briefly in East Berlin the following year in an incident that also related to the KGB in a curious way.
Later that year his father negotiated with Fidel Castro for the release of the men captured at the Bay of Pigs, and John accompanied him on one of his negotiation trips as they traveled across Cuba with Fidel Castro – a situation that almost included a bizarre assassination attempt against Castro.
A resident of Norwalk, John is an alumnus of American University’s graduate program in world affairs from the standpoint of communication and is co-author with Pablo Perez-Cisneros of After the Bay of Pigs. He is a former vice chairman of the NY Metro Committee for UNICEF and the author of a book of Bible stories for children.